Fab Equipment Challenges For 2019


After a period of record growth, the semiconductor equipment industry is facing a slowdown in 2019, in addition to several technical challenges that still need to be resolved. Generally, the equipment industry saw enormous demand in 2017, and the momentum extended into the first part of 2018. But then the memory market began deteriorating in the middle of this year, causing both DRAM and NAND ... » read more

Foundries See Growth, New Issues In 2019


The silicon foundry business is poised for growth in 2019, although the industry faces several challenges across a number of market segments next year. Generally, foundry vendors saw steady growth in 2018, but many are ending the year on a sour note. Weak demand for Apple’s new iPhone XR and a downturn in the cryptocurrency market have impacted several IC suppliers and foundries, causing t... » read more

Dirty Data: Is the Sensor Malfunctioning?


Sensors provide an amazing connection to the physical world, but extracting usable data isn't so simple. In fact, many first-time IoT designers are unprepared for how messy a sensor’s data can be. Every day the IoT motion-sensor company MbientLab struggles to tactfully teach its customers that the mountain of data they are seeing is not because the sensors are faulty. Instead, the system d... » read more

Collaborative IC Design Mandates Integrated Data Management


Due to complexity and multi-domain expertise, custom IC design typically requires a team to successfully design and verify the project. Often, specific blocks are assigned to team members based on analog, digital, MEMS, RF expertise, across multiple geographies, and separate verification team members focus on block and system validation. This means that unstructured design files with multiple c... » read more

New Metrology and Inspection Technologies Needed for More-Than-Moore Markets


The escalating costs of following Moore’s Law have shifted the semiconductor industry’s focus to More-than-Moore (MtM) technologies, where analog/mixed-signal, RF, MEMS, image sensing, power or other technologies may be integrated with CMOS in a variety of planar, 2.5D and 3D architectures. The integration of these and other key technologies is enabling a host of fast-growing application... » read more

The Process Design Kit: Protecting Design Know-How


Once upon a time, integrated circuits (ICs) were built by the same companies that designed them. The design of an IC was tightly integrated with the manufacturing processes available within each company. In these days, when designs contained hundreds of transistors, companies modeled each feature in an IC at a first principles level, meaning each transistor or fundamental device was analyzed an... » read more

Blog Review: Nov. 7


Arm's Shidhartha Das looks into maximizing the benefits of power delivery networks and explains a non-intrusive technique using an on-chip digital storage oscilloscope that can directly sample the power-rails to probe potential runtime bugs due to power delivery weaknesses. Synopsys' Snigdha Dua argues that scrambling is one of the most important features introduced in HDMI 2.0 and takes a l... » read more

DARPA Seeks To Engage With MEMS Industry


Napa, Calif. — DARPA is looking for a few good members of the MEMS industry to offer advice and help to the agency’s Rapid Innovation for Production MEMS (RIPM) concept. Ronald Polcawich, a program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Microsystems Technology Office, presented the keynote address on the second and final day of the 2018 MEMS & Sensors Executive... » read more

Security for MEMS, Sensors


Napa, Calif. — The role of MEMS and sensors is growing as more devices are connected and more intelligence is added into those devices. But that has created its own set of issues involving security and privacy. “Our strategic landscape is changing,” observed Cynthia Wright, principal cybersecurity engineer at The MITRE Corp. and CEO of Synthus, during a keynote speech on day one of the... » read more

Wanted: Mask Equipment for Mature Nodes


Rising demand for chips at mature nodes is impacting the photomask supply chain, causing huge demand for trailing-edge masks and a shortfall of older mask equipment. The big issue is the equipment shortfall, which could impact customers on several fronts. Tool shortages could lead to longer mask turnaround times and delivery schedules for chips being developed at 90nm and above, which are bu... » read more

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