Category Archive Editor’s Blog

2011 & SOI: Doing It.

What will 2011 bring in the world of SOI? The hot topic will no doubt be FD-SOI – the planar, fully-depleted SOI solution that’s the top contender for mobile, low power and SoC apps at the 22nm node. You’ll be learning about how it will maximize performance, manufacturability and reduce overall cost. The pieces are all in place – the wafers, transistor designs and models are ready to roll – and from a design perspective, it’s pretty much transparent.

On the more immediate front, my personal crystal ball reveals great inroads into ever-broader areas. As always there’s exciting activity in high-performance systems, gaming consoles and the like, but there’s a lot more beyond that, too.

Embedded markets – the need for higher performance and lower power is answered with things like expanded foundry offerings from IBM, growing support from the ARM community, and high-volume chip production from leaders like Freescale and NXP. Great opps for apps in high-temp, automotives, imaging & RF, too.

Lighting – NXP’s solutions for major improvements in compact fluorescents (CFLs) will raise the bar for the designers in the massive lighting industry.

Power management – at the intersection of analog and digital, traction is growing in this quiet but significant corner of the embedded world, lead by Infineon, NXP, ST, IBM and more.

MEMSST’s airbag sensors and Debiotech’s insulin delivery systems are examples of the sorts of very cool, leading-edge apps now heading out into the real world.

On the design front, the message that SOI is evolutive, transparent, and cost-effective (not elitist, complex and expensive) will gain momentum in the greater design community. With the opportunities that SOI brings for lowering power and boosting performance, 2011 is the year the fabless folks really start to do it.

In the current issue of ASN (#16), VLSI President Risto Puhakka sees good growth this year, with critical mass hitting at the 32nm transition.

What do you see? How will you be using SOI this year? What about FD-SOI at 22nm? Leave us a comment and let us know.

ARM Tunes SOI SPICE for PPA

“SOI SPICE models that predict actual results with the greatest accuracy enable designers to fully exploit design trade-offs in terms of power, performance and area (PPA),” says ARM SOI guru Jean Luc Pelloie.

With that in mind, the ARM team presented a quiet paper at the last IEEE SOI Conference (Oct. 2010) – but one that has important implications for the industry. “Timing Verification of a 45nm SOI Standard Cell Library” is not yet available on the IEEEXplore site, but Jean Luc summarized the key points for Advanced Substrate News (ASN) (see http://www.soiconsortium.eu/2010/12/right-timing/).

The take-away message: “It’s important for the designers to have real and accurate timing data in order to avoid too much pessimism during the timing closure phase of circuit design. ARM’s new measurement process correctly characterizes the history effect. This enables designers to reach the highest possible frequencies with a high confidence level.”

The history effect is just another “corner”. Since it’s accurately accounted for in the physical IP libraries, it’s pretty much transparent in the design flow, he explains.

On the foundry side, says Jean Luc, ARM is helping leading foundries retune their 45nm SOI SPICE models for greater accuracy.

If you’re a designer, is the history effect something that still concerns you? Does this news make you feel a little more sanguine about diving in to SOI? Leave a comment and let us know.

(BTW, ARM’s been a regular contributor to ASN – see http://www.soiconsortium.eu/pages/companies/arm/ for more.)

It’s time for a change

For five wonderful years, we’ve had a terrific paper and electronic version of Advanced Substrate News – aka ASN – bringing you must-read pieces from in and around the SOI and engineered substrates ecosystem. That’s not going to change.

We’ve had hundreds of articles contributed by experts from all walks of industry and academia. That’s not going to change.

We’re your source for everything SOI. That’s not going to change.

What’s changing is our website. In addition to carrying both the latest and archived versions of ASN, we’re adding a new, dynamic dimension. Which stands to reason – SOI has moved into high gear, so we are, too.

We’ll be updating regularly, with an Editor’s Blog, the latest IndustryBuzz, PaperLink highlights from recent conferences and more. When you read one of our pieces, we can now invite you to leave your comments.

To keep up with us, you can follow via Twitter, email alerts, RSS feeds, or LinkedIn.

We’re very excited to offer this great new change to the SOI and advanced substrates community.

Of course, if you’re already on our mailing list, you’ll continue to receive the latest editions of ASN, which we’ll still be publishing throughout the year. (That’s not going to change!)

Start by checking out ASN #16, featuring SOI’s leading role in the lighting revolution, and the availability of amazing ultra-thin wafers for FD-SOI.

Do you like it? Did you learn something? Are there articles you want to share with colleagues? Then click now to tell us what you think – and don’t forget to post, re-post, tweet or re-tweet.

With many thanks and best wishes for a safe, innovative and Happy New Year.