4 entries, filtered by: Contributed article
Published: April 2010

The exponential growth of opto-electronic applications such as digital cameras and mobile phones during the past few years has followed the same Moore’s Law scenario as memories and digital gates did in the past. These low-cost, high-volume applications require highly specialized fabs and processes to achieve the lower node size that allows for higher pixel count and higher resolution. Moore’s Law works very well for these high-volume applications. However, it falls short for several other applications that require the integration of various opto-sensitive components. These applications might have varying technical requirements for sensitivity, supported wavelength, noise and bandwidth; and commercial volume requirements spanning from low to high. In addition, many Silicon on Chip (SoC) solutions also require multiple analog functions, including opto-electronic sensors. Highly specialized fabs that follow Moore’s Law simply lack the flexibility to support all of these different requirements.


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Published: November 2009

Long-term functionality of integrated circuits (ICs) is based on the reliable operation of each component. Semiconductor device reliability within an IC is dependent on the specific stress mission profile of the ICs' intended application and its operating conditions. Shrinking primitive device dimensions and extended operating conditions compound the environmental challenges that designers face in trying to predict chip reliability.


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Published: March 2009

The analog foundry business is not just a fad. Many logic foundries are seriously trying to move into this space. However, their transformation requires a change from being contract manufacturers that provide capacity and compete on the cost side to becoming a true provider of feature-rich process technologies with modular front and back ends and comprehensive process characterization. Also, they must offer a complete analog design ecosystem including libraries, analog IP and lots of design support – complicated by the absence of standards. Such capabilities would enable customers to reuse their analog IP across different applications and various technology platforms. This article explores barriers to such a transformation near-term.


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Published: February 2009

This opinion piece analyzes the dire dilemma many IDMs face today, explains typical symptoms and reactions, and shows possible strategies out of a death spiral. It highlights why consolidation is inevitable for many players, and how pro-active consolidation can increase the number of options available and help IDMs avoid falling into the “too little too late” trap. Specifically, it covers: Current economic conditions and consequences for IDMs; Implications of competitive and financial pressure faced by IDMs; Consolidation and other strategic options, and their implementation; Risks of waiting too long; Potential role of foundries in consolidation and moving forward.


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