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Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 2


Capacitor-less DRAM At the recent 2020 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Imec presented a paper on a novel capacitor-less DRAM cell architecture. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. DRAM itself is based on a one-transistor, one-capacito... » read more

More Data, More Memory-Scaling Problems


Memories of all types are facing pressures as demands grow for greater capacity, lower cost, faster speeds, and lower power to handle the onslaught of new data being generated daily. Whether it's well-established memory types or novel approaches, continued work is required to keep scaling moving forward as our need for memory grows at an accelerating pace. “Data is the new economy of this ... » read more

Dealing With Sub-Threshold Variation


Chipmakers are pushing into sub-threshold operation in an effort to prolong battery life and reduce energy costs, adding a whole new set of challenges for design teams. While process and environmental variation long have been concerns for advanced silicon process nodes, most designs operate in the standard “super-threshold” regime. Sub-threshold designs, in contrast, have unique variatio... » read more

DRAM, 3D NAND Face New Challenges


It’s been a topsy-turvy period for the memory market, and it's not over. So far in 2020, demand has been slightly better than expected for the two main memory types — 3D NAND and DRAM. But now there is some uncertainty in the market amid a slowdown, inventory issues and an ongoing trade war. In addition, the 3D NAND market is moving toward a new technology generation, but some are enc... » read more

What Happened To Execute-in-Place?


Executing code directly from non-volatile memory, where it is stored, greatly simplifies compute architectures — especially for simple embedded devices like microcontrollers (MCUs). However, the divergence of memory and logic processes has made that nearly impossible today. The term “execute-in-place,” or ”XIP,” originated with the embedded NOR memory in MCUs that made XIP viable. ... » read more

Design And Measurement Requirements For Short Flow Test Arrays To Characterize Emerging Memories


Emerging non-volatile memories are becoming increasingly attractive for embedded and storage-class applications. Among the development challenges of Back-End integrated memory cells are long learning cycle and high wafer cost. We propose a short-flow based characterization of Memory Arrays using a Cross Point Array approach. A detail analysis of design requirements and testability confirms feas... » read more

Challenges In Stacking, Shrinking And Inspecting Next-Gen Chips


Rick Gottscho, CTO of Lam Research, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss memory and equipment scaling, new market demands, and changes in manufacturing being driven by cost, new technologies, and the application of machine learning. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: We have a lot of different memory technologies coming to market. What's the impact of that? ... » read more

NVM Reliability Challenges And Tradeoffs


This second of two parts looks at different memories and possible solutions. Part one can be found here. While various NVM technologies, such as PCRAM, MRAM, ReRAM and NRAM share similar high-level traits, their physical renderings are quite different. That provides each with its own set of challenges and solutions. PCRAM has had a fraught history. Initially released by Samsung, Micron, a... » read more

Inside The New Non-Volatile Memories


The search continues for new non-volatile memories (NVMs) to challenge the existing incumbents, but before any technology can be accepted, it must be proven reliable. “Everyone is searching for a universal memory,” says TongSwan Pang, Fujitsu senior marketing manager. "Different technologies have different reliability challenges, and not all of them may be able to operate in automotive g... » read more

Memory Issues For AI Edge Chips


Several companies are developing or ramping up AI chips for systems on the network edge, but vendors face a variety of challenges around process nodes and memory choices that can vary greatly from one application to the next. The network edge involves a class of products ranging from cars and drones to security cameras, smart speakers and even enterprise servers. All of these applications in... » read more

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