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Posts Tagged ‘Advanced Semiconductor Engineering’

Solid State Watch: May 1-8, 2015

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
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Blog review February 24, 2014

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Paul Farrar, general manager of the G450C consortium, said early work has demonstrated good results and that he sees no real barriers to implementing 450mm wafers from a technical standpoint. But as Pete Singer blogs, he also said: “In the end, if this isn’t cheaper, no one is going to do it,” he said.

Adele Hars of Advanced Substrate News reports that body-biasing design techniques, uniquely available in FD-SOI, have allowed STMicroelectronics and CEA-Leti to demonstrate a DSP that runs 10x faster than anything the industry’s seen before at ultra-low voltages.

Dr. Bruce McGaughy, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering, ProPlus Design Solutions, Inc., says the move to state-of-the-art 28nm/20nm planar CMOS and 16nm FinFET technologies present greater challenges to yield than any previous generation. This is putting more emphasis on high sigma yield.

Jamie Girard, senior director, North America Public Policy, SEMI President Obama touched on many different policy areas during his State of the Union talk, and specifically mentioned a number of issues that are of top concern in the industry and with SEMI member companies. Among these are funding for federal R&D, including public-private partnerships, trade, high-skilled immigration reform, and solar energy.

Phil Garrou finishes his look at the IEEE 3DIC meeting, with an analysis of presentations from Tohoku University, Fujitsu’s wafer-on-wafer (WOW), ASE/Chiao Tung University and RTI. In another blog, Phil continues his review of the Georgia Tech Interposer conference, highlighting presentations from Corning, Schott Glass, Asahi Glass, Shinko, Altera, Zeon and Ushio.

Pete Singer recommends taking the new survey by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) but you may first want to give some thought as to what is and what isn’t “nanotechnology.”

Solid State Watch: January 31-February 6, 2014

Friday, February 7th, 2014
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Mobility Is Now Driving the Industry

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

By Pete Singer, Editor-in-Chief of Solid State Technology

It’s apparent that the world’s appetite for electronics has never been greater. That has increasingly taken the form of mobile electronics, including smartphones, tablets and tablets and the new “phablets.” People want to watch movies and live sports on their phones. They want their mobile devices to be “situationally aware” and even capable of monitoring their health through sensors. That drives higher bandwidth (6G is on the drawing board), faster data rates and a demand for reduced power consumption to conserve battery life. At the same time, “big data” and the internet of things (IoT) are here, which drives the demand for server networks and high performance semiconductors, as well as integrated sensors and inventive gadgets such as flexible displays and human biosensor networks.

All of this is pushing the semiconductor manufacturing industry and related industry (MEMS, displays, packaging and integration, batteries, etc.) in new directions. The tradeoffs that chipmakers must manager between power, performance, area and cost/complexity (PPAC) are now driven not by PCs, but by mobile devices.

In a keynote address at Semicon West 2013, Ajit Monacha, CEO of Global Foundries, expanded on his Foundry 2.0 concept, talking about how the requirements of mobile devices were, in fact, changing the entire semiconductor industry. He noted that the mobile business is forecast to be double the size of the PC market in 2016. The mobile business drives many new requirements, said Manocha, including power, performance and features, higher data rates, high resolution multicore processors and thinner form factors.

Manocha presented the audience with what he sees as today’s Big Five Challenges: cost, device architectures, lithography and EUV, packaging and the 450mm wafer transition. I don’t recall when cost wasn’t an issue, but an audience poll revealed that most people believe economic challenges will be the main factor limiting industry growth, not technical challenges. I agree, but I’m also thinking new applications will emerge particularly in the health field that could push the industry in yet another new direction.

Semiconductors and healthcare converging

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

By Pete Singer

Semiconductor technology is increasingly being implemented in a variety of healthcare applications.

At the recent imec International Technology Forum Press Gathering in Leuven, Belgium, imec CEO Luc Van den hove outlined uses in blood cell sorting, mobile apps for personalized medicine (such as brain monitoring of EEG activity), and advanced bio research.

“The cost of healthcare is exploding,” he said, noting that one in three people will develop diabetes in their lifetime. It is estimated that the cost of treating diabetes patients will exceed $500 billion 20 years from now (for U.S. and Europe).

Van den hove believes the healthcare system will soon see the kind of evolution of that the semiconductor industry has witnessed. “We have created this fabulous revolution in compute power. We went from mainframe to desktop type systems to a computer in our pocket that is more powerful than a mainframe computer we were using 20 years ago. We’re convinced that we will see a similar revolution in the domain of medical diagnostics,” said Van den hove. “We are clearly at a turning point and we will go from these very sophisticated clinical labs with big medical analysis tools to tools that will be implemented on a doctor’s desk, eventually to tools we will be using in our homes which are add-ons to our smart phones, which will allow us to do part of the analysis at home. We are convinced that if you combine the capabilities of semiconductor technology with the know-how that is available in the medical profession, we can come up with solutions that are more sustainable.”

One cornerstone of such a medical system will be early diagnostics. One example is the early detection of cancer cells in blood. “Typically today, when you have a primary tumor, it will spread out tumor cells that will circulate through the blood and will create secondary tumors that are usually the more fatal ones. If we can find a way to detect those circulating those tumor cells in the blood in an easy way, then we can come up with a way to detect cancer at an early stage,” Van den hove said.

The challenge is huge: one has to have the ability to detect one bad tumor cell in 5 billion blood cells. This equate to a requirement to detect 20 million cells per second. “This is a real challenge, but the parallelism that can be realized with semiconductor technology is a tremendous opportunity. We can fabricate thousands of those parallel circuits on one device. This will allow us to create this kind of sensitivity,” he said. “The system we are building here is a combination of very sophisticated microfluidics, electronics and very sophisticated on-chip imaging. We also require a lot of compute power because we have to analyze 20 million images per second. It will become possible to realize these kinds of detection systems.”
The second pillar of a sustainable healthcare system, according to imec, is mobile diagnostics that will allow patients to be monitored in their homes and also better access to healthcare in places that are difficult to reach. A third pillar of such a sustainable healthcare system will be personalized therapy which could lead to the discover of cures of illnesses that are now uncurable.


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