Some Chipmakers Sidestep Scaling, Others Hedge


The rising cost of developing chips at 7nm coupled with the reduced benefits of scaling have pried open the floodgates for a variety of options involving new materials, architectures and packaging that either were ignored or not fully developed in the past. Some of these approaches are closely tied to new markets, such as assisted and autonomous vehicles, robotics and 5G. Others involve new ... » read more

Finding New Dimensions Of Innovation


Whenever a company announces a major strategy shift and restructuring, such as pivoting away from 7nm FinFET technology development, it’s understandable that confusion, uncertainty and misunderstandings may arise. The best way to allay these concerns is to take an objective look at the situation: Demand for chips for the automotive, IoT, mobility and data center/wireless infrastructure mar... » read more

How To Improve Analog Design Reuse


Digital circuit design is largely automated today, but most analog components still are designed manually. This may change soon. As analog design grows increasingly complex and error-prone, design teams and tool vendors are focusing on how to automate as much of the design of analog circuits as possible. Analog design is notoriously difficult and varied. It can include anything from power ma... » read more

The Next Materials Race


Trade wars are costly on many fronts, and a trade war between the United States and China is bound to cause a variety of problems that no one anticipated. But in some areas, there may be a silver lining. And where there is no silver lining available, other materials may suffice. For decades, big chipmakers have been squeezing the entire semiconductor supply chain in a race to double the num... » read more

Carmakers To Chipmakers: Where’s The Data?


The integration of electronics into increasingly autonomous vehicles isn't going nearly as smoothly as the marketing literature suggests. In fact, it could take years before some of these discrepancies are resolved. The push toward full autonomy certainly hasn't slowed down, but carmakers and the electronics industry are approaching that goal from very different vantage points. Carmakers and... » read more

Collaboration And Advanced Substrates


Discussions of semiconductor manufacturing tend to focus on CMOS logic and memory devices, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. Discussions of silicon-on-insulator wafer markets focus on the needs of high performance logic. Lithography analysts emphasize high density memories. It’s easy to forget that real systems contain other devices, too. A modern smartphone probably supports ... » read more

The Security Penalty


It's not clear if Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow caused actual security breaches, but they did prompt big processor vendors like Intel, Arm, AMD and IBM to fix these vulnerabilities before they were made public by Google's Project Zero. While all of this may make data center managers and consumers feel better in one respect, it has created a level of panic of a different sort. For decades,... » read more

GF Puts 7nm On Hold


GlobalFoundries is putting its 7nm finFET program on hold indefinitely and has dropped plans to pursue technology nodes beyond 7nm. The moves, which mark a major shift in direction for the foundry, involve a headcount reduction of about 5% of its worldwide workforce. At the same time, the company is also moving its ASIC business into a new subsidiary. As a result of GlobalFoundries’ ann... » read more

Memory Startups To Watch


The next-generation memories are finally ramping up after years’ of delays and promises. Intel, for one, is shipping 3D XPoint, a next-generation technology based on phase-change memory. In addition, the big foundries are readying embedded MRAM. And, of course, there are a number of other players in the next-generation memory arena. There are also a number of startups that are flying un... » read more

Where FD-SOI Works Best (Part 2)


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss changes in the FD-SOI world and what's behind them, with James Lamb, deputy CTO for advanced semiconductor manufacturing and corporate technical fellow at Brewer Science; Giorgio Cesana, director of technical marketing at STMicroelectronics; Olivier Vatel, senior vice president and CTO at Screen Semiconductor Solutions; and Carlos Mazure, CTO at Soi... » read more

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