Power Amp Wars Begin For 5G


Demand is increasing for power amplifier chips and other RF devices for 5G base stations, setting the stage for a showdown among different companies and technologies. The power amplifier device is a key component that boosts the RF power signals in base stations. It's based on two competitive technologies, silicon-based LDMOS or RF gallium nitride (GaN). GaN, a III-V technology, outperforms ... » read more

The Ins And Outs Of Silicon Carbide


John Palmour, CTO at Cree, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about silicon carbide, how it compares to silicon, what's different from a design and packaging standpoint, and where it's being used. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: SiC is well-understood in power electronics and RF, but is the main advantage the ability to run devices hotter than silicon, or is ... » read more

The Good And Bad Of 2D Materials


Despite years of warnings about reaching the limits of silicon, particularly at leading-edge process nodes where electron mobility is limited, there still is no obvious replacement. Silicon’s decades-long dominance of the integrated circuit industry is only partly due to the material’s electronic properties. Germanium, gallium arsenide, and many other semiconductors offer superior mobili... » read more

Can Graphene Be Mass Manufactured?


Since the isolation of graphene in 2004, the high mobility and unique transport properties of 2-dimensional semiconductors have tantalized physicists and materials scientists. Their in-plane carrier transport and lack of dangling bonds potentially can minimize line/edge scattering and other effects of extreme scaling. While 2-D materials cannot compete with silicon at current device dime... » read more

Uncertainty Grows For 5nm, 3nm


As several chipmakers ramp up their 10nm finFET processes, with 7nm just around the corner, R&D has begun for 5nm and beyond. In fact, some are already moving full speed ahead in the arena. [getentity id="22586" comment="TSMC"] recently announced plans to build a new fab in Taiwan at a cost of $15.7 billion. The proposed fab is targeted to manufacture TSMC’s 5nm and 3nm processes, whic... » read more

What Transistors Will Look Like At 5nm


Chipmakers are currently ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm just around the corner. The industry also is working on 5nm. TSMC hopes to deliver a 5nm process by 2020. GlobalFoundries, Intel and Samsung are doing R&D for that node. But 5nm technology presents a multitude of unknowns and challenges. For one thing, the exact timing and specs of 5nm remain cloudy. The... » read more

One-On-One: Aaron Thean


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss process technology, transistor trends and other topics with Aaron Thean, vice president of process technologies and director of the logic devices R&D program at Imec. SE: Chipmakers are ramping up the 16nm/14nm logic node, with 10nm and 7nm in R&D. What’s the current timeline for 10nm and 7nm? Thean: 10nm is on its way. We will see r... » read more

More Problems Ahead


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss future scaling problems with Lars Liebmann, a fellow at IBM; Adam Brand, managing director of transistor technology at Applied Materials; Karim Arabi, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm; and Srinivas Banna, a fellow for advanced technology architecture at GlobalFoundries. SE: Where are the most severe issues these days? Is it on the design... » read more