Electronics trends for 2017

 

Chip Market Brightens in 2017. The semiconductor industry may yet have been flat in 2016, but expects it is expected that the electronics industry rebounds in 2017, probably in the first half. Wall Streeter predicts return to 5% growth. Total IC business growth is expected to be around five percents for few years to come.There seems to several promises to this direction, especially in memory business. Chips Execs See Maturing Industry article says that pessimism about immediate revenue and R&D growth is a sign of a maturing industry.

Thanks to both rising prices and volume sales, the memory sector is expected to lead overall semiconductor sales growth. Sales of memory chips will increase 10% next year to a new record high of $85.3 billion, according to the latest report from IC Insights. NAND flash will grow almost as fast at 10% next year. The average annual growth rate for the memory market is forecast to be 7.3% from 2016-2021. Every year we need 5.6% more bits than previous year, and the unit prices are increasing on both DRAM and Flash.

There will be also other growth sectors. The data center will be the fastest growth segment next year, rising 10%, followed by automotive at 9% and communications at 7%Consumer and industrial markets growing at about 4% in line with the overall industry. PCs will be the big drag on 2017, declining 2%.

China Dominates Planned Chip Fabs as more than 40% of front end semiconductor fabs scheduled to begin operation between 2017 and 2020 are in China, a clear indication that China’s long-stated ambition to build a significant domestic semiconductor industry is taking shape.

Trump Win Could Mean Big Questions for Manufacturing as while Trump vowed to keep American manufacturing jobs, he offered little in the way of stated policy other than the promise to punish companies that sent manufacturing job outside the US. Questions about trade also could directly affect US manufacturing. How that plays out is a big unknown.

Europe will try to advance chip manufacturing, but not much results in 2017 as currently  there is almost no leading-edge digital chip manufacturing left in Europe as the local companies have embraced outsourcing of digital semiconductor manufacturing to foundries. The European Commission intends to reconvene a high-level group of European CEOs and executives to exchange views on Europe’s 10/100/20 nanoelectronics and chip manufacturing project and make adjustments as necessary for a wave of European Union investment supposedly starting in 2020. The two most advanced wafer fab locations left in Europe in terms of deep sub-micron miniaturization belong to Intel in Leixlip, Ireland and Globalfoundries in Dresden, Germany.

Smaller geometries are to be taken into use and researched in 2017. Several chipmakers ramp up their 10nm finFET processes, with 7nm just around the corner. As TSMC, GF/Samsung Battle at 7nm the net result is in the course of 18 months chip designers will see at least three variants of 7nm — separate immersion variants from TSMC and Globalfoundries and the EUV version from GF/Samsung. Intel has yet to detail its 7nm node.

At the same time R&D has begun for 5nm and beyond, but Uncertainty Grows For 5nm, 3nm as costs are skyrocketing. Both 5nm and 3nm present a multitude of unknowns and challenges. To put this in perspective, there are roughly two silicon atoms in 1nm of line width in a chip. Etching Technology Advances as atomic layer etch (ALE) moves to the forefront of chip-making technology—finally. TSMC recently announced plans to build a new fab in Taiwan at a cost of $15.7 billion targeted for TSMC’s 5nm and 3nm processes, which are due out in 2020 and 2022.

Moore’s Law continues to slow as process complexities and costs escalate at each node. Moore’s Law is dead, just not in the way everyone thinks. SiFive believes open source hardware is the way forward for the semiconductor industry.  Technological advances keep allowing chips to scale, but the economics are another story – particularly for smaller companies that can’t afford chips in the volumes. The solution, according to San Francisco-based startup, SiFive, is open-source hardware, specifically an architecture developed by the company’s founders called RISC-V (pronounced “risk-five”). Done right SiFive, which was awarded Startup of the Year at the 2016 Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards, believes that RISC-V will do for the hardware industry what Linux has done for software. For example 5th RISC-V Workshop Points to Growing Interest in the RISC-V Platform.

Sensors are hot in 2017. These tiny, powerful solutions are creating the interface between the analog and the digital world. Data is everywhere, and sensors are at the very heart of that. While no one really knows what technology’s next “killer application” will be, we are confident that any killer app will rely on sensors.Appliance autonomy promises to make life simpler, but this field has still lots of to improve even after year 2017.

Interface ICs will continue to help simplify high-bandwidth designs while making them more robust and reliable. Application areas that will benefit include automotive, communications, and industrial. Both wired and wireless interface solutions have plenty of applications.

Analog’s status is rising as more sensors and actuators are added into electronic devices, pressure is growing to more seamlessly move data seamlessly back and forth between analog and digital circuitry. IoT pushes up demand for analog content and need for communication between these two worlds will continue to grow. Analog and digital always have fit rather uncomfortably together, and that discomfort has grown as SoCs are built using smaller feature sizes.  The demand for analog silicon has always existed in the embedded space, but the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the demand for connected mixed-signal contentAt 28nm and 16/14nm, standard “analog” IP includes a fair amount of digital content.

It seems that hardware designer is a disappearing resource and software is the king in 2017. It is becoming less and less relevant in what format the device is used in many applications. Card computers are standard products and are found in many different card formats that can be used in very many applications. Embedded development is changing to more and more coding. More software designers that understand some hardware are needed, but it is not easy to leap to move to the hardware to software.

The power electronics market is moving at very fast pace. Besides traditional industrial, renewable, and traction sectors, new applications such as energy-storage systems, micro-grids, and dc chargers are emerging. As the automotive world moves to electric vehicles, this creates challenges for IGBT and SiC-MOSFET ICs, and their associated gate drivers. New packages for high-voltage IGBTs and high-voltage SiC-MOSFETs are introduced.

More custom power distribution  and higher voltages on data center computer systems in 2017. OpenRack and OpenCompute projects are increasing the distribution voltage inside the server itself.  This approach, plus transitioning to new materials such as gallium nitride in the power-conversion systems, can reduce overall power consumption by 20% and increase server densities by 30-40%.”

Power Modules and Reference Designs will be looked at in 2017 even more than earlier in power electronics. The semiconductor and packaging technologies used in power modules have advanced considerably, and the industry is developing modules today that are denser, less expensive, and easier to use. Designers want to rely on power modules to speed up designs and optimize space using smaller, easy-to-use power modules. Module manufacturers hope that  engineers will increasingly choose a module over a discrete design in many applications.

The bi-directional DC/DC converter has been around for a while, but new applications are quickly emerging which necessitate the use of this architecture in so many more systems. Battery back-up systems need bi-directional DC/DC converters. Applications today require better energy efficiency and such systems as green power with solar or wind generation, need storage so that when there is no wind or sun available the electricity flow is not interrupted.

Power supplies need to become more efficient. Both European Union’s (EU) Code of Conduct (CoC) Tier 1 and CoC Tier 2 efficiency standards are to be taken into use. The European Union’s CoC Tier 1 effectively harmonizes the EU with US DoE Level VI and became effective as a voluntary requirement from January 2014, two years ahead of Level VI. Its adoption as an EU Ecodesign rule is currently under review to become law with an implementation date of January 2017. The key difference between the CoC requirements and Level VI is the new 10% load measure, which imposes efficiency requirements under a low-load condition where historically most types of power supplies have been notoriously inefficient. CoC Tier 2 further tightens the no-load and active mode power consumption limits.

During 2016, wireless-power applications started to pick up across many fields in the semiconductor industry, and it will continue to do so. Wireless power will continue to gain traction with increased consumer demand.  Hewlett Packard, Dell, jjPlus, and Witricity have already announced products based on Airfuel standards. And, products based upon the Qi standard will continue to grow at a rapid pace.

 

Other prediction articles:

In Power & Analog 2017 Forecast: What Experts Are Saying article representatives from major players in the semiconductor industry share their predictions for 2017 regarding power modules, wireless power, data converters, wireless sensing, and more.

Looking Ahead to 2017 article tells on to what SIA is focused on working with. “U.S. semiconductor technology should be viewed as a strategic national asset, and the Administration should take a holistic approach in adopting policies to strengthen this vital sector,” the letter says

Hot technologies: Looking ahead to 2017 article collection has EDN and EE Times editors explore some of the hot technologies in 2017 that will shape next year’s technology trends and beyond.

 

1,090 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Semiconductor Sales to Top $400 Billion
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332686&

    A key semiconductor industry market watcher has once again revised its 2017 chip sales forecast upward after the industry posted another all-time record month in October.

    The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization — comprised of a group of more than 55 chip companies that share sales data — said it now expects sales to increase 20.6 percent this year to reach more than $408 billion. This would mark the first time that the industry’s sales topped $400 billion in any one year, just four years after surpassing the $300 billion mark for the first time.

    The WSTS reported that the three-month moving average of chip sales hit a record $37.1 billion in October, up 3 percent from September and up 22 percent compared with October 2016.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Broadcom Starts Hostile Bid for Qualcomm
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1332682&

    Broadcom officially started a hostile bid for Qualcomm in a move that one former Broadcom employee described as part of its style of financial engineering.

    Qualcomm was quick to reject Broadcom’s hostile effort to replace its board of directors, but the chase is clearly on. The next big step will be a March 26 meeting wherein Qualcomm shareholders will get to vote on whether they want the takeover or not, according to a Reuters report.

    Broadcom’s effort is the latest and largest in a string of deals all about growing by acquisition. It’s a bold approach admired by many, sometimes from a distance.

    Broadcom set to unveil challenge to Qualcomm’s board: sources
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-qualcomm-m-a-broadcom/broadcom-set-to-unveil-challenge-to-qualcomms-board-sources-idUSKBN1DY03Y

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Big Challenges, Changes For Debug
    https://semiengineering.com/big-challenges-changes-for-debug/

    Push to 7nm and beyond, as well as safety-critical markets, raises the stakes and hurdles for finding design issues. New approaches may be necessary.

    Debugging a chip always has been difficult, but the problem is getting worse at 7nm and 5nm. The number of corner cases is exploding as complexity rises, and some bugs are not even on anyone’s radar until well after devices are already in use by end customers.

    An estimated 39% of verification engineering time is spent on debugging activities these days. Verification as a whole accounts for roughly 70% to 80% of total NRE.

    “There are more processor cores, more power domains, and hardware deep-learning neural networks,”

    “All this will require a more transactional or programmer’s view of test execution grounded in the context of time to help identify hard-to-find race conditions between concurrent transaction execution,”

    “If you re-use IP, it may have low, mid- or high performance,” said Kurt Shuler, vice president of marketing at ArterisIP. “This gets more difficult as you add more subsystems, or if you change how they are connected. Re-use for a lot of companies is based on the idea that, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ The reason is that if you change the IP significantly, you have to change the software. But as we get into safety and security, the needs of customers are changing, so now they’re going back and changing the internals.”

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Don Clark / New York Times:
    Broadcom proposes replacing Qualcomm’s board, a move viewed as a pressure tactic in the escalating fight over its proposed $105B takeover bid

    Broadcom Proposes Unseating Qualcomm Board as Takeover Fight Escalates
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/technology/broadcom-qualcomm-board.html

    Broadcom on Monday proposed a slate of 11 directors to replace the entire board of Qualcomm, setting the stage for a proxy battle over the fate of its unsolicited $105 billion bid for the world’s largest maker of smartphone chips.

    The proposal was widely seen as a tactic to pressure Qualcomm to negotiate what would be the largest technology deal in history. Last month, Qualcomm said its directors had unanimously rejected the bid that Broadcom had announced in early November, leaving Broadcom with the option to take the issue to shareholders by proposing a board slate who would back it.

    Qualcomm on Monday criticized Broadcom’s latest move, calling it a “blatant attempt” to seize control of the board to advance an acquisition offer Qualcomm said drastically undervalued the company.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    TI Takes Aim at Simple Applications with New 25-Cent MCUs
    Inexpensive MCUs bring intelligence to applications that didn’t have it previously.
    https://www.designnews.com/electronics-test/ti-takes-aim-simple-applications-new-25-cent-mcus/2985076157903?ADTRK=UBM&elq_mid=2289&elq_cid=876648

    Texas Instruments Inc. is setting its sights on analog designers with the introduction of two new microcontrollers (MCUs) and an e-book to help them put an inexpensive mixed-signal twist on simple applications.

    The new microcontrollers start for as little as 25 cents and can be used in simple electronic applications, such as wake-up controllers and real-time clocks, which may not have employed microcontrollers previously.

    Indeed, the MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 microcontrollers feature an accompanying e-book that suggests 25 functions that could be implemented more effectively with a 25-cent MCU.

    http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/flipbooks/valueline/

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    2017 – A Record Year for the Industry
    http://www.semi.org/en/2017-record-year-industry

    PCs have long been a critical demand driver of the semiconductor industry, with smart phones becoming an integral part during the last decade. More recently, the number of new applications for the industrial, automotive, medical, and consumer markets has exploded, fueling unprecedented demand for semiconductors. This strong demand coupled with improved device pricing, especially for memory, will propel the semiconductor market past the US$400 billion mark for the first time this year – a mere four years after it reached the $300 billion milestone. By way of comparison, it took 13 years, starting in 2000, for the semiconductor market to grow from $200 billion to $300 billion.

    In addition to record device revenues for this year, both the equipment and materials markets are also expected to exceed their historical peaks set in 2000 and 2011, respectively.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SEMI Reports Third Quarter 2017 Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Figures; Record Quarterly Billings of $14.3 Billion
    http://www.semi.org/en/semi-reports-third-quarter-2017-worldwide-semiconductor-equipment-figures-record-quarterly-billings

    MILPITAS, Calif. — December 4, 2017 — SEMI, the global industry association representing the electronics manufacturing supply chain, today reported that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings reached US$14.3 billion for the third quarter of 2017.

    Quarterly billings of US$14.3 billion set an all-time record for quarterly billings, exceeding the record level set in the second quarter of this year. Billings for the most recent quarter are 2 percent higher than the second quarter of 2017 and 30 percent higher than the same quarter a year ago. Sequential regional growth was mixed for the most recent quarter with the strongest growth in Europe. Korea maintained the largest market for semiconductor equipment for the year, followed by Taiwan and China. The data are gathered jointly with the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ) from over 95 global equipment companies that provide data on a monthly basis.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Semiconductor Sales to Top $400 Billion
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332686&

    A key semiconductor industry market watcher has once again revised its 2017 chip sales forecast upward after the industry posted another all-time record month in October.

    The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization — comprised of a group of more than 55 chip companies that share sales data — said it now expects sales to increase 20.6 percent this year to reach more than $408 billion. This would mark the first time that the industry’s sales topped $400 billion in any one year, just four years after surpassing the $300 billion mark for the first time.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Optimizing Designs Through System Simulation
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1332693&

    Design optimization through an analytical approach using numerical algorithms helps engineers to develop optimal designs through simulation.

    The recent trend in system design is increasing number of subsystems to achieve several functions with uncompromised quality. The industry calls for optimized designs, be it for efficiency, size, weight, or noise emissions. For example, in the design of a switching power supply, the filter component values are calculated based on the worst case values of voltages and currents. The other variables of the filters are also considered with significant margins. So, the product can be bigger in size, heavier in weight and costlier too. This is just a simple example used to understand the purpose of design optimization.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Long Tail” & Legacy: Good, or Maybe Not
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1332680&

    Many products have a longer viable life than you might expect; are you and the user prepared for that?

    Products with a “long tail” are often cited as good, steady moneymakers. After all, once your product-development and tooling costs are amortized — typically within a year or so — the margins on those products really go up. The idea is that you release the product, it catches on and production ramps up, it gets designed in or sells well (depending on if it is an OEM or retail product), and the revenue comes in nicely.

    Then, after a few years, sales taper off, but some orders still come in. As all costs have been covered and your manufacturing costs are lower due to experience and other factors, there is a steady but dependable stream of revenue at high margins. We’ve even seen ICs that are still offered by their original vendors 10, 20, and more years later (although clearly not recommended for new designs) as well as ICs from sources such as Rochester Electronics, which specializes in making “obsolete” parts fabricated using tooling purchased from the original source.

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Top Products of 2017
    http://www.mwrf.com/test-measurement/top-products-2017?NL=MWRF-001&Issue=MWRF-001_20171207_MWRF-001_224&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=14450&utm_medium=email&elq2=66ea84b79ac3420687262d96600fc323

    Covering everything from 5G communications to military applications, the industry delivered a number of impressive products in 2017.

    In 2017, many companies in the RF/microwave industry introduced new products that propelled them to greater heights. To meet the needs of today’s commercial, military, and industrial markets, companies are setting the bar higher in terms of product performance. Here, Microwaves & RF presents our picks for the top products of2017.

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    TSMC Speeds Opening of China Fab
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332704&

    Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) said it aims to open its second fab in China earlier than originally expected in order to meet strong demand in the world’s fastest growing semiconductor market.

    The company will “pull in” the opening of the fab located in Nanjing, China, to June of next year, according to TSMC Co-CEO Mark Liu, who was the keynote speaker at a company event to commemorate its outstanding ecosystem suppliers.

    Two years ago, TSMC said it aimed to begin 16nm production at the fab in the second half of 2018. The planned capacity of TSMC’s wholly owned facility in China is 20,000 12-inch wafers per month on an investment of about $3 billion.

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cypress HyperBus Set to Get Standards Stamp
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332698&

    A technology developed by Cypress Semiconductor that’s been well-adopted for several years now is set to become a standard. It will likely give the company an advantage in the short term and spur standards-based alternatives in the longer run.

    The company said its high-bandwidth HyperBus 8-bit serial memory interface will be included in the new eXpanded SPI (xSPI) electrical interface standard from the Jedec Solid State Technology Association. The xSPI standard defines requirements for the compatibility of high-performance x8 serial interfaces, including read and write commands, electrical characteristics, signaling protocols for command and data transfers, and a standard pin-out in a Ball Grid Array (BGA) footprint. It hasn’t actually been finalized yet, and a Jedec representative wasn’t available to comment for this article.

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Optimizing Designs Through System Simulation
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1332693&

    Design optimization through an analytical approach using numerical algorithms helps engineers to develop optimal designs through simulation.

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Toshiba, Western Digital Reportedly Close to Settlement
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332709&

    Toshiba and Western Digital are nearing a settlement that end litigation between the firms which continues to be an obstacle to finalizing an $18 billion deal by Toshiba to sell its semiconductor business to a consortium led by private equity firm Bain Capital, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-chips-western-digital/toshiba-western-digital-aiming-to-settle-chip-dispute-next-week-sources-idUSKBN1E20FF

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    As Wide Bandgap Technology Rises, a New JEDEC Committee Kicks Off
    http://www.electronicdesign.com/analog/wide-bandgap-technology-rises-new-jedec-committee-kicks?NL=ED-003&Issue=ED-003_20171208_ED-003_942&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=14486&utm_medium=email&elq2=cfda1ebabe5649feb737482b3e2c3e58

    The Power Electronic Industry has achieved a new milestone with the creation of JEDEC’s newest main committee, the JC-70 Wide Bandgap Power Electronic Conversion Semiconductors.

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Implementing Synchronous Rectification in Non-Isolated DC-DC Converters
    http://www.powerelectronics.com/power-management/implementing-synchronous-rectification-non-isolated-dc-dc-converters?NL=ED-003&Issue=ED-003_20171208_ED-003_942&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=14486&utm_medium=email&elq2=cfda1ebabe5649feb737482b3e2c3e58

    This article discusses the implementation of synchronous rectification in non-isolated DC-DC converters. The article explains the advantages along with some of the extra considerations needed in circuit design to achieve the best performance from the technique.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Active Antialias Filter for 24-bit ADC Features Low Distortion, High SNR
    http://www.electronicdesign.com/analog/active-antialias-filter-24-bit-adc-features-low-distortion-high-snr?NL=ED-003&Issue=ED-003_20171211_ED-003_796&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=14498&utm_medium=email&elq2=0929aa78b72e4ee7a9b8354281d19a2e

    A high-resolution SAR ADC often needs a higher-order antialiasing filter, such as the third-order version provided by this low-noise, low-power design.

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Shortages Hit Packaging Biz
    Unexpected spike in IC demand is spilling over into the packaging supply chain.
    https://semiengineering.com/shortages-hit-packaging-biz/

    Rising demand for chips is hitting the IC packaging supply chain, causing shortages of select manufacturing capacity, various package types, leadframes and even some equipment.

    Spot shortages for some IC packages began showing up earlier this year, but the problem has been growing and spreading since then. Supply imbalances reached a boiling point in the third and fourth quarters of this year, and it now appears that packaging customers may encounter select shortages well into 2018.

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    National Security vs. Job Creation
    Foreign capital investment drives innovation, opens markets and creates jobs
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1332701

    In the U.S., CFIUS is bringing new levels of scrutiny to M&A’s, especially those involving foreign capital. But national security needs to be balanced with the benefits of investment capital coming into the country.

    Much has been said in recent years about jobs shifting overseas in what many economists are calling “the hollowing out of America.” Increasingly, the country’s economy is focused on high-end services—legal, medical, engineering, design and IP—while the market for the blue collar manufacturing jobs that were once a staple of our economy has hollowed, as trade agreements, the internet and offshoring shift them to other regions.

    This evolution of the national economic landscape has caused a reaction from policymakers whose citizens have been affected by the shift. In the U.S., the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is bringing new levels of scrutiny to mergers and acquisitions, especially those involving foreign capital. That scrutiny is heightened for countries like China, which is perceived to have motivations beyond the standard economic drivers.

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fab Tool Sales Forecast to Hit Record $56 Billion
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332716&

    Sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment are now expected to grow by nearly 36 percent in 2017, an increase from an earlier forecast that projected 20 percent growth, according to the SEMI trade association. The group expects sales to grow by another 7.5 percent next year.

    SEMI said it now expects sales for fab tools to reach a record $55.9 billion this year, passing the $50 billion mark for the first time. The earlier forecast, issued in June, had predicted sales of $49.4 billion, which itself would have been a record.

    Sales of wafer processing equipment — the largest category of semiconductor equipment — are expected to grow by 37.5 percent to reach $45 billion, SEMI said. Sales of other front-end equipment, including mask and reticle inspection equipment, is expected to increase by 46 percent to reach $2.6 billion, SEMI said.

    South Korea remains on pace to become the largest geography for fab tool sales for the first time this year

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    With Alkaline Chemistry, Copper Could Be Forever
    Aveni claims its process avoids acidic etching’s problems
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332713

    IBM shook the foundations of next-generation semiconductor-node planning when it asserted last month that copper would remain the interconnect of choice at 5 nanometers and below. Today (Dec. 12), Aveni (Massy, France) sought to drive a nail in the coffin of copper alternatives by demonstrating that replacing acid-based processing chemistries with an alkaline alternative can easily extend copper to the 3-nm node and quite possibly to the end of the road for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology.

    Today’s copper dual-damascene interconnects are accompanied by a tantalum nitride (TaN) copper diffusion barrier and cobalt liner. As copper wires get thinner, acidic copper chemistries can etch through the liner, enabling the copper plating to interact with the underlying TaN film. The resultant formation of tantalum oxides can create random open circuits that reduce production yields. Semiconductor companies therefore have explored replacement options such as solid cobalt, ruthenium, graphene, and even carbon nanotubes.

    Aveni claims its back-end-of-line alkaline electroplating chemistry makes a switch from copper unnecessary because it leaves the cobalt layer untouched.

    The company claims to be working with all of the semiconductor makers prototyping 5-nm chips except Intel, which it hopes to recruit.

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fluke 3550 FC Sensor Recognized as Breakthrough Product of the Year
    https://www.eeweb.com/profile/eeweb/news/fluke-3550-fc-sensor-recognized-as-breakthrough-product-of-the-year

    The Fluke® 3550 FC Thermal Sensor has taken top honors in Processing’s 2017 Breakthrough Product of the Year Awards. The awards recognize product, technology, and service solutions that made significant contributions in the process industries within the last year and that are expected to have impact for years to come.

    This is the first honor for the Fluke 3550 FC Thermal Imaging Sensor, which was launched in August 2017, and the 28th for the underlying Fluke Connect® system — the company’s full-feature reliability platform that permits Fluke tool and sensor users to receive, store, analyze, and report electronic measurement data from more than 40 Fluke Connect wireless test tools and sensors.

    Visually inspect thermal patterns on multiple assets
    The Fluke 3550 FC Thermal Imaging Sensor is the first thermal imaging condition monitoring sensor to visualize thermal patterns on multiple assets. Alarms can be set to notify the user when the center-point temperature exceeds preset parameters. The sensor communicates directly with the Fluke Connect cloud for continuous streaming of thermal images, enabling managers to detect problems by visually inspecting sequential thermal images remotely.

    The compact sensor can be placed in areas that are dangerous or difficult to reach, reducing the risk to technicians. Images and measurements can be viewed on smart devices or computers allowing anytime access to key data to conduct smarter evaluations.

    The sensor can operate in high-performance mode to capture the most accurate images over an 11- to 14-hour period or in energy-saving mode to capture sequential images for up to three days.

    https://connect.fluke.com/en/condition-monitoring?trck=condition-monitoring

    Reply
  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    4 Things You Should Know About Magnets for Electric Vehicles
    The rise in demand for the latter is also affecting demand of the former.
    http://www.electronicdesign.com/analog/4-things-you-should-know-about-magnets-electric-vehicles?NL=ED-004&Issue=ED-004_20171221_ED-004_61&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=14505&utm_medium=email&elq2=d54a4545642f45e09545597f845b8170

    There are four main types of magnets: ceramic (ferrite), AlNiCo, Samarium Cobalt (SmCo), and Neodymium (NdFeB). The latter is one of the most commonly used in motors for hybrids vehicles and EVs. Neodymium magnets have higher remanence, along with much higher coercivity and energy production, but often lower Curie temperature than other types.

    Special neodymium magnet alloys that include terbium and dysprosium have been developed with higher Curie temperature, allowing them to tolerate higher temperatures of up to 200°C.

    Reply
  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    UBM Announces the 2017 Annual Creativity in Electronics Awards Winners
    https://www.designnews.com/content/ubm-announces-2017-annual-creativity-electronics-awards-winners/158815492857924?ADTRK=UBM&elq_mid=2341&elq_cid=876648

    Twenty leading organizations and individuals received accolades last night during a live ceremony held in conjunction with the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) and BIOMEDevice.

    Reply
  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Benefits of Model-Based Engineering in Product Development – From PCB to Systems
    https://www.mentor.com/pcb/resources/overview/the-benefits-of-model-based-engineering-in-product-development-from-pcb-to-systems-da925e97-98ec-4c1f-a07e-a4536b53eaef?clp=1&contactid=1&PC=L&c=2017_12_12_bsd_xpedition_wp_ams_v1

    Simulation models are often used to help develop today’s system designs. Unfortunately, the typical system model is seldom fully leveraged throughout the development process.

    Reply
  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MAX22500E
    100Mbps Half-Duplex RS-485/RS-422 Transceivers for Long Cables
    https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/products/interface/transceivers/MAX22500E.html?utm_source=UBM_DScom&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=MAX22500E&utm_campaign=FY18_Q2_2017_DEC_INH-FactAuto_AMER_Ind-Fact-Auto_EN

    Industry’s fastest RS-485 transceivers with pre-emphasis improve robust communications with longer cables

    The MAX22500E/MAX22501E half-duplex ESD-protected RS-485/RS-422 transceivers are optimized for high-speed (up to 100Mbps) communication over long cables. These transceivers feature integrated hot-swap protectionand a fail-safe receiver, ensuring a logic-high on the receiver output when input signals are shorted or open for longer than 10μs (typ).

    The MAX22500E features integrated reemphasis circuitry that extends the distance and increases the data rate of reliable communication by reducing inter-symbol interference(ISI) caused by long cables. The MAX22500E features a flexible logic interface down to 1.6V.

    The MAX22501E operates without preemphasis and is powered from a 3V to 5.5V supply.

    Applications/Uses

    Backplane Busses
    Encoder Interfaces
    Field Bus Networks
    Industrial Control Systems
    Motion Control

    Reply
  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3D NAND Storage Fuels New Age of Smartphone Apps
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1332721&

    3D NAND will do the heavy memory lifting that smartphone users demand, explains the manager for mobile efforts at Western Digital.

    Smartphone users around the globe constantly seek better mobile experiences. Not only are they downloading more applications than ever before, but are using more sophisticated applications that enable greater advancements in photography, 4K Ultra video playback and recording, movie streaming, navigation, image capturing, and virtual reality (VR) / augmented reality (AR), to name a few.

    In specific regions around the world, the smartphone is the only connected device, thus, users have much higher attachment to them and are accustomed to having them completely run and manage their everyday lives. In China, with the largest smartphone user base in the world, users typically use advanced online payment services (such as Allpay and Tenpay) to pay bills and manage finances, personal communications services (such as WeChat) to conduct voice, visual, text and broadcast correspondences, and even subscriber taxi services (such as Didi Chuxing) that supports over four hundred million subscribers in more than four hundred cities.

    Reply
  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Three new trade secret complaints show China is still very much in the semiconductor industry’s crosshairs
    http://www.iam-media.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=867c6500-9020-4c45-a3a7-6027a15b75dc

    Micron, Applied Materials and Taiwanese chipmaker Nanya are among the plaintiffs alleging trade secret misappropriation in new suits filed over the last week in the US and Taiwan. All complaints allege China to be the ultimate destination for stolen information related to various semiconductor technologies. The cases suggest that it is not just the US where we can expect to see an increase in this type of IP enforcement.

    Reply
  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    $55.9 Billion Semiconductor Equipment Forecast – New Record with Korea at Top
    http://www.semi.org/en/559-billion-semiconductor-equipment-forecast-new-record-korea-top

    TOKYO — December 12, 2017 — Today, SEMI, the global industry association representing the electronics manufacturing supply chain, released its Year-end Forecast at the annual SEMICON Japan exposition. SEMI projects that worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment will increase 35.6 percent to US$55.9 billion in 2017, marking the first time that the semiconductor equipment market has exceeded the previous market high of US$47.7 billion set in 2000. In 2018, 7.5 percent growth is expected to result in sales of US$60.1 billion for the global semiconductor equipment market – another record-breaking year.

    Reply
  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Advanced Packaging Is Suddenly Very Cool
    https://semiengineering.com/advanced-packaging-is-suddenly-cool/
    In spite of the initial reasons for this technology, it is now viewed as the best way to handle large amounts of data at blazing speeds.

    Reply
  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EDA Challenges Machine Learning
    https://semiengineering.com/eda-challenges-machine-learning/

    Over the past few years, machine learning (ML) has evolved from an interesting new approach that allows computers to beat champions at chess and Go, into one that is touted as a panacea for almost everything. While there is clearly a lot of hype surrounding this, it appears that machine learning can produce a better outcome for many tasks in the EDA flow than even the most seasoned architects and designers can generate.

    EDA companies have been investing in this technology and some results are being announced.

    Many tasks in EDA could be perfect targets for machine learning, except for the lack of training data. What might change to fix that?

    Reply
  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pushing DRAM’s Limits
    https://semiengineering.com/pushing-drams-limits/

    Plumbing problems of the past continue to haunt chipmakers as gap grows between processor and memory speed.

    If humans ever do create a genuinely self-aware artificial intelligence, it may well exhibit the frustration of waiting for data arrive.

    The access bandwidth of DRAM-based computer memory has improved by a factor of 20x over the past two decades. Capacity increased 128x during the same period. But latency improved only 1.3x, according to Kevin Chang, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, who proposed a new data pathway to address the problem.

    Modern computers, especially data-center servers that skew heavily toward in-memory databases, data-intensive analytics, and increasingly toward machine-learning and deep-neural-network training functions, depend on large amounts of high-speed, high capacity memory to keep the wheels turning. Despite years of effort by researchers looking for better, faster alternatives, DRAM remains a near-universal choice when performance is the priority.

    That helps explain the surge in DRAM sales this year, despite limited supply that helped drive average selling prices up 74% this year, according to IC Insights. Skyrocketing prices drove the DRAM market to generate a record $72 billion in revenue, and it drove total revenue for the IC market up 22%.

    Reply
  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Accounting For Power Earlier
    https://semiengineering.com/accounting-for-power-earlier/

    Examining the power impact of design decisions much earlier can have a big effect on what else a chip can do.

    Leading semiconductor providers have made the necessary changes in tooling and methodology to account for power awareness because they have to, but the rest of the industry hasn’t necessarily caught up.

    Reply
  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tech Talk: EM Crosstalk
    https://semiengineering.com/tech-talk-em-crosstalk/

    An issue previously confined to analog circuits has become a critical design consideration for digital designs at 10/7nm.

    Reply
  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Capacitance-to-digital converter resolves attofarads
    https://www.edn.com/electronics-products/other/4459156/Capacitance-to-digital-converter-resolves-attofarads

    With a sampling rate of 50 kHz, the PCap04 capacitive sensing front-end IC from ams achieves a measurement resolution of 8 aF. Designers can configure the device for high resolution, high speed, or ultralow power. When optimized for speed, the PCap04 captures and digitizes up to 50,000 sensor measurements per second. In low-power mode, the PCap04 draws just 4.0 µA.

    Outfitted with six capacitance measurement channels, the part can be used for applications that measure pressure, force, position, tilt, humidity, weight, level, and other parameters. Input capacitance values range from as little as 1 pF to as much as 100 nF

    The PCap04’s output is supplied as a PWM or PDM representation of the raw measured capacitance value, while the integrated DSP processes the measurement data and converts it into digital values transmitted via an I2C or SPI interface. The DSP runs ams’ open-source code, as well as user-generated code.

    PCap04 Capacitance-to-Digital Converter
    Low-power CDC with 32-bit DSP and guarding
    http://ams.com/eng/Products/Sensor-Interfaces/PICOCAP-R-Capacitive-Sensing/PCap04

    Reply
  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Leti Tweaks SRAM to Improve SoC Memory
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332734

    A recent breakthrough by Leti has demonstrated improvements to system-on-chip (SoC) memories, including SRAM.

    The research institute CEA Tech outlined the results of its research at IEDM 2017 in early December and reported in a paper titled “Advanced Memory Solutions for Emerging Circuits and Systems.” The research includes reconfiguring SRAM into content-addressable memory (CAM), improving non-volatile crossbar memories and using advanced tunnel field-effect transistors (TFET).

    The Leti researchers also presented a high-density SRAM bitcell on its CoolCube 3D platform, which reduces the area required for memory by 30 percent, while maintaining full device functionality.

    Reply
  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microbial Fuel Cell Fabbed on Flex Fabric
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1332733

    There are already light-emitting fabrics, thermoelectric energy-harvesting fabrics, and zinc-silver-oxide rechargeable battery fabrics. Now add microbial-fuel-cell fabrics to the list of lab-demonstrated technologies for wearable devices.

    In an Advanced Energy Materials paper, Binghamton University (State University of New York) researchers Sumiao Pang, Yang Gao, and Seokheun Choi describe the construction of a fuel-cell fabric based on the monolithic integration of bacteria into a single-layer, flexible, stretchable substrate. The microbial fuel cell (MFC) uses the pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria as an enzyme catalyst to boost the membrane-free fuel cell’s output to 6.4 microwatts per square centimeter. With a current density of 52 microamps/square centimeter, the material reportedly provides higher output than other experimental fabrics and rivals the output of paper-substrate microbial fuel cells on which Choi previously reported.

    Reply
  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chinese Memory Companies Face Legal Hurdles
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=40&doc_id=1332737

    Before Chinese memory upstarts like Tsinghua Unigroup face off with Samsung, Hynix and Micron in the marketplace, they will likely be battling them in court.

    Reply

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