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IC Compiler Reinvented

What if you could just… toss it all and start over? (OK, maybe all except the router?)

If you’re Synopsys, you now know: you’d end up with IC Compiler II.

They’ve had a good ride with IC Compiler, and they continue to ride that. But things have changed a lot since it appeared on the scene. Requirements and expectations have mushroomed, and they’ve done a lot of new research and acquired a lot of technology (apparently their Magma acquisition fed into this). And so they’ … Read More → "IC Compiler Reinvented"

On the Scene: EELive 2014 Wrap Up

We stormed the gates. We took no prisoners. But, we did take home a lot of pens. Most importantly, we learned some stuff. Welcome to my new video blog called “On the Scene.” You can expect some jokes. You can expect some insight about this year’s Embedded Systems Conference (or whatever they’re calling it this week). And you can expect to see my smiling face. Think of it like a funny tech snack – if you will.

Read More → "On the Scene: EELive 2014 Wrap Up"

Moving Back to Software

We’ve seen it before: the debate between hardware and software for implementing electronic functions. An oft-cited approach is to keep as much as possible in software for flexibility. But things tend to go hardware under two circumstances: when raw speed is needed and when a function becomes so common and stable that no changes are expected.

Especially in that latter case, the normal trajectory is that you have a software solution for a long time and, as things mature, at some point you can reduce it to hardware. It may go to FPGA if speed … Read More → "Moving Back to Software"

Metal Oxide Resists Lower Roughness

One of the huge challenges of advanced-node patterning is roughness. There are actually two flavors of this: line-edge roughness (LER) and line-width roughness (LWR). Almost the same, but not quite.

The first is visible by looking at one edge of a line, and it’s hard to use any other word besides “rough” to describe what this means. It’s not long meanders in the line (which you might not expect from a mask, but might get with something like directed self-assembly (DSA</ … Read More → "Metal Oxide Resists Lower Roughness"

A Jump in EUV Resist Sensitivity

There was an interesting presentation that happened towards the end of SPIE Litho – it seemed to catch the audience off guard, and I frankly went away with the sense that there was some confusion in the room.

The presentation discussed an experiment that was done at Osaka University as part of the overall effort to optimize EUV exposure. It all relates to this seemingly inviolate triumvirate of “RLS”: resolution, LWR (line-width roughness), and sensitivity. Improvements within these three have to come at the expense of something within these three – they form a zero-sum … Read More → "A Jump in EUV Resist Sensitivity"

More MEMS Microphone Options

Everything’s going HD these days, and audio is no exception. That means that everything in the audio chain, from microphone to speaker, has to step up its game.

Akustica announced their first HD microphone in late 2012; they recently announced some new additions to the family.

And once again, packaging demonstrates that it refuses to be taken for granted with microphones. This is illustrated in two different aspects of the new Akustica offerings.

First is the notion of where the port goes. Port location makes a difference in the acoustics, but it … Read More → "More MEMS Microphone Options"

EUV Blasts through 100 W

The EUV barrier has been broken.

And I found out right on the heels of yesterday’s EUV update – but too late to get it into that piece. Remember the issue with the misalignment of the laser? That happened when bringing the system back up from a power upgrade. Well, there’s more to it than most of us realized.

While the power upgrade was officially for 30 W publicly, they had had a breakthrough and were privately hoping for … Read More → "EUV Blasts through 100 W"

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