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

Can Graphene Be Mass Manufactured?


Since the isolation of graphene in 2004, the high mobility and unique transport properties of 2-dimensional semiconductors have tantalized physicists and materials scientists. Their in-plane carrier transport and lack of dangling bonds potentially can minimize line/edge scattering and other effects of extreme scaling. While 2-D materials cannot compete with silicon at current device dime... » read more

Extending The IC Roadmap


An Steegen, executive vice president of semiconductor technology and systems at Imec, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss IC scaling and chip packaging. Imec is working on next-generation transistors, but it is also developing several new technologies for IC packaging, such as a proprietary silicon bridge, a cooling technology and packaging modules. What follows are excerpts of t... » read more

Architecture, Materials And Software


AI, machine learning and autonomous vehicles will require massive improvements in performance, at the same power consumption level (or better), over today's chips. But it's obvious that the usual approach of shrinking features to improve power/performance isn't going to be sufficient. Scaling will certainly help, particularly on the logic side. More transistors are needed to process a huge i... » read more

Transistor Options Beyond 3nm


Despite a slowdown in chip scaling amid soaring costs, the industry continues to search for a new transistor type 5 to 10 years out—particularly for the 2nm and 1nm nodes. Specifically, the industry is pinpointing and narrowing down the transistor options for the next major nodes after 3nm. Those two nodes, called 2.5nm and 1.5nm, are slated to appear in 2027 and 2030, respectively, accord... » read more

New Nodes, Materials, Memories


Ellie Yieh, vice president and general manager of Advanced Product Technology Development at [getentity id="22817" e_name="Applied Materials"], and head of the company's Maydan Technology Center, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about challenges, changes and solutions at advanced nodes and with new applications. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: How far can w... » read more

Silicon’s Long Game


The era of all-silicon substrates and copper wires may be coming to an end. Progress in the future increasingly depends on more exotic combinations of materials that are developed for specific applications. But after years of predicting the death of silicon, it appears those predictions may be premature. That's not always obvious, given the growing number of chemical combinations being creat... » read more

Light In A Package


Silicon photonics is gaining significant traction inside the data center, but creating a simpler method of packaging the laser with other circuitry remains a stumbling block for cutting costs and using this technology across a wider swath of applications. Progress does appear to be on the horizon, even though exact time frames remain unclear. The advantages of light in communications are wel... » read more

Integrated Photonics (Part 2)


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the status of integrated photonics with Twan Korthorst, CEO for PhoeniX Software; Gilles Lamant, distinguished engineer for [getentity id="22032" e_name="Cadence"]; Bill De Vries, director of marketing for Lumerical Solutions; and Brett Attaway, director of EPDA solutions at AIM Photonics, SUNY Polytechnic Institute. What follows are excerpts of tha... » read more

Ruthenium Liners Give Way To Ruthenium Lines


For several years now, integrated circuit manufacturers have been investigating alternative barrier layer materials for copper interconnects. As interconnect dimensions shrink, the barrier accounts for an increasing fraction of the total line volume. As previously reported, both cobalt and ruthenium have drawn substantial interest because they can serve as both barrier and seed layers, minimizi... » read more

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