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The Latest in Dielectrics for Advanced Process Nodes

The Latest in Dielectrics for Advanced Process Nodes
by Tom Dillinger on 01-12-2021 at 6:00 am

new ILDs v2

Of the three types of materials used in microelectronics – i.e., semiconductors, metals, and dielectrics – the first two often get the most attention.  Yet, there is a pressing need for a rich variety of dielectric materials in device fabrication and interconnect isolation to satisfy the performance, power, and reliability … Read More


Technology Optimization for Magnetoresistive RAM (STT-MRAM)

Technology Optimization for Magnetoresistive RAM (STT-MRAM)
by Tom Dillinger on 01-06-2021 at 6:00 am

profile simulations

Spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (STT-MRAM) has emerged from several foundries as a very attractive IP option.  An introduction to MRAM technology from GLOBALFOUNDRIES was provided in this earlier SemiWiki article. [1]

Briefly, STT-MRAM is a non-volatile storage option with the following attractive characteristics… Read More


Optimization for pFET Nanosheet Devices

Optimization for pFET Nanosheet Devices
by Tom Dillinger on 01-04-2021 at 6:00 am

Intel flow TEM

The next transition from current FinFET devices at advanced process nodes is the “nanosheet” device, as depicted in the figure below. [1]

The FinFET provides improved gate-to-channel electrostatic control compared to a planar device, where the gate traverses three sides of the fin.  The “gate-all-around” characteristics… Read More


A Research Update on Carbon Nanotube Fabrication

A Research Update on Carbon Nanotube Fabrication
by Tom Dillinger on 12-22-2020 at 10:00 am

IV measurement testchip

It is quite amazing that silicon-based devices have been the foundation of our industry for over 60 years, as it was clear that the initial germanium-based devices would be difficult to integrate at a larger scale.  (GaAs devices have also developed a unique microelectronics market segment.)  More recently, it is also rather … Read More


Apple A14 Die Annotation and Analysis – Terrifying Implications For The Industry

Apple A14 Die Annotation and Analysis – Terrifying Implications For The Industry
by Dylan Patel on 12-20-2020 at 10:00 am

Apple A14 Die Analysis

SemiAnalysis and SkyJuice have teamed up in order to analyze the A14 die shot from ICmasters. Our previous analysis of the A14, delved into why Apple and TSMC have deviated from previous generations when comparing theoretical logic transistor density to a real world utilized transistor density.

Read More

3DIC Design, Implementation, and (especially) Test

3DIC Design, Implementation, and (especially) Test
by Tom Dillinger on 12-20-2020 at 8:00 am

IO cell

The introduction of direct die-to-die bonding technology into high volume production has the potential to substantially affect the evolution of the microelectronics industry.  The concerns relative to the “end of Moore’s Law”, the diminishing returns of continued (monolithic) CMOS process scaling, and the disruptive effect… Read More


Advanced Process Development is Much More than just Litho

Advanced Process Development is Much More than just Litho
by Tom Dillinger on 12-16-2020 at 10:00 am

Vt distribution

The vast majority of the attention given to the introduction of each new advanced process node focuses on lithographic updates.  The common metrics quoted are the transistors per mm**2 or the (high-density) SRAM bit cell area.  Alternatively, detailed decomposition analysis may be applied using transmission electron microscopy… Read More


Design Considerations for 3DICs

Design Considerations for 3DICs
by Tom Dillinger on 12-14-2020 at 6:00 am

LVS flow phases

The introduction of heterogeneous 3DIC packaging technology offers the opportunity for significant increases in circuit density and performance, with corresponding reductions in package footprint.  Yet, the implementation of a complex 3DIC product requires a considerable investment in methodology development for all… Read More


Apple’s A14 Packs 134 Million Transistors/mm², but Falls Short of TSMC’s Density Claims

Apple’s A14 Packs 134 Million Transistors/mm², but Falls Short of TSMC’s Density Claims
by Dylan Patel on 12-11-2020 at 6:00 am

Apple 14 TSMC 5nm Transister Packing 1

Our friends over at ICmasters have delved into the package of the Apple A14 Bionic. The die size has been unmasked, and it stands in at 88mm2. Despite cramming in 11.8 billion transistors, the die size is incredibly small thanks to utilization of TSMC’s 5nm process node.

The march of progress is not all rosy. Apple’s chips have historically… Read More


How Intel Stumbled: A Perspective from the Trenches

How Intel Stumbled: A Perspective from the Trenches
by Daniel Nenni on 12-07-2020 at 6:00 am

Stacy and Bob Intel SemiWiki

Bloomberg did an interview with my favorite semiconductor analyst Stacy Rasgon on “How the Number One U.S. Semiconductor Company Stumbled” that I found interesting. Coupled with the Q&A Bob Swan did at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference I thought it would be good content for a viral blog.

Stacy RasgonRead More