Power/Performance Bits: May 22


Sensing without battery power Engineers at the National University of Singapore developed an IoT-focused sensor chip that can continue operating when its battery runs out of energy. The chip, BATLESS, uses a power management technique that allows it to self-start and continue to function under dim light without any battery assistance. The chip can operate in two different modes: minimum-ene... » read more

Tech Talk: eFPGA Timing


Flex Logix's Chen Wang talks about timing for an embedded FPGA and how that differs from ASIC timing. https://youtu.be/n88D1N4IEbs » read more

New Patterning Options Emerging


Several fab tool vendors are rolling out the next wave of self-aligned patterning technologies amid the shift toward new devices at 10/7nm and beyond. Applied Materials, Lam Research and TEL are developing self-aligned technologies based on a variety of new approaches. The latest approach involves self-aligned patterning techniques with multi-color material schemes, which are designed for us... » read more

Why Inductance Is Good for Area, Power and Performance


By Magdy Abadir and Yehea Ismail For chips designed at advanced technology nodes, interconnect is the dominant contributor towards delay, power consumption, and reliability. Major interconnects such as clock trees, power distribution networks and wide buses play a significant role in chip failure mechanisms such as jitter, noise coupling, power distribution droops, and electro-migration. ... » read more

Tech Talk: 5/3nm Parasitics


Ralph Iverson, principal R&D engineer at Synopsys, talks about parasitic extraction at 5/3nm and what to expect with new materials and gate structures such as gate-all-around FETs and vertical nanowire FETs. https://youtu.be/24C6byQBkuI » read more

The Week In Review: Design


Tools & IP Arm unveiled a new suite of IP focused on machine learning for edge devices. Currently dubbed Project Trillium, it includes the Arm ML processor, the second-generation Arm Object Detection (OD) processor, and open-source Arm NN software. The ML processor provides more than 4.6 TOPs in mobile environments with efficiency of 3 TOPs/W. People detection is a focus of the OD processo... » read more

Pushing Performance Limits


Trying to squeeze the last bit of performance out of a chip sounds like a good idea, but it increases risk and cost, extends development time, reduced yield, and it may even limit the environments in which the chip can operate. And yet, given the amount of margin added at every step of the development process, it seems obvious that plenty of improvements could be made. "Every design can be o... » read more

Introduction To eFPGA Hardware


Intel builds processor chips and Arm provides processor cores to integrate into chips. Xilinx and Intel (nee Altera) build FPGAs and a range of new startups provide embedded FPGA (eFPGA) to integrate into chips: Achronix, Flex Logix, Menta and QuickLogic. As the diagram above shows, an FPGA chip is a core (the “fabric”) which is surrounded by various kinds of I/O including SERDES,... » read more

Metal Markets In Flux


Markets for critical metals are becoming turbulent, creating shortages and widespread supply chain concerns. Critical metals are the raw elements and materials used in the production of aerospace/defense systems, automobiles, batteries, computers and electronic products. Many critical metals also are scarce, and there is high risk associated with their supply. In a recent report, the Europea... » read more

The Importance Of Metal Stack Compatibility For Semi IP


Architects and front end designers usually leave the back end to the physical designers: they know there can be different numbers of metal layers, but may not realize the characteristics of each metal layer may vary layer by layer as well and that different chips use different metal stack ups to optimize for their requirements. This slide from IDF14 shows a simple summary of the breadth of v... » read more

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