Can The Hardware Supply Chain Remain Secure?


Malware in computers has been a reality since the 1990s, but lately the focus has shifted to hardware. So far, the semiconductor industry has been lucky because well-publicized threats were either limited or unproven. But sooner or later, luck runs out. Last year saw two significant incidents that shook people’s faith in the integrity of hardware security. The first was the Meltdown/Spectr... » read more

The Growing Uncertainty Of Sign-Off At 7/5nm


Having enough confidence in designs to sign off prior to manufacturing is becoming far more difficult at 7/5nm. It is taking longer due to increasing transistor density, thinner gate oxides, and many more power-related operations that can disrupt signal integrity and impact reliability.  For many years, designers have performed design rule checks as part of physical verification of the desi... » read more

The Limits Of Energy Harvesting


Energy harvesting, once considered an inexpensive alternative to low-power design and a way of achieving nearly unlimited power in mobile devices, has settled down to more modest expectations. This approach to generating energy through a variety of means—from solar to motion to ambient RF and even pH differences between soil and trees—has been proven to work. The problem is that it doesn... » read more

Raising The Abstraction Level For Power


Power-aware design is still a relatively new concern for many semiconductor products, and since inception it has changed several times and in different ways. Initially people were concerned about peak power. Today, they care about peak, total energy, thermal and other effects. The industry has tried several abstractions ranging from system-level analysis, which promised to swamp implementati... » read more

Renaissance In The Photomask Market?


The semiconductor industry has been on a roll for the past few years – and the rising tide has lifted segments spanning the supply chain. The photomask market, in particular, has seen exceptionally strong growth of 13 percent and 8 percent in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The upsurge is striking given that, in the early to mid-2000s, the photomask market averaged less than 4 percent annual gro... » read more

EUV Mask Gaps And Issues


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and photomask technologies with Emily Gallagher, principal member of the technical staff at Imec; Harry Levinson, principal at HJL Lithography; Chris Spence, vice president of advanced technology development at ASML; Banqiu Wu, senior director of process development at Applied Materials; and Aki Fujimura, chief ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tools and test Lam Research has developed a new self-maintaining or self-cleaning chamber for its etch tools. With the technology, Lam announced a new industry benchmark has been set for productivity in etch processing using its self-maintaining equipment. Etch process modules are typically cleaned weekly or monthly. Recently, Lam and a chipmaker reached the milestone of going 365 days... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


A new working group has been proposed by Accellera to focus on the standardization of analog/mixed signal extensions (AMS) for the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) standard. “Our ambition is to apply UVM for both digital and analog/mixed-signal verification,” said Martin Barnasconi, Accellera Technical Committee Chair. “The UVM-AMS PWG will assess the benefits of creating analog a... » read more

Automotive, AI Drive Big Changes In Test


Design for test is becoming enormously more challenging at advanced nodes and in increasingly heterogeneous designs, where there may be dozens of different processing elements and memories. Historically, test was considered a necessary but rather mundane task. Much has changed over the past year or so. As systemic complexity rises, and as the role of ICs in safety-critical markets continues ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 23


Sorting nuclei CERN and GSI Darmstadt have begun testing the first of two giant magnets that will serve as part of one of the largest and most complex accelerator facilities in the world. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, recently obtained two magnets from GSI. The two magnets weigh a total of 27 tons. About 60 more magnets will follow over the next five years. These ... » read more

← Older posts