Four Foundries Back MRAM


Four major foundries plan to offer MRAM as an embedded memory solution by this year or next, setting the stage for what finally could prove to be a game-changer for this next-generation memory technology. GlobalFoundries, Samsung, TSMC and UMC plan to start offering spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (ST-MRAM or STT-MRAM) as an alternative or a replacement to NOR flash, possibly start... » read more

Why Fabs Worry About Tool Parts


Achieving high yields with acceptable costs is becoming much more difficult as chipmakers migrate to next-generation 3D NAND and finFET devices—but not just because of rising complexity or lithography issues. To fabricate an advanced logic chip, for example, a wafer moves from one piece of equipment to another in what amounts to 1,000 process steps or more in a fab. Any glitch with the equ... » read more

Silicon Photonics: Solving Process Variation And Manufacturing Challenges


As silicon photonics manufacturing gains momentum with additional foundry and 300mm offerings, process variation issues are coming to light. Variability in silicon processing affects the waveguide shape and can result in deviation in effective indices, propagation loss, and coupling efficiency from the intended design. In this article, we will highlight process variation issues that can occur i... » read more

Blog Review: Aug. 16


Cadence's Paul McLellan checks out how Imec sees the future of transistors and the challenges of 3D logic. Synopsys' Robert Vamosi gets a lesson on the electronic systems powering modern cars, and considers when it's ethical to hack one. Mentor's Colin Walls takes a look at how to pass data between RTOS tasks. Rambus' Aharon Etengoff looks at recent semi market predictions, from expand... » read more

What’s After FinFETs?


Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it's still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next. The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process ... » read more

Is 7nm The Last Major Node?


A growing number of design and manufacturing issues are prompting questions about what scaling will really look like beyond 10/7nm, how many companies will be involved, and which markets they will address. At the very least, node migrations will go horizontally before proceeding numerically. There are expected to be more significant improvements at 7nm than at any previous node, so rather th... » read more

The Future Of MEMS Design: Making MEMS Design More Like CMOS Design


MEMS-based component suppliers want to rapidly ramp their designs into high-volume production. This demand is driving MEMS suppliers to focus on ways to more efficiently re-use established process steps, stacks or technology platforms. To meet this need, we see the emergence of standard MEMS technology and design platforms similar to those used in CMOS design. The semiconductor industry and ... » read more

Tech Talk: 7nm Litho


David Fried, chief technology officer at Coventor, digs into future scaling issues involving multi-patterning and new transistor types. https://youtu.be/FBnYRAL1xKY Related Stories Inside Next-Gen Transistors Coventor’s CTO looks at new types of transistors, the expanding number of challenges at future process nodes & the state of semiconductor development in China. Faster Time To ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The NAND market is in flux. Not long ago, troubled Toshiba put its memory unit on the block. Finally, the company has selected a group to buy its memory business. The consortium includes the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, the Development Bank of Japan and Bain Capital. Rival SK Hynix is also part of the group. Others attempted to bid on the business, including Western Digita... » read more

CMOS Image Sensors (CIS): Past, Present & Future


Over the last decade, CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) technology has made impressive progress. Image sensor performance has dramatically improved over the years, and CIS technology has enjoyed great commercial success since the introduction of mobile phones using onboard cameras. Many people, including scientists and marketing specialists, predicted 15 years earlier that CMOS image sensors were going t... » read more

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