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Power Converter Chip Research Booms


Power electronics are booming, fueled by demand ranging from induction chargers for wearable and portable electronics, to charging stagings for electric vehicles. An estimated 80% of all U.S. electricity will pass through some form of power converter by 2030, said Yogesh Ramadass, director of power management at Texas Instruments' Kilby Labs. Transportation applications, in particular, deman... » read more

Breaking The 2nm Barrier


Chipmakers continue to make advancements with transistor technologies at the latest process nodes, but the interconnects within these structures are struggling to keep pace. The chip industry is working on several technologies to solve the interconnect bottleneck, but many of those solutions are still in R&D and may not appear for some time — possibly not until 2nm, which is expected t... » read more

FeFETs Bring Promise And Challenges


Ferroelectric FETs (FeFETs) and memory (FeRAM) are generating high levels of interest in the research community. Based on a physical mechanism that hasn’t yet been commercially exploited, they join the other interesting new physics ideas that are in various stages of commercialization. “FeRAM is very promising, but it's like all promising memory technologies — it takes a while to get b... » read more

DRAM’s Persistent Threat To Chip Security


A well-known DRAM vulnerability called "rowhammer," which allows an assailant to disrupt or take control of a system, continues to haunt the chip industry. Solutions have been tried, and new ones are being proposed, but the potential for a major attack persists. First discovered some five years ago, most of the efforts to eliminate the "rowhammer" threat have done little more than mitigate t... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 2


Capacitor-less DRAM At the recent 2020 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Imec presented a paper on a novel capacitor-less DRAM cell architecture. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. DRAM itself is based on a one-transistor, one-capacito... » read more

More Data, More Memory-Scaling Problems


Memories of all types are facing pressures as demands grow for greater capacity, lower cost, faster speeds, and lower power to handle the onslaught of new data being generated daily. Whether it's well-established memory types or novel approaches, continued work is required to keep scaling moving forward as our need for memory grows at an accelerating pace. “Data is the new economy of this ... » read more

Imec’s Plan For Continued Scaling


At IEDM in December, the opening keynote (technically "Plenary 1") was by Sri Samevadam of Imec. His presentation was titled "Towards Atomic Channels and Deconstructed Chips." He presented Imec's view of the future of semiconductors going forward, both Moore's Law (scaling) and More than More (advanced packaging and multiple die). It is always interesting to hear Imec's view of the world since... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 29


Chiplet-based exascale computers At the recent IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), CEA-Leti presented a paper on a 3D chiplet technology that enables exascale-level computing systems. The United States and other nations are working on exascale supercomputers. Today’s supercomputers are measured in floating point operations per second. The world’s fastest supercomputers c... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Nov. 25


Lidar-on-a-chip At the upcoming IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Samsung will present a paper on the industry’s first single-chip lidar beam scanner. (Go to this link and then look for paper 7.2, “Single-Chip Beam Scanner with Integrated Light Source for Real-Time Light Detection and Ranging,” J. Lee et al, Samsung.) Lidar, or light imaging, detection, and ranging, ... » read more

Emerging Apps And Challenges For Packaging


Advanced packaging is playing a bigger role and becoming a more viable option to develop new system-level chip designs, but it also presents chipmakers with a confusing array of options and sometimes a hefty price tag. Automotive, servers, smartphones and other systems have embraced advanced packaging in one form or another. For other applications, it's overkill, and a simpler commodity pack... » read more

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