Organizers of the 53rd Design Automation Conference (DAC) hosted an art show to highlight the creativity and artistry that goes into much of the work in the electronics industry. Coventor was honored with the grand prize for our 3D sculpture, which modeled 14nm FinFET Technology.
Here’s the background on how we came to make this piece. Of course we used SEMulator3D to generate the data. Normally this is rendered on a computer screen but for this we used a state-of-the-art 3D printer from Stratasys. We’ve printed 3D models in the past, but we knew we’d need to go significantly beyond our prior experience to make a bold statement. We were assisted in this effort by our friends at GrabCad, a digital manufacturing hub that helps designers and engineers build great products faster.
With SEMulator3D we created a large model of 14nm FinFET transistors, across a wide area of SRAM design, at high resolution, integrated from starting wafer through Metal 3, with some artistic cut-outs for visibility. The resulting model was beautiful and reinforced all the key advanced capabilities of SEMulator3D, including MultiEtch, Visibility-Limited Deposition, Selective Epitaxy and many others.
Once the model was created we then exported it using the new standard voxel-data import-export format. We worked with a team from GrabCad to print the piece in full color. They were able to parse our model input into their printing format. The tricky part was that their ink-jet resolution is nearly 10x the resolution of the model data in the size we wanted to print, so with only three colors in the printer, we had to dither the ink to get the 27 colors needed for the final output.
Once printed – the piece was packaged and shipped to Austin where it was on display for three days at DAC. The sculpture generated a great deal of buzz and excitement, which culminated at the awards ceremony on Wednesday. All the pieces in the Art Show were judged in several categories such as: best visualization, best silicon photo, most inspiring, most insightful and most artistic. Coventor won the GRAND PRIZE, which went to the piece that stood out in all categories. As the winner, our 14nm FinFET 3D Sculpture will now be moved to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA where it will be on display for one year.
Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in the creation of this piece and to the organizers of DAC for hosting the Art Show, with particular thanks to our colleagues at GrabCad. We’re happy to have been part of this and honored to now be part of the Computer History Museum.