Coventor Blog

Future Directions in MEMS Technology: Results from the 2018 MEMS Design Contest

By:  Coventor Marketing

At CDNLive in 2015, we joined with representatives from Cadence and X-FAB to discuss the possibility of sponsoring a MEMS design contest. At the time, the sponsoring companies were developing an integrated MEMS & mixed signal design flow using MEMS PDKs.  PDKs (process design kits) are in common use in CMOS design, but not so much in MEMS design. The idea behind the contest was to motivate design teams to start developing chips with MEMS and mixed-signal blocks, using our newly-integrated design tools and PDKs. read more…

When Will Self-Driving Cars Become a Reality?

By Stephen Breit, Sr. Director MEMS Business

Self-driving cars have been all the rage in both the trade press and popular press in recent years. I prefer the term “autonomous vehicles” which more broadly captures the possibilities, encompassing not only small passenger vehicles, but mass transit and industrial vehicles as well. Depending on who’s talking, we’ll all be riding in fully autonomous vehicles in 5 to 25 years. The 5-year estimates come from startups eager to raise venture capital while the 25-year estimates come from Tier 1 automotive suppliers who tend to be more cautious for various reasons. Regardless of the time frame, much capital and effort is being invested toward making autonomous vehicles a reality. read more…

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Transistor-Level Performance Evaluation Based on Wafer-Level Process Modeling

By: Michael Hargrove, SP&I Engineer

Three years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Linking Virtual Wafer Fabrication Modeling with Device-level TCAD Simulation” in which I described the seamless connection between the SEMulator3D® virtual wafer fabrication software platform and external 3rd party TCAD software. I’m now happy to report that device-level I-V performance analysis is now a built-in module within the SEMulator3D software platform.  Users are no longer required to export a mesh and import it into a TCAD platform, when performing transistor I-V simulation.  Now, once the 3D device structure is built in SEMulator3D, transistor I-V simulation can be performed directly within SEMulator3D without need for 3rd party solvers.  Contacts and bias can be applied using the SEMulator3D device design, and I-V transistor characteristics can be determined for specific steps in the process flow.  You can perform direct transistor-level performance evaluation inside the SEMulator3D software platform, without needing to export or import meshes. read more…

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Advanced 3D Design Technology Co-Optimization for Manufacturability

By: Yu De Chen, Jacky Huang, Dalong Zhao, Jiangjiang (Jimmy) Gu, Joseph Ervin

Yield and cost have always been critical factors for both manufacturers and designers of semiconductor products. It is a continuous challenge to meet targets of both yield and cost, due to new device structures and the increasing complexity of process innovations introduced to achieve improved product performance at each technology node. Design for manufacturability (DFM) and design technology co-optimization (DTCO) are widely used to ensure successful delivery of both new processes and products in semiconductor manufacturing. In this paper, we develop a new 3D DTCO model which combines 3D structure optimization and electrical analysis. We discuss how this 3D DTCO model can be used to improve product yield and accelerate product delivery timelines in semiconductor manufacturing. read more…

The Challenge of Modeling the Interaction between MEMS Inertial Sensors and their Packaging

By: Arnaud Parent

Simulation of Thermal Effects on MEMS Performances

MEMS inertial sensors, such as Accelerometers and Gyroscopes, have been commercially successful in the consumer marketplace, where reduced size and cost are more important than accuracy. These sensors are classified as commercial grade products, even though they are typically used in consumer applications. Today, MEMS inertial sensors are knocking on the door of tactical grade applications, where the requirements for accuracy are much more demanding. MEMS products may one day enter the navigation grade application space, where accuracy demands are even more stringent. To meet the enhanced accuracy and performance requirements of tactical and navigation grade inertial sensors, MEMS designers must not only consider the transducer itself but the interaction of the product with its surrounding environment (starting with the packaging). At Coventor, we have a new simulation platform that can be used to create a compact model of MEMS transducers along with their packaging, providing a method to efficiently study the overall behavior of MEMS inertial sensors. read more…

Improving Patterning Yield at the 5 nm Semiconductor Node

By:  Benjamin Vincent, Ph.D., Staff Engineer, Semiconductor Process & Integration

Engineering decisions are always data-driven.  As scientists, we only believe in facts and not in intuition or feelings.

At the manufacturing stage, the semiconductor industry is eager to provide data and facts to engineers based upon metrics such as the quantity of wafers produced per hour and sites/devices tested on each of those wafers. The massive quantity of data generated in semiconductor manufacturing can provide facts that engineers can use to make immediate and accurate decisions, such as how they might correct any excursion or yield drift. Data exists, so life is (kind of…) easy! read more…

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How To Build A Better MEMS Microphone

By: Chris Welham, Senior Manager, MEMS Applications Engineering

A Section of a MEMS Microphone Model

Overview

Here at Coventor, we are seeing a lot of interest in simulating noise, particularly for condenser microphones. With any transducer noise reduction is always a plus, and with microphones there are two specific applications that need low noise. One is where the microphone is positioned away from the sound source, such as in video calling or when using voice commands with tablet computers. The other is where multiple microphones are positioned in an array, to detect the direction of incoming sound or for noise canceling applications. read more…

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Comparing MEMS and the RMS Titanic: Some Thoughts from the IEEE MEMS 2018 Conference

By: Chris Welham, Sr. Manager, MEMS Applications Engineering

Conference dinner view of the life-size outlines of the Titanic and Olympic main deck’s, illuminated by blue light

How are MEMS and Large Ships Alike?

MEMS 2018 was held in Belfast, Northern Ireland this year, on the site where the RMS Titanic was built. On exhibit was the SS Nomadic, a tender used to transfer mail and passengers to the RMS Titanic and her sister ship RMS Olympic. Passing by the SS Nomadic on the way to the conference dinner, I noticed the riveted plates from which the tender was built. These riveted plates reminded me of the finite element plate models used in the MEMS+ module of CoventorMP, which can also be joined to other elements using “connectors” or “nodes” rather than rivets. read more…