Ruthenium Liners Give Way To Ruthenium Lines


For several years now, integrated circuit manufacturers have been investigating alternative barrier layer materials for copper interconnects. As interconnect dimensions shrink, the barrier accounts for an increasing fraction of the total line volume. As previously reported, both cobalt and ruthenium have drawn substantial interest because they can serve as both barrier and seed layers, minimizi... » read more

How Reliable Are FinFETs?


Stringent safety requirements in the automotive and industrial sectors are forcing chipmakers to re-examine a number of factors that can impact reliability over the lifespan of a device. Many of these concerns are not new. Electrical overstress (EOS), electrostatic discharge (ESD) and [getkc id="160" kc_name="electromigration"] (EM) are well understood, and have been addressed by EDA tools f... » read more

Advanced Packaging Picks Up Steam


The semiconductor industry’s push toward continued miniaturization and increasing complexity is driving wider adoption of system-in-package (SiP) technology. One of the big benefits of [getkc id="199" kc_name="SiP"] is that it allows more features to be squeezed into ever-smaller form factors, such as wearable gadgets and medical implants. So while the individual chips in this package may ... » read more

Tech Talk: 7nm Power


Annapoorna Krishnaswamy, lead applications engineer at ANSYS, talks with Semiconductor Engineering about power-related changes at 7nm and what engineering teams need to watch out for as they move down to the latest process technology. https://youtu.be/Ym46ssJPeHM » read more

New BEOL/MOL Breakthroughs?


Chipmakers are moving ahead with transistor scaling at advanced nodes, but it's becoming more difficult. The industry is struggling to maintain the same timeline for contacts and interconnects, which represent a larger portion of the cost and unwanted resistance in chips at the most advanced nodes. A leading-edge chip consists of three parts—the transistor, contacts and interconnects. The ... » read more

Safety Plus Security: A New Challenge


Nobody has ever integrated safety or security features into their design just because they felt like it. Usually, successive high-profile attacks are needed to even get an industry's attention. And after that, it's not always clear how to best implement solutions or what the tradeoffs are between cost, performance, and risk versus benefit. Putting safety and security in the same basket is a ... » read more

Will Self-Heating Stop FinFETs


New transistor designs and new materials don’t appear out of thin air. Their adoption always is driven by the limitations of the incumbent technology. Silicon germanium and other compound semiconductors are interesting because they promise superior carrier mobility relative to silicon. [getkc id="185" kc_name="FinFET"] transistor designs help minimize short channel effects, a critical limi... » read more

Power Impacting Cost Of Chips


The increase in complexity of the power delivery network (PDN) is starting to outpace increases in functional complexity, adding to the already escalating costs of modern chips. With no signs of slowdown, designers have to ensure that overdesign and margining do not eat up all of the profit margin. The semiconductor industry is used to problems becoming harder at smaller geometries, but unti... » read more

Why Auto Designs Take So Long


Designing chips for the automotive market is adding significant overhead, particularly for chips with stringent safety requirements. On the verification side it could result in an additional 6 to 12 months of work. On the design side, developing the same processor in the mobile market would take 6 fewer man months. And when it comes to complex electronic control units (ECUs) or [getkc id="81... » read more

What Can Be Cut From A Design?


A long-standing approach of throwing everything into a chip increasingly is being replaced by a focus on what can be left out it. This shift is happening at every level, from the initial design to implementation. After years of trying to fill every square nanometer of real estate on a piece of silicon with memory and logic, doubling the number of [getkc id="26" kc_name="transistors"] from on... » read more

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