Coupling & Crosstalk: Moore Has Left the Building!

June 21, 2016

Dollars-Electronics canstockphoto8813445 Geleol 300x330Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Summer 2016 edition on pages 12-13.

Electronic coupling is the transfer of energy from one circuit or medium to another. Sometimes it is intentional and sometimes not (crosstalk). I hope that this column, by mixing technology and general observations, is thought provoking and “couples” with your thinking. Most of the time I will stick to technology but occasional crosstalk diversions may deliver a message closer to home.

Moore has Left the Building!

Unlike Elvis, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, is still with us. Although the debate continues among very smart people as to whether Moore’s Law is “truly dead”, this argument is now purely academic. As the electronics industry has moved to the “Post Personal Computer (PC) Era”, Moore’s Law which accurately predicted price over time for complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuits, is no longer relevant.

Heresy! Did he just say that Moore’s Law doesn’t matter? Read the rest of this entry »


SEMI ISS 2014 – Scaling Innovation

February 4, 2014
Courtesy of Ivo Bolsens (Xilinx), SEMI ISS 2014

Courtesy of Ivo Bolsens (Xilinx), SEMI ISS 2014

Don’t pop the champagne just yet! Although plenty of good news was shared at the 2014 SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) there was the sobering outlook of possible limited long-term growth due to technology issues as well as economic projections. Noticeable was the lack of news and updates on key industry developments.

This is the yearly “data rich” or “data overload” (take your pick) conference of semiconductor supply chain executives. The majority of the attendees and presenters are from the SEMI member companies that develop the equipment, materials, processes, and technology used to build, test, and package semiconductors. Keeping the pressure on for advanced technology were the “end customer” attendees and presenters – semi-conductor manufacturers.

The official theme was “Pervasive Computing – An Enabler for Future Growth” and the presentations made it clear  Read the rest of this entry »


Chip Scale Review: The Three Most Important Words for 3D ICs?

December 19, 2013
Source: Bryan Black (AMD)

Source: Bryan Black (AMD)

Below is my event summary recently published in Chip Scale Review Tech Monthly:

Cost! Cost! Cost! are the three most important words for 3D semiconductors.

Just like the real estate mantra “location, location, location”, if you don’t have a solution to the cost issues nothing else matters for 2.5/3D integrated circuit (IC) integration and packaging. It is true that, Xilinx is shipping “production” quantities of 2.5D parts and others have sampled 3D parts. However, there are plenty of technical challenges yet to be solved to make 2.5/3D practical in volume production at reasonable cost and yield.

Every presenter at the 3D Architectures for Semiconductor Integration and Packaging symposium and conference stressed cost as a major concern, requirement, or feature. Over the ten years the discussion at this conference, organized by RTI International Technology Venture Forum, has moved from Read the rest of this entry »


Riding Off Into the Sunset – BiTS 2013

March 14, 2013
Sunset over Phoenix, Arizona during BiTS Workshop

Sunset over Phoenix, Arizona during BiTS Workshop

As the Burn-in & Test Strategies (BiTS) Workshop 2013 fades into the sunset (queue the music), here is a round-up of the highlights. There were gun fights in the corral as well as technical questions for the presenters. The saloon girls and gunfighters took an edge off of the “geek” factor. This year over three hundred fifty people come to the “Circle BiTS Ranch” (aka the Hilton in Mesa, Arizona) for the premier conference focused on what is new and next for semiconductor test tooling and strategy. Oh, did I mention that the theme this year was Western?

This was the 14th annual BiTS Workshop, which has achieved the perfect conference trifecta of Read the rest of this entry »


SEMI ISS: Sense of Scale

January 22, 2013
Intel shows first fully patterned 450 mm semiconductor wafer at SEMI ISS 2013

Intel shows first fully patterned 450 mm semiconductor wafer at SEMI ISS 2013

Attending the SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) is like drinking from a fire hose with the additional risk of whiplash. Don’t get me wrong, it is an exquisite fire hose but sometimes the data presented can be overwhelming at this conference of semiconductor supply chain executives. The majority of the attendees and presenters are executives from the SEMI member companies that develop the equipment, materials, processes, and technology used to build, test, and package semiconductors. And the executives present from the semiconductor manufacturers are typically the “end customers”.

The greatest value of SEMI ISS, beyond the networking, is the strategic overview of the entire semiconductor ecosystem. What are the market drivers, the technology needed, and the roadmap status of this industry? It is true that we all know where we need to head courtesy of Moore’s Law and the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors which attempts to keep us on that trajectory. The pressure of consumers needing wanting greater functionality at lower costs is relentless. Much of the technological detail of this ecosystem is addressed in a myriad of other forums throughout the year. ISS ties these technical requirements, development needs, and business needs back to the strategic direction and desires of the global marketplace.

The whiplash comes from  Read the rest of this entry »


IEEE Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop 2012 – Session 4 (Monday)

June 28, 2012

Click image to download presentation

Here are the highlights from Session Four “New Contactor Technologies and RF PCB Design” of the 22nd annual IEEE 
Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop (SWTW) from Monday June 11, 2012.

A last minute change to balance the schedule moved my paperThe Road to 450 mm Semiconductor Wafers” from the previous session:

Many believe that Gordon Moore in his famous 1965 paper “The Experts Look Ahead: Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits” that has become know as Moore’s Law, said that the number of transistors on a device would double every year (later revised to every two years). He did not say quite that. What he said was  Read the rest of this entry »


IEEE Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop 2012 – Opening Session & Keynote (Sunday)

June 19, 2012

Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop SWTW banner

This year’s IEEE Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop started on Sunday June 10th with a pleasant surprise. Due to a welcomed but unexpected wave of seventy walk-in registrations, there was insufficient seating at the opening dinner. Thankfully the hotel staff quickly adjusted to accommodate these additional guests. Attendance and interest in this year’s workshop was clearly up.

Jerry Broz, general conference chair, welcomed everyone with a brief overview and presented prizes for the first annual golf tournament. We then quickly proceeded with business as Matt Nowak (Senior Director, Advanced Technology, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies) provided the keynote “Emerging High Density 3D Through Silicon Stacking (TSS) – What’s Next?” Mr. Nowak discussed the increased amount of hype within the 3D semiconductor packaging market in the last year with everyone announcing something. And Thru Silicon Vias (TSVs) technology has already been in high volume production for image sensors for several years now but at a significantly lower density than for 3D packaging.

Why the great interest recently in 3D packaging using TSVs today? Three simple reasons:  Read the rest of this entry »