Semiconductors

Smart manufacturing in More-than-Moore era

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Erik Collart, Edwards, talked about data sharing and the cost of inaction at the Fab Management Forum organized at the SEMI Technology Unites summit. He examined how customers are using data to improve effectiveness of the subfab, reduce the maintenance effort and avoid unplanned downtime.

The key challenge for the subfab and fab include collection. Connection and context are equally important. Machines, processes, data, and people are interacting effectively to reduce risk and uncertainty. Operational excellence is more than collection, connection, and context. He presented a case study solving performance concerns in an OEM R&D environment.

Equipment roadmap
Dr. Mike Rosa, Applied Materials, presented the Technology and Equipment Roadmaps Enabling the More-than-Moore Wave.

Today is the era of Big Data, AI, and IoT. Singular focus on device technology development and customer focus is required. In 2020, the global semiconductor market outlook was $415 billion (down from $471 billion). Smartphone alone represents 25 percent of total spend. The automotive market showed 10 percent growth. Other areas include datacenter/server, industrial, communications infrastructure, and consumer.

Dr, Mike Rosa.

There are emerging device technology apps and on-wafer inflections. There is migration of III-V (SiC, GaN wafer materials), silicon carbide wafer processing for HV MOSFETs, GaN-on-GaN, etc. On the CMOS sensors side, we have novel organic filter materials for high-efficiency photodiodes, etc.

In optical technologies, there are Lidar miniaturization and beam scan, III-V laser diode integration with CMOS, active/passive photonics waveguides, micro LED fabrication and assembly, and quantum efficiency of LED emitter. In MEMS and sensors, there are the monolithic integration of MEMS and CMOS, low temperature and conformal films, ultra-high aspect ratio structures, advanced acoustic piezo materials, and Pb-free materials for piezo actuation. In advanced substrates, there are GaN HEMT, SiC MOSFET, GaAs VCSEL, etc. There are process technology for SiC wafering, advanced implant/EPI for SiC devices. advanced atomic layer etch for GaN, etc.

Applied has a broad range of MtM materials and process technologies. We are making possible the technologies that are shaping the future. Semiconductors and specialty or MtM devices are going to transform the multiple industries.

John Behnke.

John Behnke, GM, FPS Product Line, Inficon, presented on the Evolution of Smart Manufacturing – Integrated and Collaborative Smart Systems. There are three pillars of smart manufacturing — sensing, connecting, and predicting. You need tool state, process state, etc., to arrive at operational efficiency. Digital twin aggregates all the information. There are digital twin-enabled predictive apps, as well.

Inficon offers FPS smart solutions. These include digital twin, factory dashboard, factory scheduling, metrology sampling optimizer, etc. Digital twin is meant for enabling integrated apps. There is the integrated scheduling with the highest RoI app. However, it is harder than most people think. NextMove integrated location tracking or vision tracking system (VTS) is also there. There is also the next-generation metrology sampling optimization. There are dashboard and scheduling-enabled RoI examples, as well.

Smarter tools for smarter fabs

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Jörg Recklies, Infineon Technologies, and Rüdiger Dorn, Google Corp., presented on smarter tools for smarter fabs — taking automation to the next level, on day 3 at the Fab Management Forum, during the SEMI Technology Unites summit.

Jörg Recklies, Infineon, said it has been linking the real and the digital worlds. The smart fab at Infineon aims for operational excellence and time-to-market to support the targets. Smart production requires the smart fab. First, there is big data and advanced analytics to take advantage of the data. There are focus areas for manufacturing for AI. We can analyze and predict the material flow for factory manufacturing.

There is equipment stability and control for higher productivity. You can also improve the process yield. On solution being used is defect detection by REM images with AI. There are requirements to succeed with AI models. These are data, model, scalability, and operation model.

Rüdiger Dorn.

Rüdiger Dorn, Google talked about the challenge around scale and automation. There is advantage in running AI and ML in the hybrid environment. These include, efficiency, automatically, centrally, flexibly, and monitoring data. Scalability of AI and ML has benefits in automation and centralization. You can have pre-packaged solutions for manufacturing AI. There are unified cloud AI platforms. You also have AI/ML operations with CI/CD pipelines.

Another area is flexibility and adaptability. You can plug-and-play to collect data in heterogenous environments. You can deploy and manage ML algorithms in heterogenous environments. A third area is explain-ability.

Doug Suerich.

Doug Suerich, PEER Group, spoke about Cost-effective Automation for Legacy Factories, at the Fab Management Forum. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and rise of 5G have increased the demand for electronics, and have introduced renewed need for automation at existing 200mm facilities. These “legacy” factories already run at full capacity and have little or no room.

He said that we need to deal with the problems. There is the Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety. If a system is to be stable, the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled. Complexity still has to live somewhere. Data collection is the first step in deploying upgraded automation. PEER FACTORY Station Controller (PFSC) offers a practical way.

Dr. Murat Gulcur, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, presented on Correct Material Selection and Life-Time Prediction of Elastomer Parts Using FEA Simulations at the Fab Management Forum.

Trelleborg is a leading supplier of polymer-based critical sealing solutions. Seals come in many shapes and materials. Elastomer seals are used in semiconductor apps. There are lot of different considerations, such as process type, seal location, process gases, etc. Trelleborg has developed the PureFab material. FFKM base polymers have very high etch rates. Not all plasmas are the same. The Isolast PureFab JPF 10 material provides better plasma resistance than inorganic-filled materials.

Dr. Murat Gulcur.

There is stiction force testing. It can cause longer preventive maintenance time and poor dynamic sealing performance. Trelleborg has stainless steel, anodized aluminum and quartz surfaces. A material can have different properties on different surfaces.

There is a method to capture long-term behavior. CSR and viscoelastic material modelling is one such method. It is used in the FEA to analyze long-term behavior. FEA results are in agreement with tests of the valve seal. Gasket apps are used for heat exchangers. Present lifetime predictions need to be done with chemical compatibility, temperature profiles and other conditions to select and validate the correct material.

Eyal Shekel, Tokyo Electron Ltd presented on Data Utilization for Equipment Intelligence Using AI at the Fab Management Forum. TEL smart manufacturing vision includes digital enabler, Smart X framework, including monitoring, analyze and prediction, and control, and business condition. The data volume explosion and evolution of AI is a powerful combination. There are opportunities in 5G networks, IoT, and sensors.

Eyal Shekel.

There is data analysis in the semiconductor industry. WFE is the company’s most important responsibility. There was a use case on material informatics. Training of the model with experimental data improved the prediction accuracy. Another case was of virtual metrology. Deep learning correlating actual metrology and OES data enabled accurate metrology predictions. TEL is also developing equipment intelligence tools. It is developing solutions for future equipment intelligence.

AI technology continuously becomes a key enabler for smart manufacturing. Tokyo Electron (TEL) sees our equipment on a development roadmap from single standalone tool to providing integrated manufacturing solutions enabled by AI.

Edge AI and HPC driving growth

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Emmanuel Sabonnadiere, CEO, Leti of CEA Tech, presented on Edge AI and High-Performance Computing, at the ongoing SEMI Technology Unites global summit.

There will be lot of connectivity in the future. Connectivity between the digital world and the real world will accelerate. The vaccine was developed within 12 months, due to biotechnology and bio-electronics. 2020 told us that hardware was back. Big cloud players are investing in hardware. Eg., Tesla. The value is 3-4 times bigger than competitors, as it has demonstrated that it is managing all its electronics and devices.

Emmanuel Sabonnadiere.

Mobile phone is, and will remain extremely centric in microelectronics. Over 10 billion units were sold in the market. There could be six devices per user by 2030. We have to continue to invest highly in mobile. AI is also an important part. Energy consumption is now linked with AI and the edge. AI for IoT will be less than 1mW in terms of consumption.

At CEA-Leti, there has been development of cloud. AI will be developed in the cloud. There will be edge AI. The roadmap till 2030 is based on six technologies. In the memory part, CEA Leti has done advanced innovation. Most of the data has to be treated locally. In future, computation can be increased by adding chiplets. To develop edge AI, we also need new platforms. With imec in Belgium, and Fraunhofer in Germany, together, we have created More than Moore technology. We have one of the most advanced SoCs for next generation of edge AI chips.

We also have to be on par with the green equation. We are generating a portion of CO2 worldwide. We are looking at 60 billion connected devices by 2030. The next big thing is to turn our minds to how we develop future technology. Performance means better productivity. Now, there is performance and consumption. For the future, we are looking at these areas. In future, we hope to create something useful with the world, and improve the green equation.

What’s next in AI?
Mukesh Khare, IBM Research, presented on What’s Next in AI: Our Vision for the Future of AI Hardware, at the ongoing SEMI Technology Unites global summit.

Mukesh Khare.

The next generation of advanced computing will demonstrate our power. We will communicate results that build on the existing knowledge. We also need to invent a new computing paradigm. We can solve this using AI hardware. We need to tap quantum computing through the cloud. The new hybrid cloud environment will bring virtual computing power.

IBM Research is building AI with fluid intelligence. We want memory and bandwidth to further mature. AI is stretching today’s computing hardware. The IBM AI center’s goal is to improve computing performance by 1,000 times by 2029. It will enable more holistic computing. Red Hat is working to build a software stack. AI center is also launching the third generation of chip. We are building a purpose-built AI hardware. The new chip is a marvel. It comes with in-memory computing hardware.

IBM Research also launched a new packaging center in Albany. We are also working to bring AI for business and industry automation. We have enabled models and methods that will help solve future problems.

Getting ready for next digital decade

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John Nelson, UTAC Group, presented on Transforming a Traditional Back-end Manufacturing Facility: Getting Ready for The Digital Decade, at the ongoing SEMI Technology Unites global summit.

There is significant growth opportunity for the semiconductor market. 5G is much more than just the mobile market. 5G allows 500x more user handling capability. Technology convergence is also creating a perfect storm. AI is also becoming mainstream in many apps. Sensors are the way to convert analog to digital. Convergence and affordability can drive future growth.

John Nelson.

A growth decade for semiconductor market has been driven by innovations. It will require more efficient backend manufacturing process to be competitive. This includes factory automation. An example is the UTAC factory in Bangkok, Thailand. Established in 1973 by National Semiconductor, it is now ready for the next phase to take up the manufacturing challenge for this decade.

Automation will be the key, leading to higher quality and productivity, more cost effective, and efficient logistics. Key concepts include data analytics, smart factory using AR/VR, RPA, etc.

With Industry 4.0 and sensors, UTAC has done data analytics. There is better decision making with analytics. The use of AR/VR for the smart factory is also very useful. There is reduction time for training and also reduction in mistakes. They have replaced 4 operator HC for each mobile robot to transfer products and materials. There has also been increased customer self service. There are auto inspection machines. UTAC has implemented auto inspection machine with AI. RPA has also been a great help. UTAC has been able to eliminate human errors and increase process productivity.

Industry 4.0 has been empowered by 5G. There is a smart dashboard managed at the local level. 5G mmwave and convergence of technologies through this decade will usher in new products and services through innovations. Innovative, high-quality and cost-effective manufacturing process is key to compete in the growing semiconductor market.

Are you ready for new supercycle?

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At the ongoing SEMI Technology Unites Summit, Akihisa Sekiguchi, VP and GM of Advanced Semiconductor Technology Division at Tokyo Electron, presented on Present and Future of Technology in the Age of Paradigm Shift. The new normal has changed our daily lives. We have also been enhancing isolated healthcare. Today, a whole range of information can be sent over the Internet.

We are also enhancing the learning experience. Successful transition is possible with high-speed Internet. We also need to enhance the remote working experience. Things are not so easy in manufacturing, unless the processes are automated. AR/VR is accelerating development. There was also the acceleration of 5G in 2020. Wi-Fi 6 is also expected to help further and faster connectivity.

Akihisa Sekiguchi.

The next 10 years will see more of Moore’s Law, driving logic, DRAM and NAND. There will be more customization, as well as hyper mass production. The market will decide the optimum allocation of resources. Small, portable devices will continue to evolve. There will be the Internet of People.

Device scaling outlook will also evolve. DRAM process flow will get better. Higher aspect ratio structures require advanced patterning to deliver next-generation technologies. In 3D NAND, the actual stack is much higher. Device footprint reduction by forming logic devices under the memory array. Nanosheet structure is complicated. TEL’s highly selective process comes in here. BEOL wiring limits are leading to backside PDN. 3D system integration and bonding are also moving ahead.

Today, ML is an effective tool. There is also the importance of advanced data analysis. More efficient computation pull is now need. Eg., for quantum computing. The future is the seamless integration of computing. Semiconductors need to evolve further. We need to innovate together.

Kevin Crofton.

New supercycle
Next, Kevin Crofton, CEO, Comet Group, presented on: Are you ready for the new supercycle? Covid-19 has accelerated the desire for digitization. This has happened due to AI, 5G, etc. The WFH strategy has accelerated the experience of the new shift of the industry.

AI can do, and does do, is that it trains machines. We can have AI for entertainment. We can select the movie we want to see, along with the actors, we want to see. There can be AI in cybersecurity. It can also get involved in transportation. It is coming across the world very quickly. Autonomy will get built on the AI platform.

There is also the use of AI for vaccine. Today, almost 200 different vaccines are being tested. AI can solve many different problems of the world in the future. Google is using AI protocols to develop advanced chips.

Shaping digital transformation in future

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Ms. Maria Marced, President, TSMC Europe, presented on Shaping the Digital Transformation, at the ongoing Technology Unites global summit, organized by SEMI. 2020 was a difficult and challenging year. We have learnt new ways to live and work, and also learn.

There has been big momentum in 5G and IoT. 5G and HPC are now driving digital transformation. Innovation is also driving growth in the automotive industry. ADAS level 3, 4, and 5 connectivity and electrification is expected by 2030.

Ms. Maria Marced.

The 2020 global semiconductor market growth was asynchronous to the world real GDP growth. This growth was raised from 6 percent to 10 percent by late Dec. 2020. There is now a surge in demand for digital transformation.

TSMC has 6- and 8-inch, and 12-inch giga fabs. It also has advanced packaging. It will install a 12-inch fab in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, in 2021. We are also going to raise the capex. TSMC has capacity leadership. It has also invested in green manufacturing. TSMC has also been trying to achieve manufacturing excellence.
TSMC also has technology leadership.

Today, TSMC’s innovations in technology are driving digital transformation. It has achieved N5 in production, N3 in development, and N2 in path finding.

Digital future
Next, Simon Segars, CEO, ARM Holding Plc, presented on Rebuilding Better for the Digital Future. We have learnt a lot from 2020. We have shifted to doing so many things online. The networks have survived the massive surge in activity. People talk about a new normal, and we need to think what it will be.

Simon Segars.

The private sector and governments have to engage in global climate projects. Air pollution was somewhat down in 2020. ARM has promised to be net zero carbon by 2030. We have taken the same ethos to processes and data centers. We need everyone involved in production of electronics and data centers to think about how we can further reduce energy. We need to think about how we can do all this in a more efficient manner.

Healthcare and telehealth have made some strides in 2020. We can already start using wearables and sensors. Home monitoring is however, not yet developed. We need to take all the information from the electronics and move to healthcare.

Education has undergone similar shift in 2020. Educationists have been challenged to change their approach. You also have to maintain the content on the screen. For children, it is also challenging. AR/VR has been around for some time. An example is the Tower of London. We need to improve the accessibilities. We also need to develop trust. Digital healthcare especially, needs trust.

Semiconductor sector has had a great 2020. We need not run the risk of missing out on big opportunities. Now is the time to engage. There is momentum in how people are now thinking about technology. We need to think through the hard challenges.

Semiconductors catalyst for resiliency and sustainability

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At the ongoing Technology Unites global summit organized by SEMI, Ms. Sabine Herlitschka, CEO, Infineon Technologies Austria, presented on Technology with a purpose. We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. We need to take advantage of the similar situation provided by the pandemic.

We can accelerate digital transformation. Semiconductors is now the catalyst for resiliency and sustainability, and new developments, Covid-19 has accelerated digitalization by several years. Funding for digital initiatives increased significantly. Covid-19 also created a sense of urgency within organizations.

Ms. Sabine Herlitschka.

Semiconductor has been presented with several new opportunities post the pandemic. There have been global investments in semiconductor industry. Infineon is investing $1.6 billion in Austria. Globalization and data flow have heralded a new era. The ‘data giants’ are becoming clear economic factors. The data industry is now shaping markets. It is having significant impact in deciding conditions.

ICT is the key enabler of green growth in all sectors of the economy. Government action plans to battle climate change. Trends toward electrification of cars remains unchanged, driven by more stringent legal guidelines. Smart control also enables substantial energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is huge for the energy demand. Infineon had decided to be climate neutral by 2030. It has set milestones.

Lastly, semiconductors also enable societal sustainability. We need to focus on skills and qualifications. It is time to think big and act bold.

Advent of future
Next, Axel Fischer, Samsung Semiconductor Europe, presented on The Advent of the Future. The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 is already here. The foundry market has been growing, focusing in 5G, HPC, and AI. Data connection and processing apps are driving market growth.

Innovation maximizes the benefit of node transition in semiconductors. We have improved with validated process modules, and reuse design infrastructure, including IPs. The continuous improvement of technologies has led over time to PPA improvement. He gave an example is the ARM CPU experiment.

Samsung foundry has solutions for all the needs. It offers complete solution for HPC and AI. This includes advanced process technology, advanced packaging, and advanced IPs. Samsung Advanced Foundry Ecosystem (SAFE) is also growing. For instance, the SAFE OSAT has 9 partners and 16 package platforms.

Samsung Foundry has strong expansion to the HPC segment. It is ramping third EUV node to HVM. It also has a breadth of process, IP, and packaging technologies. By 2030, there will be a true general foundry, with AI/ML, DCs, automotive, mobile, consumer and C/GPU segments.

TrendForce announces top 10 tech industry trends for 2021

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TrendForce has provided its forecast of 10 key trends in the tech industry for 2021.

As the DRAM industry officially enters the EUV era, NAND Flash stacking technology advances past 150L
The three major DRAM suppliers, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron, will not only continue their transition towards the 1Znm and 1alpha nm process technologies, but also formally introduce the EUV era, with Samsung leading the charge, in 2021. DRAM suppliers will gradually replace their existing double patterning technologies in order to optimize their cost structure and manufacturing efficiency.

After NAND Flash suppliers managed to push memory stacking technology past 100 layers in 2020, they will be aiming for 150 layers and above in 2021 and improving single-die capacity from 256/512Gb to 512Gb/1Tb. Consumers will be able to adopt higher-density NAND Flash products through the suppliers’ efforts to optimize chip costs.

While PCIe Gen 3 is currently the dominant bus interface for SSDs, PCIe Gen 4 will start gaining increased market share in 2021 owing to its integration in PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and motherboards featuring Intel’s new microarchitecture. The new interface is indispensable for fulfilling the massive data transfer demand from high-end PCs, servers, and HPC data centers.

Mobile network operators will step up their 5G base station build-out while Japan/Korea look ahead to 6G
The 5G Implementation Guidelines: SA Option 2, released by the GSMA in June 2020, delves into great technical details regarding 5G deployment, both for mobile network operators and from a global perspective. Operators are expected to implement 5G standalone architectures (SA) on a large scale in 2021.

In addition to delivering connections with high speed and high bandwidth, 5G SA architectures will allow operators to customize their networks according to user applications and adapt to workloads that require ultra-low latency. However, even as 5G rollout is underway, Japan-based NTT DoCoMo and Korea-based SK Telecom are already focusing on 6G deployment, since 6G allows for various emerging applications in XR (including VR, AR, MR, and 8K and above resolutions), lifelike holographic communications, WFH, remote access, telemedicine, and distance education.

Internet of Things evolves into Intelligence of Things as AI-enabled devices move closer to autonomy
In 2021, deep AI integration will be the primary value added to IoT, whose definition will evolve from Internet of Things to Intelligence of Things. Innovations in tools such as deep learning and computer vision will bring about a total upgrade for IoT software and hardware applications. Taking into account industry dynamics, economic stimulus, and remote access demand, IoT is expected to see large-scale adoption across certain major verticals, namely, smart manufacturing and smart healthcare.

With regards to smart manufacturing, the introduction of contactless technology is expected to speed up the arrival of industry 4.0. As smart factories pursue resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, AI integration will equip edge devices, such as cobots and drones, with even more precision and inspection capabilities, thereby transforming automation into autonomy. On the smart healthcare front, AI adoption can transform existing medical datasets into enablers of process optimization and service area extension.

For instance, AI integration delivers faster thermal image recognition that can support the clinical decision-making process, telemedicine, and surgical assistance applications. These aforementioned applications are expected to serve as crucial functions fulfilled by AI-enabled medical IoT in diverse settings ranging from smart clinics to telemedicine centers.

Integration between AR glasses and smartphones will kick-start a wave of cross-platform applications
AR glasses will move towards a smartphone-connected design in 2021 in which the smartphone serves as the computing platform for the glasses. This design allows for significant reduction in cost and weight for AR glasses. In particular, as the 5G network environment becomes more mature in 2021, the integration of 5G smartphones and AR glasses will enable the latter to not only run AR apps more smoothly, but also fulfill advanced personal audio-visual entertainment functionalities through leveraging the added computing power of smartphones. As a result, smartphone brands and mobile network operators are expected to venture into the AR glasses market on a large scale in 2021.

A crucial part of autonomous driving, driver monitoring systems (DMS) will skyrocket in popularity
Automotive safety technology has evolved from an application for car exteriors to one for car interiors, while sensing technology is moving towards a future where it integrates driver status monitoring with external environmental readings. Similarly, automotive AI integration is evolving past its existing entertainment and user assistance functions, into an indispensable enabler of automotive safety.

In light of the string of traffic accidents in which the drivers ignored road conditions due to their overreliance on ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), which have recently skyrocketed in adoption rate, the market is once again paying close attention to driver monitoring functions.

In the future, the main thrust of driver monitoring functions will be focused on the development of more active, reliable, and accurate camera systems. By detecting the driver’s drowsiness and attention through iris tracking and behavioral monitoring, these systems are able to identify in real time whether the driver is tired, distracted, or driving improperly.

As such, DMS (driver monitoring systems) have become an absolute necessity in the development of ADS (autonomous driving systems), since DMS must serve multiple functions simultaneously, including real-time detection/notification, driver capability assessment, and takeover of driving controls whenever necessary. Vehicles with DMS integration are expected to enter mass production in the near future.

Foldable displays will see adoption in more devices as a means of upping screen real estate
As foldable phones progressed from concept to product in 2019, certain smartphone brands successively released their own foldable phones to test the waters. Although these phones’ sell-through performances have so far been mediocre owing to their relatively high costs – and, by extension, retail prices – they are still able to generate much buzz in the mature and saturated smartphone market. In the next few years, as panel makers gradually expand their flexible AMOLED production capacities, smartphone brands will continue to focus on their development of foldable phones.

Furthermore, foldable functionality has been seeing increasing penetration in other devices as well, specifically notebook computers. With Intel and Microsoft leading the charge, various manufacturers have each released their own dual-display notebook offerings. In the same vein, foldable products with single flexible AMOLED displays are set to become the next hot topic.

Notebooks with foldable displays will likely enter the market in 2021. As an innovative flexible display application and as a product category that features flexible displays much larger than previous applications, the integration of foldable displays in notebooks is expected to expend manufacturers’ flexible AMOLED production capacity to some degree.

Mini LED and QD-OLED will become viable alternatives to white OLED
Competition between the display technologies is expected to heat up in the high-end TV market in 2021. In particular, Mini LED backlighting enables LCD TVs to have finer control over their backlight zones and therefore deeper display contrast compared with current mainstream TVs. Spearheaded by market leader Samsung, LCD TVs with Mini LED backlighting are competitive with their white OLED counterparts while offering similar specs and performances.

Furthermore, given their superior cost-effectiveness, Mini LED is expected to emerge as a strong alternative to white OLED as a display technology. On the other hand, Samsung Display (SDC) is betting on its new QD OLED technology as a point of technological differentiation from its competitors, as SDC is ending its LCD manufacturing operations. SDC will look to set the new gold standard in TV specs with its QD OLED technology, which is superior to white OLED in terms of color saturation. TrendForce expects the high-end TV market to exhibit a cutthroat new competitive landscape in 2H21.

Advanced packaging will go full steam ahead in HPC and AiP
The development of advanced packaging technology has not slowed down this year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the various manufacturers release HPC chips and AiP (antenna in package) modules, semiconductor companies such as TSMC, Intel, ASE, and Amkor are eager to participate in the burgeoning advanced packaging industry as well. With regards to HPC chip packaging, due to these chips’ increased demand on I/O lead density, the demand on interposers, which are used in chip packaging, has increased correspondingly as well.

TSMC and Intel have each released their new chip packaging architectures, branded 3D fabric and Hybrid Bonding, respectively, while gradually evolving their third-generation packaging technologies (CoWoS for TSMC and EMIB for Intel), to fourth-generation CoWoS and Co-EMIB technologies.

In 2021, the two foundries will be looking to benefit from high-end 2.5D and 3D chip packaging demand. With regards to AiP module packaging, after Qualcomm released its first QTM products in 2018, MediaTek and Apple subsequently collaborated with related OSAT companies, including ASE and Amkor. Through these collaborations, MediaTek and Apple hoped to make headways in the R&D of mainstream flip chip packaging, which is a relatively low-cost technology.

AiP is expected to see gradual integration in 5G mmWave devices starting in 2021. Driven by 5G communications and network connectivity demand, AiP modules are expected to first reach the smartphone market and subsequently the automotive and tablet markets.

Chipmakers will pursue shares in the AIoT market through an accelerated expansionary strategy
With the rapid development of IoT, 5G, AI, and cloud/edge computing, chipmakers’ strategies have evolved from singular products, to product lineups, and finally to product solutions, thereby creating a comprehensive and granular chip ecosystem. Looking at the development of major chipmakers in recent years from a broad perspective, the continuous vertical integration of these companies have resulted in an oligopolistic industry, in which localized competition is more intense than ever.

Furthermore, as 5G commercialization generates diverse application demands for various use cases, chipmakers are now offering full service vertical solutions, ranging from chip design to software/hardware platform integration, in response to the vast commercial opportunities brought about by the rapid development of the AIoT industry. On the other hand, chipmakers who were unable to position themselves in time according to market needs will likely find themselves exposed to the risk of overreliance on a single market.

Active matrix Micro LED TVs will make their highly anticipated debut in the consumer electronics market
The release of large-sized micro LED displays by Samsung, LG, Sony, and Lumens in recent years marked the start of micro LED integration in large-sized display development. As micro LED application in large-sized displays gradually matures, Samsung is expected to be the first in the industry to release its active matrix micro LED TVs, therefore cementing year 2021 as the first year of micro LED integration in TVs.

Active matrix addresses pixels by making use of the display’s TFT glass backplane, and since the IC design of active matrix is relatively simple, this addressing scheme therefore requires a relative low amount of routing. In particular, active matrix driver ICs require PWM functionality and MOSFET switches in order to stabilize the electrical current driving micro LED displays, necessitating a new and extremely expensive R&D process for such ICs. Therefore, for micro LED manufacturers, their greatest challenges at the moment in pushing micro LED to the end devices market lie in technology and cost.

Please note: These are all the predictions from TrendForce, Taiwan for 2021.

Architecting a software-defined car: ITC India 2020

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On Day 2 of the ongoing ITC India 2020 virtual conference, Riccardo Mariani, VP Industry Safety, Nvidia, spoke about “Architecting a software-defined car—from end to end and top to bottom”.

The market has the potential to grow to $700 billion. The software-defined architecture has opened up several areas. There is powerful and efficient AI, CV, AR, HPC, functional safety, etc. There is rich software development. An autonous driving platform has to be must. Nvidia has the 5W to 2,000 TOPS as one programmable architecture. The Nvidia Drive AGX Orin has 17 billion transistors.

Riccardo Mariani.

We need a drive stack that is open and scalable. It creates the next generation of AR. It uses AI capabilities. AI gives functionalities such as perception, reasoning and driving. There is also HD map and mapping.

A video showed how the car will travel, especially at the intersections. The results can be used in several different ways to create additional diversity and redundancy.

To be complete, the autonomous driving architecture should be end-to-end. We are delivering access to the industry to the Nvidia DNN. We are accelerating the autonomous driving architecture. Validation by simulation is very important. Nvidia still has AV test fleets, it is impossible to cover everything for a self-driving car. The Nvidia drive scene, we can deliver self-driving technology for any scenario.

The video on Nvidia drive constellation showed the virtual maps, with added environmental details. You can configure the sensor array and create a variety of traffic scenarios. The day and weather conditions can also be modified and created. DRIVE SIM creates the virtual world.

Taking a deep dive into functional safety, we need to have cybersecurity, safety of intended functionality (SOFT), and functional safety (FUSA), that takes care of hardware failures and systematic failures. There is the ISO/SAE 21434 for road vehicles cybersecurity engineering, ISO 21447 for road vehicles safety of intended functionality, and ISO 26262 for functional safety.

There is also the ISO/TR 4804 for safety and security for ADAS design, verification and validation methods. The UL 4600 is for the evaluation of autonomous products. The ISO/IEC JTC1 SC 42 WG3 is also there. The IEEE P2846 is formal model for safety considerations. IEEE P1228 is for software safety. The IEEE P2851 is for exchange/interoperability format for functional safety analysis and verification. The hardware architecture has primary channel and backup channel.

The system-level monitors are trajectory and command monitors, and collision avoidance. There are function-level monitors, such as output validity and cross checks, and valid output trends. There are low-level diagnostics such as hardware diagnostics and self-checks, and program flow monitoring. Detecting a fault is not enough, and emergency operation is also critical. The system emergency operation is also necessary.

DNN functional safety is built in. The data factory, planner, DNN V&V, and tools and AI infrastructure are necessary. The autonomous driving architecture should be software defined, AI-enabled, and be functional safe.

Earlier, Dr. Yervant Zorian, Chief Architect and Fellow, Synopsys, President, Synopsys Armenia, presented on ITC’s activities. He said that at the global ITC, ITC India participates actively. We have tried to broadcast all plenary sessions also, before the pandemic. It is beneficial to have a virtual presence. We are investigating virtual conference tools. We have the ITC virtual conference meeting on July 21st, 2020. We will be holding three special tracks on automotive, security, and AI. Together, all the contributions are also making ITC India powerful.

VLSI 2020: Empowering next-gen apps through flash innovation

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Shigeo (Jeff) Ohshima, Technology Executive, SSD Application Engineering, Kioxia Corp., presented a paper at the concluding plenary session of the 2020 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, titled: Empowering next-gen apps through flash innovation.

He said that for the long-term future with ‘flash native solutions’, here is one real disruptive approach to introduce as an innovative example. By skipping the regular flash memory and SSD manufacturing processes such as assembling, packaging, and drive building, there will be a huge possibility to drastically reduce the cost and lead time for manufacturing.

Shigeo (Jeff) Ohshima.

This will enable flash native solutions to expand the market opportunities such as big data science, co-existing with extremely high data density and high performance with low flash storage cost. We tentatively call it wafer-level SSD as one of the disruptive ‘flash native solutions.

Wafer-level SSD
With wafer-level SSD concept, all of the flash dies in each wafer are probed and operated simultaneously, managed by SSD controller devices. This ‘super multi-probing’ enables parallel operation of hundreds of chips on a whole single wafer, which will enable huge performance, millions of IOPS.

Regarding the cost advantage of this wafer level SSD configuration, a ball park estimation of the storage cost in comparison with conventional configured SSDs is approximately as small as 20 percent, which is almost equivalent to that of HDDs. Not to mention, the overall performance is far beyond HDDs. It will be in line with acceleration of super multi-level cell flash adoptions, QLC, PLC, and HLC.

One future example of large-scale data analysis that could follow on the heels of AI will be life analysis. A ‘flash native solution’ to explore ways to contribute to this field, will be invaluable. For instance, in order to capture highresolution brain images of tens of nanometers scale using a regular optical microscope, a unique technique called expansion microscopy has been invented, that embeds the observed object in a water-absorbing polymer and physically expands it.

Wafer-level SSD.

One of the major challenges of this technology was to efficiently process and display large amounts of image data output from the microscope. A ‘Flash native solution’ can contribute to build high-speed signal processing systems, effectively combining parallel computing devices such as CPUs and GPUs, and SSDs to accelerate reading and writing data, creating a 3D real-time visualization system that displays image data acquired from microscopes.

Such data is genuinely big data, which exceeds the size of DRAM. High-capacity and high-speed SSDs are indispensable. In the life science field, data volume is expected to further increase in the future, and data processing speed of more than 1TB (terabyte) per second will be required. We will continue to pursue new and exciting “flash native solutions” that will contribute to the meaningful use of the explosive amount of information being produced in our society.

Similarly, 3D also started with a paper by Toshiba back in 2007, when the first prototype of BiCS FLASH was introduced. 3D flash has enhanced technical wonders, such as module-based SSD for laptop PCs, enterprise SSD for data center and on premise storage and high performance UFS for smart phones. Innovations continue to roll forward like an everlasting technology showcase by various memory vendors.

Among all the ‘flash native solutions’, SSDs will play a cutting-edge role for disruptive innovations independently or together with enhanced software solutions. As a driving force in memory, we will create uplifting experiences and change the world.