Silicon Photonics Begins To Make Inroads


Integrating photons and electrons on the same die is still a long way off, but advances in packaging and improvements in silicon photonics are making it possible to use optical communication for a variety of new applications. Utilizing light-based communication between chips, or in self-contained modules, ultimately could have a big impact on chip design. Photons moving through waveguides ar... » read more

The Limits Of Energy Harvesting


Energy harvesting, once considered an inexpensive alternative to low-power design and a way of achieving nearly unlimited power in mobile devices, has settled down to more modest expectations. This approach to generating energy through a variety of means—from solar to motion to ambient RF and even pH differences between soil and trees—has been proven to work. The problem is that it doesn... » read more

Hidden Soldier Joints Inspection: 4 Case Studies


IC packaging technologies are becoming smaller and thinner. Ball grid array (BGA) packages were introduced some years ago in order to save space on the PCB, and are now widely used. To overcome the resulting problems with using optical microscopy as an inspection tool, the endoscope found its way into quality engineering departments. To read more, click here. » read more

Gaps Emerge In Automotive Test


Demands by automakers for zero defects over 18 years are colliding with real-world limitations of testing complex circuitry and interactions, and they are exposing a fundamental disconnect between mechanical and electronic expectations that could be very expensive to fix. This is especially apparent at leading-edge nodes, where much of the logic is being developed for AI systems and image se... » read more

New Approaches To Security


Different approaches are emerging to identify suspicious behavior and shut down potential breaches before they have a chance to do serious damage. This is becoming particularly important in markets where safety is an issue, and in AI and edge devices where the rapid movement of data is essential. These methods are a significant departure from the traditional way of securing devices through l... » read more

X-Ray Reveals Wire Bonding And Field Failures


Wire bonding is widely used for first-level interconnection of semiconductor die to component leads or pads. It is vital that the interconnection corresponds to the product-specific bonding diagram and that the wire bonding is of an acceptable robustness and quality. X-ray technology is critical for ensuring both. To read more, click here. » read more

Shedding Pounds In Automotive Electronics


Weight is emerging as a key concern for carmakers as more electronic circuitry is added into vehicles that are either fully or partially powered by batteries. As a result, chipmakers and OEMs are exploring alternative substrate materials, different types of sensor fusion, and new ways to reduce the number of wires. Adding pounds reduces driving range for electric or hybrid vehicles. The auto... » read more

Using Sensor Data To Improve Yield And Uptime


Semiconductor equipment vendors are starting to add more sensors into their tools in an effort to improve fab uptime and wafer yield, and to reduce cost of ownership and chip failures. Massive amounts of data gleaned from those tools is expected to provide far more detail than in the past about multiple types and sources of variation, including when and where that variation occurred and how,... » read more

Reliability Becomes The Top Concern In Automotive


Reliability is emerging as the top priority across the hottest growth markets for semiconductors, including automotive, industrial and cloud-based computing. But instead of replacing chips every two to four years, some of those devices are expected to survive for up to 20 years, even with higher usage in sometimes extreme environmental conditions. This shift in priorities has broad ramificat... » read more

A Longer Life For LED Power Electronics


One of the greater challenges with LED lighting is the electronic driver’s robustness to normally occurring transients or power surges in the network. Many everyday examples have shown that the active electronics in the light sources find it hard to handle the effects in a use environment, in which incandescent bulbs and lamps with passive electronics have functioned fine for decades. A new p... » read more

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