Slower Metal Bogs Down SoC Performance


Metal interconnect delays are rising, offsetting some of the gains from faster transistors at each successive process node. Older architectures were born in a time when compute time was the limiter. But with interconnects increasingly viewed as the limiter on advanced nodes, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we build systems-on-chips (SoCs). ”Interconnect delay is a fundamental tr... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 9


Smaller, cheaper integrated photonics Researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) developed a way to integrate an optical frequency comb on a silicon photonic chip. Optical frequency combs are collections of equally spaced frequencies of laser light (so called because when pl... » read more

Big Changes In Tiny Interconnects


One of the fundamental components of a semiconductor, the interconnect, is undergoing radical changes as chips scale below 7nm. Some of the most pronounced shifts are occurring at the lowest metal layers. As more and smaller transistors are packed onto a die, and as more data is processed and moved both on and off a chip or across a package, the materials used to make those interconnects, th... » read more

Unsticking Moore’s Law


Sanjay Natarajan, corporate vice president at Applied Materials with responsibility for transistor, interconnect and memory solutions, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about variation, Moore's Law, the impact of new materials such as cobalt, and different memory architectures and approaches. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Reliability is becoming more of an... » read more

Keeping Up Power And Performance With Cobalt


Chip designers require simultaneous improvements in “PPAC”: power, performance and area/cost (Fig. 1). Achieving these improvements is becoming increasingly difficult as classic Moore's Law scaling slows. What's needed is a new playbook for the industry consisting of new materials, new architectures, new 3D structures within the chip, new methods to shrink feature geometries, and advanced p... » read more

5 Observations From Intel’s Event


Not long ago, Intel hosted its “Architecture Day,” where top executives from the chip giant revealed the company’s latest products and next-generation technologies. The company also discussed its strategy. To be sure, it’s a critical time for Intel. In June, Brian Krzanich was forced out as chief executive and the company is still looking for a permanent CEO. Plus, Intel has delayed it... » read more

Cobalt Shortages Ahead


Rapid growth of electric vehicles is creating an enormous demand for cobalt, causing tight supply, high prices and supply chain issues for this critical material. Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal and one of the key materials used in lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, notebook PCs, battery-electric cars and hybrids. It also is used in alloys and semiconductors. And while the IC industry co... » read more

The Materials Side Of AI


As we enter the foundry 7nm and below technology nodes, tungsten fill for contacts has reached the physical limits of scaling and copper used in the lowest level interconnects is facing challenges on multiple fronts. Solving these issues will require a new conducting material, namely cobalt. This transition can enable continued device scaling and less power consumption per computation. Follo... » read more

The Role Of Cobalt In Enabling AI


We are on the cusp of the biggest computing wave yet — the AI era driven by Big Data. Enabling this era will require significant enhancements in processor performance and in the capacity and latency of memory. These requirements are coming at a time when the industry is being increasingly challenged by a slowdown in classic Moore’s Law scaling. What’s needed to continue driving the indust... » read more

Dealing With Resistance In Chips


Chipmakers continue to scale the transistor at advanced nodes, but they are struggling to maintain the same pace with the other two critical parts of the device—the contacts and interconnects. That’s beginning to change, however. In fact, at 10nm/7nm, chipmakers are introducing new topologies and materials such as cobalt, which promises to boost the performance and reduce unwanted resist... » read more

← Older posts