Why Chips Die


Semiconductor devices contain hundreds of millions of transistors operating at extreme temperatures and in hostile environments, so it should come as no surprise that many of these devices fail to operate as expected or have a finite lifetime. Some devices never make it out of the lab and many others die in the fab. It is hoped that most devices released into products will survive until they be... » read more

FAA Traffic Management Anticipates Flying Cars


It may be a year or more before the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) changes its rules enough for Amazon or other hopefuls to deliver products by drones. But the five-year FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, signed into law Oct. 5, confirmed controversial rules the FAA considers critical to its ability to regulate drone traffic and confirmed funding and plans for drone-specific additi... » read more

Power Delivery Affecting Performance At 7nm


Complex interactions and dependencies at 7nm and beyond can create unexpected performance drops in chips that cannot always be caught by signoff tools. This isn't for lack of effort. The amount of time spent trying to determine if an advanced-node chip will work after it is fabricated has been rising steadily for several process nodes. Additional design rules handle everything from variation... » read more

Embedded Flash Scaling Limits


Embedded nonvolatile flash memory has played a key role in chips for years, but the technology is beginning to face some scaling and cost roadblocks and it’s not clear what comes next. Embedded flash is used in several markets, such as automotive, consumer and industrial. But the automotive sector appears to be the most concerned about the future of the technology. Typically, a car incorpo... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


M&A Microchip inked an agreement to acquire Microsemi, provider of chips for defense and aerospace, for $68.78 per share in cash. The acquisition price represents a total equity value of about $8.35 billion and a total enterprise value of about $10.15 billion, according to Microchip. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. Silvaco acquired NanGate. Founded in 2004, ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Samsung Electronics has broken ground on a new extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography facility in Hwaseong, South Korea. The new EUV facility is expected to be completed within the second half of 2019 with production slated for 2020. The initial investment in the new EUV line is projected to reach $6 billion by 2020. Imec and Cadence Design Systems have collaborated on the develop... » read more

Shortages Hit Packaging Biz


Rising demand for chips is hitting the IC packaging supply chain, causing shortages of select manufacturing capacity, various package types, leadframes and even some equipment. Spot shortages for some IC packages began showing up earlier this year, but the problem has been growing and spreading since then. Supply imbalances reached a boiling point in the third and fourth quarters of this yea... » read more

The New Road Warriors


Chip vendors and other companies that have little or no experience in automotive are flooding into this market as the race for assisted and autonomous driving begins to heat up. This market is expected to pay big dividends for companies that succeed in helping to build the vehicles of the future in this century. IC Insights earlier this year forecast the auto chip market would grow 22% this ... » read more

Evolution Of The MCU


Microcontrollers are taking on a variety of new and much more complex computing tasks, evolving from standalone chips to more highly integrated devices that can rival complex microprocessors. Microcontroller units (MCUs) are being designed into everything from assisted and autonomous driving to smart cards. They often are the central processing elements for a slew of connected devices that i... » read more

What’s Next For NOR Flash?


The flash memory market is the tale two of cities. Today, NAND and NOR are the two main flash memory types. Over the years, the NAND flash market has exploded. Targeted for data storage, NAND flash has moved into flash cards, solid-state storage drives (SSDs) and other products. The excitement for NAND continues to mount, as the technology is moving from planar to a 3D structure. In fact, 3D... » read more

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