Power Budgets At 3nm And Beyond


There is high confidence that digital logic will continue to shrink at least to 3nm, and possibly down to 1.5nm. Each of those will require significant changes in how design teams approach power. This is somewhat evolutionary for most chipmakers. Five years ago there were fewer than a handful of power experts in most large organizations. Today, everyone deals with power in one way or another... » read more

New Design Approaches At 7/5nm


The race to build chips with a multitude of different processing elements and memories is making it more difficult to design, verify and test these devices, particularly when AI and leading-edge manufacturing processes are involved. There are two fundamental problems. First, there are much tighter tolerances for all of the components in those designs due to proximity effects. Second, as a re... » read more

The Good And Bad Of 2D Materials


Despite years of warnings about reaching the limits of silicon, particularly at leading-edge process nodes where electron mobility is limited, there still is no obvious replacement. Silicon’s decades-long dominance of the integrated circuit industry is only partly due to the material’s electronic properties. Germanium, gallium arsenide, and many other semiconductors offer superior mobili... » read more

Using Sensor Data To Improve Yield And Uptime


Semiconductor equipment vendors are starting to add more sensors into their tools in an effort to improve fab uptime and wafer yield, and to reduce cost of ownership and chip failures. Massive amounts of data gleaned from those tools is expected to provide far more detail than in the past about multiple types and sources of variation, including when and where that variation occurred and how,... » read more

Unsticking Moore’s Law


Sanjay Natarajan, corporate vice president at Applied Materials with responsibility for transistor, interconnect and memory solutions, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about variation, Moore's Law, the impact of new materials such as cobalt, and different memory architectures and approaches. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Reliability is becoming more of an... » read more

Variation’s Long Tentacles


Today, most design engineers don't pay much attention to variation. It's generally considered to be a manufacturing problem. Even within the fab, various job functions are segmented enough that variation in one part of the process, such as the photomask shop, doesn't necessarily come to the attention of the people doing deposition and etch or those polishing the wafers. But increasingly, ... » read more

Variation Issues Grow Wider And Deeper


Variation is becoming more problematic as chips become increasingly heterogeneous and as they are used in new applications and different locations, sparking concerns about how to solve these issues and what the full impact will be. In the past, variation in semiconductors was considered a foundry issue, typically at the most advanced process node, and largely ignored by most companies. New p... » read more

Boosting Analog Reliability


Aveek Sarkar, vice president of Synopsys’ Custom Compiler Group, talks about challenges with complex design rules, rigid design methodologies, and the gap between pre-layout and post-layout simulation at finFET nodes. https://youtu.be/JRYlYJ31LLw » read more

Top Tech Talks Of 2018


2018 shaped up to be a year of transition and inflection, sometimes in the same design. There were new opportunities in automotive, continued difficulties in scaling, and an explosion in AI and machine learning everywhere. Traffic numbers on stories give a snapshot of the most current trends, but with videos those trends are even more apparent because of the time invested in watching those v... » read more

Multi-Beam Mask Writing Finally Comes Of Age


Elmar Platzgummer, chief executive of IMS Nanofabrication, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss photomask and mask writing trends. IMS, a subsidiary of Intel, is a supplier of multi-beam e-beam systems for photomask production. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: For years, photomask makers have used single-beam e-beam tools to pattern or write the features on ... » read more

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