China Speeds Up Advanced Chip Development


China is accelerating its efforts to advance its domestic semiconductor industry, amid ongoing trade tensions with the West, in hopes of becoming more self-sufficient. The country is still behind in IC technology and is nowhere close to being self-reliant, but it is making noticeable progress. Until recently, China’s domestic chipmakers were stuck with mature foundry processes with no pres... » read more

Spreading Out The Cost At 3nm


The current model for semiconductor scaling doesn't add up. While it's possible that markets will consolidate around a few basic designs, the likelihood is that no single SoC will sell in enough volume to compensate for the increased cost of design, equipment, mask sets and significantly more testing and inspection. In fact, even with slew of derivative chips, it may not be enough to tip the ec... » read more

ESD Requirements Are Changing


Standards for specifying a chip’s ability to withstand electrostatic discharge (ESD) are changing – in some cases, getting tougher, and in others, easing up. ESD protection has been on a path from a one-size-fits-all approach to one where a signal’s usage helps to determine what kind of protection it should get. Protecting chips from ESD damage has been a longstanding part of IC design... » read more

High-Speed SerDes At 7/5nm


Manmeet Walia, senior product marketing manager at Synopsys, talks with Semiconductor Engineering about how to optimize PHYs for integration on all four corners of an SoC, as well as the PPA implications of moving large amounts of data across and around a chip. » read more

‘More Than Moore’ Reality Check


The semiconductor industry is embracing multi-die packages as feature scaling hits the limits of physics, but how to get there with the least amount of pain and at the lowest cost is a work in progress. Gaps remain in tooling and methodologies, interconnect standards are still being developed, and there are so many implementations of packaging that the number of choices is often overwhelming. ... » read more

An Inside Look At Testing’s Leading Edge


Mike Slessor, president and CEO of FormFactor, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss testing of AI and 5G chips, and why getting power into a chip for testing is becoming more difficult at each new node. SE: How does test change with AI chips, where you've got massive numbers of accelerators and processors developed at 7 and 5nm? Slessor: A lot of the AI stuff that we've been... » read more

Metrology Challenges For Gate-All-Around


Metrology is proving to be a major challenge for those foundries working on processes for gate-all-around FETs at 3nm and beyond. Metrology is the art of measuring and characterizing structures in devices. Measuring and characterizing structures in devices has become more difficult and expensive at each new node, and the introduction of new types of transistors is making this even harder. Ev... » read more

Power Management Becomes Top Issue Everywhere


Power management is becoming a bigger challenge across a wide variety of applications, from consumer products such as televisions and set-top-boxes to large data centers, where the cost of cooling server racks to offset the impact of thermal dissipation can be enormous. Several years ago, low-power design was largely relegated to mobile devices that were dependent on a battery. Since then, i... » read more

Power Challenges In ML Processors


The design of artificial intelligence (AI) chips or machine learning (ML) systems requires that designers and architects use every trick in the book and then learn some new ones if they are to be successful. Call it style, call it architecture, there are some designs that are just better than others. When it comes to power, there are plenty of ways that small changes can make large differences.... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Rising


The chiplet model is gaining momentum as an alternative to developing monolithic ASIC designs, which are becoming more complex and expensive at each node. Several companies and industry groups are rallying around the chiplet model, including AMD, Intel and TSMC. In addition, there is a new U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative. The goal is to speed up time to market and reduce the cost... » read more

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