Tech Talk: 5/3nm Parasitics

Ralph Iverson, principal R&D engineer at Synopsys, talks about parasitic extraction at 5/3nm and what to expect with new materials and gate structures such as gate-all-around FETs and vertical nanowire FETs. » read more

Pushing Performance Limits

Trying to squeeze the last bit of performance out of a chip sounds like a good idea, but it increases risk and cost, extends development time, reduced yield, and it may even limit the environments in which the chip can operate. And yet, given the amount of margin added at every step of the development process, it seems obvious that plenty of improvements could be made. "Every design can be o... » 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 [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; Mark Dougherty, vice president of advanced module engineering at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"]; David Shortt, technical fellow at [getentity id="22876" co... » read more

Making Interconnects Faster

In integrated circuits, interconnect resistance is a combination of wire and via resistance. Wire resistance of a conductor depends on several factors, one of which is the electron scattering at various surfaces and grain boundaries. Via resistance, on the other hand, is a function of the thickness or resistivity of the layers at the bottom of the via through which current must travel. T... » read more

Managing Parasitics For Transistor Performance

The basic equations describing transistor behavior rely on parameters like channel doping, the capacitance of the gate oxide, and the resistance between the source and drain and the channel. And for most of the IC industry's history, these have been sufficient. “Parasitic” or “external” resistances and capacitances from structures outside the transistor have been small enough to discoun... » read more

7nm Power Issues And Solutions

Being able to achieve 35% speed improvement, 65% power reduction and 3.3X higher density makes adopting a 7nm process for your next system-on-chip (SoC) design seem like an easy decision. However, with $271 million in estimated total design cost and 500 man-years it would take to bring a mid-range 7nm SoC to production, companies need to carefully weigh the benefits against the cost of designin... » read more

Partitioning For Power

Examine any smartphone design today and most of the electronic circuitry is "off" most of the time. And regardless of how many processor cores are available, it's rare to use more than a couple of those cores at any point in time. The emphasis is shifting, though, as the mobility market flattens and other markets such as driver-assisted vehicles and IoT begin gaining traction. In a car, turn... » read more

Building Faster Chips

By Ed Sperling and Jeff Dorsch An explosion in IoT sensor data, the onset of deep learning and AI, and the commercial rollout of augmented and virtual reality are driving a renewed interest in performance as the key metric for semiconductor design. Throughout the past decade in which mobility/smartphone dominated chip design, power replaced performance as the top driver. Processors ha... » read more

RC Delay: Bottleneck To Scaling

R = resistance — the difficulty an electrical current has in passing through a conducting material. C = capacitance — the degree to which an insulating material holds a charge. RC delay = the delay in signal speed through the circuit wiring as a result of these two effects. RC delay is important because it can become a significant obstacle to continued downward scaling of logic and... » read more

No More Straight Lines

Shrinking features on a chip is no longer the only way forward, and in an increasing number of designs and markets, it is no longer the best way forward. Power and performance are generally better dealt with using different architectures and microarchitectures, and all of those provide the potential to reduce silicon area (cost). Cramming more transistors on a die and working around leakage... » read more

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