A Crisis In DoD’s Trusted Foundry Program?


The U.S. Department of Defense’s Trusted Foundry program is in flux due to GlobalFoundries’ recent decision to put 7nm on hold, raising national security concerns across the U.S. defense community. U.S. DoD and military/aerospace chip customers currently have access to U.S.-based “secure” foundry capacity down to 14nm, but that's where it ends. No other foundries provide similar “s... » read more

The Advantages Of FD-SOI Technology


If my memory serves me well, it was at the 1989 Device Research Conference where the potential merits of SOI (Silicon on Insulator) technology were discussed in a heated evening panel discussion. At that panel discussion, there were many advocates for SOI, as well as many naysayers. I didn’t really think more about SOI technology until the mid-nineties, when I was sitting in a meeting where t... » read more

Achieving The Vision Of Silicon Photonics Processing


With the increasing need for faster data transfer rates, the transition from electrical to optical signaling in data processing is inevitable. Copper cabling cannot keep up with the upcoming data center bandwidth requirements for applications such as multimedia streaming and high performance computing. One technology that could enable true optical communication is silicon photonics. Silicon is ... » read more

FinFET Front-End-of-Line (FEOL) Process Integration With SEMulator3D


Purely geometric scaling of transistors ended around the 90-nanometer (nm) era. Since then, most power/performance and area/cost improvements have come from structural and material innovations. Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI), first “partially depleted” and more recently “fully depleted” as well as embedded stressors, High-K / Metal-Gate (HKMG) and now FinFETs are examples of technology inno... » read more

How Will 5G Work?


Sumit Tomar, general manager of the Wireless Infrastructure Products Group at RF chip giant Qorvo, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the development of next-generation 5G wireless networks and other topics. In 2014, RF Micro Devices and TriQuint merged to form Qorvo. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: 5G, the follow-on to the current wireless standard known ... » read more

The Trouble With MEMS


The advent of the Internet of Things will open up a slew of new opportunities for MEMS-based sensors, but chipmakers are proceeding cautiously. There are a number of reasons for that restraint. Microelectromechanical systems are difficult to design, manufacture and test, which initially fueled optimism in the MEMS ecosystem that this market would command the same kinds of premiums that analo... » read more

Building A Better Resonator


The resonant frequency of a beam depends on the mass and stiffness of the beam. Resonance has always been important in the design of musical instruments and amplification systems, as well as the design of bridges and buildings. With the advent of MEMS fabrication techniques, though, came the ability to create very small beams, in the micron or nanometer size range, with resonant frequencies... » read more

The Future Of MEMS Sensor Design And Manufacturing


I recently gave an invited talk at the IEEE Inertial Sensors 2016 symposium that discussed the future of commodity MEMS inertial sensor design and manufacturing. Inertial sensors comprise one of the fastest growing and most successful segments of the MEMS market. There are three industry trends that I believe will have major implications for motion sensor design and manufacturing and, more g... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: March 29


Brain-inspired computing Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased a brain-inspired supercomputing platform for deep learning developed by IBM Research. Based on a neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. It will consume the energy equivalent of a tablet computer. ... » read more

Internet of FD-SOI Things?


Are fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) wafers having a moment? Certainly SOI wafers are not new. Soitec’s SmartCut layer transfer technology was patented in 1994, and wafers with implanted oxide layers were available before that. Still, adoption of SOI wafers has been limited. Though they offer improved device isolation and reduced parasitics, the increased wafer cost has been an ob... » read more

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