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The Increasingly Uneven Race To 3nm/2nm


Several chipmakers and fabless design houses are racing against each other to develop processes and chips at the next logic nodes in 3nm and 2nm, but putting these technologies into mass production is proving both expensive and difficult. It's also beginning to raise questions about just how quickly those new nodes will be needed and why. Migrating to the next nodes does boost performance an... » read more

Gaps Emerging In System Integration


The system integration challenge is evolving, but existing tools and methods are not keeping up with the task. New tools and flows are needed to handle global concepts, such as power and thermal, that cannot be dealt with at the block level. As we potentially move into a new era where IP gets delivered as physical pieces of silicon, this lack of an accepted flow will become a stumbling block. ... » read more

Another Brick Or Two In The Chip Design Wall


Physical challenges come and go in the semiconductor world. But increasingly, they also stick around, showing up in inconvenient places at the worst time. The chip industry has confronted and solved some massive challenges over the years. There was the 1 micron lithography wall, which was supposed to be impenetrable. That was followed by the 193nm litho challenge, which cost many billions of... » read more

ECTC Packaging Trends


At the recent IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) in Las Vegas, a number of packaging houses, R&D organizations and universities presented a slew of papers on the latest IC packaging technologies. The event provided a glimpse of the future of packaging, which is becoming more important in the industry. At one time, IC packaging took a backseat in the semiconductor... » read more

What Happened To Nanoimprint Litho?


Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is re-emerging amid an explosion of new applications in the market. Canon, EV Group, Nanonex, Suss and others continue to develop and ship NIL systems for a range of markets. NIL is different than conventional lithography and resembles a stamping process. Initially, a lithographic system forms a pattern on a template based on a pre-defined design. Then, a separa... » read more

DSA Re-Enters Litho Picture


By Mark LaPedus and Ed Sperling Directed self-assembly (DSA) is moving back onto the patterning radar screen amid ongoing challenges in lithography. Intel continues to have a keen interest in [gettech id="31046" t_name="DSA"], while other chipmakers are taking another hard look at the technology, according to multiple industry sources. DSA isn't like a traditional [getkc id="80" kc_name="... » 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

Filtering Out Fab Problems


Bertrand Loy, president and CEO of Entegris, sat down to discuss the semiconductor industry, process challenges and filter technology with Semiconductor Engineering. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What is the outlook for the IC industry? Loy: A lot of positive things are happening. Eighty percent of what we do are consumables, which would be chemistries and filters. ... » read more

Reworking Established Nodes


New technology markets and a flattening in smartphone growth has sparked a resurgence in older technology processes. For many of these up-and-coming applications, there is no compelling reason to migrate to the latest process node, and equipment companies and fabs are rushing to fill the void. As with all electronic devices, the focus is on cost-cutting. But because these markets are likely ... » read more

Moore’s Law: Toward SW-Defined Hardware


Pushing to the next process node will continue to be a primary driver for some chips—CPUs, FPGAs and some ASICS—but for many applications that approach is becoming less relevant as a metric for progress. Behind this change is a transition from using customized software with generic hardware, to a mix of specialized, heterogeneous hardware that can achieve better performance with less ene... » read more

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