Grading Chips For Longer Lifetimes


Figuring out how to grade chips is becoming much more difficult as these chips are used in applications where they are supposed to last for decades rather than just a couple of years. During manufacturing, semiconductors typically are run through a battery of tests involving performance and power, and then priced accordingly. But that is no longer a straightforward process for several reason... » read more

3nm: Blurring Lines Between SoCs, PCBs And Packages


Leading-edge chipmakers, foundries and EDA companies are pushing into 3nm and beyond, and they are encountering a long list of challenges that raise questions about whether the entire system needs to be shrunk onto a chip or into a package. For 7nm and 5nm, the problems are well understood. In fact, 5nm appears to be more of an evolution from 7nm than a major shift in direction. But at 3nm, ... » read more

Reliability In Automotive Chips


Roland Jancke, head of department for design methodology at Fraunhofer IIS’ Engineering of Adaptive Systems Division, looks at how to ensure that chips used in cars are reliable over extended periods of use, how mission profiles vary depending upon where they are used, and why it’s important to understand what chips developed at the latest nodes can really be used for and how they will be ... » read more

Artificial Intelligence For Industrial Applications


By Dirk Mayer and Olaf Enge-Rosenblatt Due to digitalization, modern machines and systems provide massive quantities of data, which form a significant basis for the optimization of production processes, operations and safety. These data sets, however, grow more and more complex, which renders the simple analysis methods typically used in the past often ineffective. This is one factor driv... » read more

Reducing Power At RTL


Power management and reduction at the register transfer level is becoming more problematic as more heterogeneous elements are added into advanced designs and more components are dependent on interactions with other components. This has been a growing problem in leading-edge designs for the past couple of process nodes, but similar issues have begun creeping into less-sophisticated designs as... » read more

The MCU Dilemma


The humble microcontroller is getting squeezed on all sides. While most of the semiconductor industry has been able to take advantage of Moore's Law, the MCU market has faltered because flash memory does not scale beyond 40nm. At the same time, new capabilities such as voice activation and richer sensor networks are requiring inference engines to be integrated for some markets. In others, re... » read more

Failure Analysis Becoming Critical To Reliability


Failure analysis is rapidly becoming a complex, costly and increasingly time-consuming must-do task as demand rises for reliability across a growing range of devices used in markets ranging from automotive to 5G. From the beginning, failure analysis has been about finding out what went wrong in semiconductor design and manufacturing. Different approaches, tools and equipment have improved ov... » read more

Making Sure RISC-V Designs Work As Expected


The RISC-V instruction set architecture is attracting attention across a wide swath of markets, but making sure devices based on the RISC-V ISA work as expected is proving as hard, if not harder, than other commercially available ISA-based chips. The general consensus is that open source lacks the safety net of commercially available IP and tools. Characterization tends to be generalized, ra... » read more

How Chips Age


Andre Lange, group manager for quality and reliability at Fraunhofer IIS’ Engineering of Adaptive Systems Division, talks about circuit aging, whether current methods of predicting reliability are accurate for chips developed at advanced process nodes, and where additional research is needed. » read more

Making 3D Structures And Packages More Reliable


The move to smaller vertical structures and complex packaging schemes is straining existing testing approaches, particularly in heterogeneous combinations on a single chip and in multi-die packages. The complexity of these devices has exploded with the slowdown in scaling, as chipmakers turn to architectural solutions and new transistor structures rather than just relying on shrinking featur... » read more

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