Where Technology Breakthroughs Are Needed


After years of delays, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is finally in production at the 7nm logic node with 5nm in the works. EUV, a next-generation lithography technology, certainly will help chipmakers migrate to the next nodes. But EUV doesn’t solve every problem. Nor does it address all challenges in the semiconductor industry. Not by a long shot. To be sure, the industry needs... » read more

Into The Cold And Darkness


The need for speed is limitless. There is far more data to process, and there is competition on a global scale to process it fastest and most efficiently. But how to achieve future revs of improvements will begin to look very different from the past. For one thing, the new criteria for that speed are frequently tied to a fixed or shrinking power budget. This is why many benchmarks these days... » read more

GDDR6 Drilldown: Applications, Tradeoffs And Specs


Frank Ferro, senior director of product marketing for IP cores at Rambus, drills down on tradeoffs in choosing different DRAM versions, where GDDR6 fits into designs versus other types of DRAM, and how different memories are used in different vertical markets. » read more

Survival Of The Cheapest?


We all want the best solution to win, but that rarely happens. History is littered with products that were superior to the alternatives and yet lost out to a lessor rival. I am sure several examples are going through your mind without me having to list them. It is normally the first to volume that wins, often accelerated by copious amounts of marketing dollar to help push it against headwinds. ... » read more

Challenges Grow For 5G Packages And Modules


The shift to 5G wireless networks is driving a need for new IC packages and modules in smartphones and other systems, but this move is turning out to be harder than it looks. For one thing, the IC packages and RF modules for 5G phones are more complex and expensive than today's devices, and that gap will grow significantly in the second phase of 5G. In addition, 5G devices will require an as... » read more

Silicon Photonics Begins To Make Inroads


Integrating photons and electrons on the same die is still a long way off, but advances in packaging and improvements in silicon photonics are making it possible to use optical communication for a variety of new applications. Utilizing light-based communication between chips, or in self-contained modules, ultimately could have a big impact on chip design. Photons moving through waveguides ar... » read more

Playing Into China’s Hands


The fallout over blacklisting Huawei in particular, and China in general, has set the tone for a nasty global race. But it is almost certain to produce a different result than the proponents of a trade war are expecting. The idea behind tariffs and the blacklisting of Huawei is to starve China of vital technology. So far, the impact has been minimal. Reports from inside of China are equa... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 10


Predicting warpage in packages At the recent IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) in Las Vegas, there were several papers on ways to predict variation and warpage in IC packages. Advanced packages are prone to unwanted warpage during the process flow. The warpage challenges escalate as the packages become thinner. Warpage in turn can impact yields in IC packages. ... » 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

The Precision Knob


Precision used to be a goal, but increasingly it is being used as a tool. This is true for processing and algorithms, where less precision can greatly improve both performance and battery life. And it is true in manufacturing, where more precision can help minimize the growing impact of variation. Moreover, being able to dial precision up or down can help engineers see the impact on a system... » read more

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