Materials, Magnetism & Quantum Physics


For the past half-century, chipmakers have been following the same roadmap for improving performance in chips and reducing the cost of chips. That has proven tremendously effective in reducing costs and packing computing into a smaller space, allowing people to carry around what used to be a multi-million-dollar mainframe in their pocket. That approach is beginning to lose momentum. It's ge... » read more

What Else Is In A Node?


In part one of this blog, I reported on the 2018 Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) where Dan Hutcheson of VLSI Research led a panel with representatives of Synopsys, NVIDIA, Intel, ASML and Applied Materials. The participants discussed how the industry is focused on simultaneously squeezing more capabilities from leading-nodes, inter-nodes and trailing-nodes to drive advances in computing. I to... » read more

Quantum Computing Becoming Real


Quantum computing will begin rolling out in increasingly useful ways over the next few years, setting the stage for what ultimately could lead to a shakeup in high-performance computing and eventually in the cloud. Quantum computing has long been viewed as some futuristic research project with possible commercial applications. It typically needs to run at temperatures close to absolute zero,... » read more

Dealing With Resistance In Chips


Chipmakers continue to scale the transistor at advanced nodes, but they are struggling to maintain the same pace with the other two critical parts of the device—the contacts and interconnects. That’s beginning to change, however. In fact, at 10nm/7nm, chipmakers are introducing new topologies and materials such as cobalt, which promises to boost the performance and reduce unwanted resist... » read more

Big Trouble At 3nm


As chipmakers begin to ramp up 10nm/7nm technologies in the market, vendors are also gearing up for the development of a next-generation transistor type at 3nm. Some have announced specific plans at 3nm, but the transition to this node is expected to be a long and bumpy one, filled with a slew of technical and cost challenges. For example, the design cost for a 3nm chip could exceed an eye-p... » read more

The Week in Review: IoT


Tools/Chips Synopsys rolled out a new release of its automotive exterior lighting design and analysis software. The tool calculations and generates images for multiple viewing directions and different lighting conditions. Lighting on vehicles has become far more complex than just shining a beam on the road. The latest technology can adapt to road conditions, other cars, and help illuminate the... » read more

Advanced Packaging Confusion


Advanced packaging is exploding in all directions. There are more chipmakers utilizing different packaging options, more options for the packages themselves, and a confusing array of descriptions and names being used for all of these. Several years ago, there were basically two options on the table, 3D-ICs and 2.5D. But as chipmakers began understanding the difficulty, cost and reduced benef... » read more

Blog Review: June 13


Synopsys' Taylor Armerding looks at what the flaws in OpenPGP and S/MIME encryption means for the IoT and warns that the problems of patching such devices could lead to an increasing chance of security failures. Cadence's Paul McLellan takes a peek at Imec's roadmap to see what the path to 3nm looks like, how nanosheets fit in, and why design and system technology co-optimization is necessar... » read more

New Transistor Types Vs. Packaging


Plans are being formulated for the rollout of multiple types of gate-all-around FETs and literally dozens of advanced packaging options. The question now is which ones will achieve critical mass, because there aren't enough chips in the world to support all of them profitably. FinFETs, which were first introduced by Intel at 22nm, are running out of steam. While they will survive 10/7nm, and... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Applied Materials has launched a suite of products that will enable cobalt metallization schemes for contacts and interconnects in chips at advanced nodes. The products from Applied enable a complete cobalt fill process. The tools include CMP, CVD, PVD and RTP systems. At advanced nodes, cobalt promises to reduce unwanted resistance in the critical parts of a chip. Cobalt is bein... » read more

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