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

Big Trouble At 3nm


As chipmakers begin to ramp up 10nm/7nm technologies in the market, vendors are also gearing up for the development of a next-generation transistor type at 3nm. Some have announced specific plans at 3nm, but the transition to this node is expected to be a long and bumpy one, filled with a slew of technical and cost challenges. For example, the design cost for a 3nm chip could exceed an eye-p... » read more

Delivering On The Promise Of Self-Driving Cars


Self-driving cars have been all the rage in both the trade and popular press in recent years. I prefer the term “autonomous vehicles,” which more broadly captures the possibilities, encompassing not only small passenger vehicles but mass transit and industrial vehicles as well. Depending on who’s talking, we will all be riding in fully autonomous vehicles in five to 25 years. The five-... » read more

Transistor-Level Performance Evaluation Based On Wafer-Level Process Modeling


Three years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Linking Virtual Wafer Fabrication Modeling with Device-level TCAD Simulation,” in which I described the seamless connection between the SEMulator3D virtual wafer fabrication software platform and external third-party TCAD software. I’m now happy to report that device-level I-V performance analysis is now a built-in module within the SEMulator3D so... » read more

Understanding The Effect Of Variability In Bulk FinFET Device Performance


2-D MOSFETs have proven difficult to scale down to 20nm and beyond. In their place, 3D FinFET transistors have emerged as novel devices that can scale down to lower node sizes. 10nm process finFETs are for SoC product mass production, and research is progressing towards a 7nm process finFET. FinFET transistors provide lower dynamic power consumption (due to flatter I-V curves), improved control... » read more

Quantum Effects At 7/5nm And Beyond


Quantum effects are becoming more pronounced at the most advanced nodes, causing unusual and sometimes unexpected changes in how electronic devices and signals behave. Quantum effects typically occur well behind the curtain for most of the chip industry, baked into a set of design rules developed from foundry data that most companies never see. This explains why foundries and manufacturing e... » read more

FinFET Metrology Challenges Grow


Chipmakers face a multitude of challenges in the fab at 10nm/7nm and beyond, but one technology that is typically under the radar is becoming especially difficult—metrology. Metrology, the art of measuring and characterizing structures, is used to pinpoint problems in devices and processes. It helps to ensure yields in both the lab and fab. At 28nm and above, metrology is a straightforward... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Test and packaging In a major surprise, Cohu has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Xcerra for approximately $796 million. With the deal, Cohu will enter the ATE market. Last year, a group from China entered into a definitive agreement under which it would acquire Xcerra. But the U.S. blocked Xcerra’s sale to the Chinese group. Ironically, at one time, Cohu was reportedly lobbyin... » read more

Advanced 3D Design Technology Co-Optimization For Manufacturability


By Yu De Chen, Jacky Huang, Dalong Zhao, Jiangjiang (Jimmy) Gu, and Joseph Ervin Yield and cost have always been critical factors for both manufacturers and designers of semiconductor products. It is a continuous challenge to meet targets of both yield and cost, due to new device structures and the increasing complexity of process innovations introduced to achieve improved product performanc... » read more

Blog Review: Apr. 25


Mentor's Cristian Filip digs into SerDes design with a focus on the adoption and evolution of Channel Operating Margin (COM) as a tool for ensuring compliance of high-speed designs and why it's useful even if its mathematical procedure might be intimidating at the beginning. Cadence's Paul McLellan explains the importance of IBIS and AMI standards for SerDes design and why the upcoming DDR5 ... » read more

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