Press Coverage

The Sensor Swarm Arrives

By Tom Kevan, Desktop Engineering

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It all started with smartphones and airbags. Design engineers began to integrate sensors in growing numbers into such systems to enable smarter performance. These applications mark the prelude to what Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, describes as a “sensory swarm” — a flood of heterogeneous sensors interfacing the cyber and physical worlds. By 2025, experts predict that the swarm could number as many as 7 trillion devices.

One of the first stages in the realization of this sensor-dominated world, the Internet of Things (IoT) requires technologies that can take on smaller form factors and operate on miserly power budgets. In their search to find sensing devices that can meet these requirements, designers have turned to micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMS. Before they can take full advantage of the miniaturization the technology offers and expand its role in the marketplace, engineers must be able to bridge the gaps between the MEMS, analog and digital design worlds. To do this, they will require a new set of tools.

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What’s the Next-Gen Litho Tech? Maybe All of Them

semimd_logoBy Jeff Dorsch

The annual SPIE Advanced Lithography symposium in San Jose, Calif., hasn’t offered a clear winner in the next-generation lithography race. It’s becoming clearer, however, that 193i immersion and extreme-ultraviolet lithography will co-exist in the future, while directed self-assembly, nanoimprint lithography, and maybe even electron-beam direct-write technology will fit into the picture, too.

At the same time, plasma deposition and etching processes are assuming a greater interdependence with 193i, especially when it comes to multiple patterning, such as self-aligned double patterning, self-aligned quadruple patterning, and self-aligned octuple patterning (yes, there is such a thing!).

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Directed self assembly may offer similar benefits to EUV, process modeling study says

By Luke Collins, Tech Design Forum

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Directed self assembly (DSA) techniques may offer similar advantages in terms of process variation control as EUV lithography, according to a study carried out using 3D behavioral process modeling techniques.

This could reduce fab cycle times, ease process integration and save costs in advanced semiconductor processes, especially for DRAMs, whose regular structures are well-suited to the use of DSA.

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Coventor ASML IMEC: The last half nanometer

By Scotten Jones, SemiWiki
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On Tuesday evening December 8th at IEDM, Coventor held a panel discussion entitled the “The Last Half Nanometer”. Coventor is a leading provider of simulation software used to design processes. This is my third year attending the Coventor panel discussion at IEDM and they are always excellent with very strong panels and discussion. The panel was made up of David Fried CTO of Coventor, Alek Chen from ASML, Aaron Theon of IMEC, and Subramanian Iyer from UCLA. Subramanian acted as both a panelist and the moderator.

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Asymmetric variability issues could impact 7nm processes

By Luke Collins, Tech Design Forum

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New variability issues highlighted by a massive process simulation exercise could make it more difficult than expected to achieve the performance advantages of emerging 7nm and 5nm processes.

Nano-electronics research centre imec has worked with Coventor to simulate the process variability of its 7nm BEOL fabrication processes using Coventor’s SEMulator3D virtual fabrication platform. The simulation of a full process window, looking at how multiple parameters of multiple processes interact, would have taken one million wafers to complete using conventional methods.

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ARM and Cadence on Miniaturizing Sensing and Power for IoT Design

By Christine Young
Designing connected devices comes with the added challenges of small form factor and long battery life requirements. SoCs integrating the processor, radio, and sensors provide an answer, as does MEMS technology, which miniaturizes sensing and energy harvesting. But since both are fabricated on separate processes and die, this presents a multi-die SiP integration challenge.

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Meeting the IoT’s Appetite for Customized Sensors and Integration: Q&A with Coventor

By Anne Fisher, Managing Editor

Why the MEMS sensors market today consists largely of packaged components and what that means for designers in the smartphone/tablet, automotive, medical and other sectors.

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An Opening for MEMS PDKs

by Bryon Moyer

October 22, 2015 at 1:43 PM

Coventor recently announced the latest release of MEMS+, their MEMS EDA/CAD tool, and the timing was tough because it came just after I had an article involving process design kits (PDKs). And amongst the things that the latest MEMS+ release brings is movement towards MEMS PDKs (MPDKs).

MEMS devices are, of course, notorious for evading any attempts to rope in process and design options through standardization of any kind. Efforts continue, but it remains a challenge.

This means that any MEMS design involves a collaboration between a particular fab (captive or foundry) and the design folks to come up with a physical design that meets the requirements for a particular new sensor or actuator. And what’s done for some new design may have nothing to do with what has been done in the past. Materials may change, dimensions and shapes may change, and circuits and packages may change. Everything’s negotiable.

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