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Behind The Intel-GlobalFoundries Rumor


A Wall Street Journal report that Intel is looking to buy GlobalFoundries has sparked discussions across the industry. But what exactly this would mean, and why now versus a couple years ago, needs some context. There are layers upon layers of irony behind this would-be deal, and it dates back decades to some rather famous encounters. Consider former AMD CEO Jerry Sanders' 1991 comment that ... » read more

New Transistor Structures At 3nm/2nm


Several foundries continue to develop new processes based on next-generation gate-all-around transistors, including more advanced high-mobility versions, but bringing these technologies into production is going to be difficult and expensive. Intel, Samsung, TSMC and others are laying the groundwork for the transition from today’s finFET transistors to new gate-all-around field-effect trans... » read more

Atomic Layer Etch Expands To New Markets


The semiconductor industry is developing the next wave of applications for atomic layer etch (ALE), hoping to get a foothold in some new and emerging markets. ALE, a next-generation etch technology that removes materials at the atomic scale, is one of several tools used to process advanced devices in a fab. ALE moved into production for select applications around 2016, although the technolog... » read more

Metrology Challenges For Gate-All-Around


Metrology is proving to be a major challenge for those foundries working on processes for gate-all-around FETs at 3nm and beyond. Metrology is the art of measuring and characterizing structures in devices. Measuring and characterizing structures in devices has become more difficult and expensive at each new node, and the introduction of new types of transistors is making this even harder. Ev... » read more

Moving To GAA FETs


How do you measure the size of a transistor? Is it the gate length, or the distance between the source and drain contacts? For planar transistors, the two values are approximately the same. The gate, plus a dielectric spacer, fits between the source and drain contacts. The contact pitch, limited by the smallest features that the lithography process can print, determines how many transistors ... » read more

RF GaN Gains Steam


Wide-bandgap semiconductors are hot topics these days. One wide-bandgap semi type--silicon carbide (SiC)--is the talk of the town and is gaining steam in electric vehicles and other systems. But let’s not forget about gallium nitride (GaN). GaN, a binary III-V material, has 10 times the breakdown field strength with double the electron mobility than silicon. GaN is used for LEDs, power ... » read more

Influence Of SiGe On Parasitic Parameters in PMOS


In this paper, simulation-based design-technology co-optimization (DTCO) is carried out using the Coventor SEMulator3D virtual fabrication platform with its integrated electrical analysis capabilities [1]. In our study, process modeling is used to predict the sensitivity of FinFET device performance to changes in a silicon germanium epitaxial process. The simulated process is a gate-last flow p... » read more

Foundries See Growth, New Issues In 2019


The silicon foundry business is poised for growth in 2019, although the industry faces several challenges across a number of market segments next year. Generally, foundry vendors saw steady growth in 2018, but many are ending the year on a sour note. Weak demand for Apple’s new iPhone XR and a downturn in the cryptocurrency market have impacted several IC suppliers and foundries, causing t... » 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

5G Is Coming


When I returned from the holidays, I thought I had entered a time warp. Did I sleep through January and wake up near the end of February? I expected to see the usual deluge of news about the gadgets and gear that will be featured at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018). Instead, I’ve seen story after story about next-generation 5G mobile networks—typically the stuff of Mobile W... » read more

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