28 Jun '12, 9pm

The Threat of Semiconductor Variability: As transistors shrink, the problem of chip variability grows

The Threat of Semiconductor Variability: As transistors shrink, the problem of chip variability grows

Image: Gold Standard Simulations TOUGH TERRAIN: Atom-level variations in devices can no longer be ignored. Click on image to enlarge. Today’s chips are marvels of mass production. Tens of thousands of silicon wafers can move through a single fab in a month, each one carted from tool to tool, blasted by heat, bombarded by ions, immersed in vapor, coated with chemicals, hit with radiation, and exposed to acid. It can take months and hundreds of steps to transform a plain piece of silicon into an array of chips. But at the end of this elaborate assembly line, chip­makers finally get a pile of identical devices that perform just as their designers intended. At least that’s how it used to be. Then, about 10 years ago, chip­makers began to notice a problem: Even state-of-the-art manufacturing processes couldn’t produce chips with ­consistent properties. Nowadays two transistors,...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/design/the-threat...

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Semiconductor Sales Up in May

appliancemagazine.com 07 Jul '12, 1pm

Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $24.4 billion in May 2012, a 1.4% increase over May's $24.1 billion, according t...