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Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 28


Pneumatic memory Engineers at the University of California Riverside developed a pneumatic memory that can be used to control soft robots. Pneumatic soft robots use pressurized air to move soft, rubbery limbs and grippers, making them ideal for delicate tasks as well as safer to be around. However, they still require electronic valves and computers to control and maintain positions. The ... » read more

Impact Of GAA Transistors At 3/2nm


The chip industry is poised for another change in transistor structure as gate-all-around (GAA) FETs replace finFETs at 3nm and below, creating a new set of challenges for design teams that will need to be fully understood and addressed. GAA FETs are considered an evolutionary step from finFETs, but the impact on design flows and tools is still expected to be significant. GAA FETs will offer... » read more

Thinner Channels With 2D Semiconductors


Moving to future nodes will require more than just smaller features. At 3/2nm and beyond, new materials are likely to be added, but which ones and exactly when will depend upon an explosion of material science research underway at universities and companies around the globe. With field-effect transistors, a voltage applied to the gate creates an electric field in the channel, bending the ban... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 18


Efficient high-voltage power conversion Researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Enkris Semiconductor are working to design new power transistors with the aim of improving power converter efficiency. "We see examples of electric power losses every day, such as when the charger of your laptop heats up," said Elison Matioli, head of EPFL's POWERlab, noting that ... » read more

System Bits: March 5


The new electronics field of magnonics Transistors keep shrinking to dimensions that are difficult to fabricate. There is doubt in the semiconductor industry about the possibility of producing 1-nanometer features with existing process technology. The answer may lie in magnonic currents: quasi-particles associated with waves of magnetization, or spin waves, in magnetic materials. Researcher... » read more

Accelerators Everywhere. Now What?


It's a good time to be a data scientist, but it's about to become much more challenging for software and hardware engineers. Understanding the different types and how data flows is the next path forward in system design. As the number of sources of data rises, creating exponential spikes in the volume of data, entirely new approaches to computing will be required. The problem is understandi... » read more

5nm Design Progress


Activity surrounding the 5nm manufacturing process node is quickly ramping, creating a better picture of the myriad and increasingly complex design issues that must be overcome. Progress at each new node after 28nm has required an increasingly tight partnership between the foundries, which are developing new processes and rule decks, along with EDA and IP vendors, which are adding tools, met... » read more

Where Is Selective Deposition?


For years, the industry has been working on an advanced technology called area-selective deposition for chip production at 5nm and beyond. Area-selective deposition, an advanced self-aligned patterning technique, is still in R&D amid a slew of challenges with the technology. But the more advanced forms of technology are beginning to make some progress, possibly inching closer from the la... » 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

Extending The IC Roadmap


An Steegen, executive vice president of semiconductor technology and systems at Imec, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss IC scaling and chip packaging. Imec is working on next-generation transistors, but it is also developing several new technologies for IC packaging, such as a proprietary silicon bridge, a cooling technology and packaging modules. What follows are excerpts of t... » read more

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