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

Carmakers To Chipmakers: Where’s The Data?


The integration of electronics into increasingly autonomous vehicles isn't going nearly as smoothly as the marketing literature suggests. In fact, it could take years before some of these discrepancies are resolved. The push toward full autonomy certainly hasn't slowed down, but carmakers and the electronics industry are approaching that goal from very different vantage points. Carmakers and... » read more

Variation’s Long, Twisty Tail Worsens At 7/5nm


Variation is becoming a bigger challenge at each new node, but not just for obvious reasons and not always from the usual sources. Nevertheless, dealing with these issues takes additional time and resources, and it can affect the performance and reliability of those chips throughout their lifetimes. At a high level, variation historically was viewed as a mismatch between what design teams in... » read more

Process Variation Not A Solved Issue


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about process variation in advanced nodes, and how design teams are coping, with Christoph Sohrmann, a member of the Advanced Physical Verification group in Fraunhofer’s Division of Engineering of Adaptive Systems (EAS); Juan Rey, vice president of engineering at Mentor, A Siemens Business; and Stephen Crosher, CEO of Moortec Semiconductor. What foll... » read more

Process Detection & Variability


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. What do we mean by process variation? Process variation is a complex subject which covers a range of effects, but broadly we can consider that the effects are caused by imperfections in the manufacturing process. Examples are implant variations, mask misalignments, and optical variations. These all add up to give statistical variation on the ideal o... » read more

Near-Threshold Issues Deepen


Complex issues stemming from near-threshold computing, where the operating voltage and threshold voltage are very close together, are becoming more common at each new node. In fact, there are reports that the top five mobile chip companies, all with chips at 10/7nm, have had performance failures traced back to process variation and timing issues. Once a rather esoteric design technique, near... » read more

Understanding The Effect Of Variability In Bulk FinFET Device Performance


2-D MOSFETs have proven difficult to scale down to 20nm and beyond. In their place, 3D FinFET transistors have emerged as novel devices that can scale down to lower node sizes. 10nm process finFETs are for SoC product mass production, and research is progressing towards a 7nm process finFET. FinFET transistors provide lower dynamic power consumption (due to flatter I-V curves), improved control... » read more

Modeling Semiconductor Process Variation


3D semiconductors, 3D NAND Flash, FinFETS and other advanced devices are bringing tremendous opportunities to the semiconductor industry. Unfortunately, these devices are also bringing new design, process and production problems. Process variability has been a major contributor to production delays as feature sizes have decreased and process complexity has increased. Virtual fabrication is a co... » read more

Functional Safety Methodologies For Automotive Applications


Safety-critical automotive applications have stringent demands for functional safety and reliability. Traditionally, functional safety requirements have been managed by car manufacturers and system providers. However, with the increasing complexity of electronics involved, the responsibility of addressing functional safety is now propagating through the supply chain to semiconductor companies a... » read more

The Next 5 Years Of Chip Technology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the future of scaling, the impact of variation, and the introduction of new materials and technologies, with Rick Gottscho, CTO of Lam Research; Mark Dougherty, vice president of advanced module engineering at GlobalFoundries; David Shortt, technical fellow at KLA-Tencor; Gary Zhang, vice president of computational litho products at ASML; and Shay... » read more

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