Sanjay Gangal Sanjay Gangal is a veteran of Electronics Design industry with over 25 years experience. He has previously worked at Mentor Graphics, Meta Software and Sun Microsystems. He has been contributing to EDACafe since 1999.
Design engineers are increasingly spending their time on verification. Research suggests that it is now more than 50% of their time and, according to Harry Foster of Mentor Graphics in his lighter moments, if we continue the current linear trend then it will reach 100% by 2030! So why is verification so demanding? It seems that IP reuse has enabled designers to create larger, more complex designs to keep pace with our manufacturing capability but our verification productivity has not kept pace.
Looking to tools for productivity gains, EDAC (the EDA Consortium) reported that the overall EDA verification market grew by 38% from 2010 to 2012 with emulation up by 94%. But, as Mark Olen of Mentor pointed out “if Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. So innovation is also required and Chris Brown of Broadcom set EDA companies the challenge of “collaborative competition” through standards. For example, UCIS has enabled TVS to build an innovative requirements sign off tool (asureSign) by reading verification data from multiple tools.
Article Source: Tokyo Institute of Technology, Center for Public Information
A new compound developed at Tokyo Tech shows highly unusual conducting properties that could be used in future electronic components. The details are described in the November 2013 issue of Tokyo Institute of Technology Bulletin:
Ordinary insulating solids, such as diamond, have energy bands that are fully occupied by electrons. The conducting band is so far away from the valence band in diamond that electrons do not have sufficient energy to move – the ‘band gap’ is large – therefore no electric current can be carried.
In recent years, researchers have become interested in materials called topological insulators (TIs), which act as insulators on the inside, but are highly conductive on their surfaces. In TIs, an exceptionally strong spin-orbit interaction inverts the energy gap between occupied and empty states, so that electrons at the surface can flow across the gap. These properties are intrinsic to the material, meaning a TI remains conductive even if its surface is not perfect.
Now, an international team of scientists from Japan, the UK and the USA, led by Takao Sasagawa at Tokyo Institute of Technology, have successfully developed a new TI from bismuth, tellurium and chlorine (BiTeCl). Their new TI is inversion asymmetric, meaning it has different electronic states, and therefore different polarities, on each crystal surface. As a result, it exhibits many topological effects that have not been seen experimentally before.
Despite the advances in neuroscience research, the human brain remains a complex puzzle with questions unanswered on how it controls human behaviour, cognitive functions and movements. Scientists from A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS) have jointly developed and demonstrated an integrated circuit (IC) chip with record-low power consumption for direct recording of brain activities. This breakthrough minimises the patient’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation and heat during the recording process, making it possible to integrate greater number of channels (>100 channels) to acquire more comprehensive profile of brain signals, paving the way to unlock the mystery behind the complex mind-body connection.
Neural recording system is a vital tool to acquire and process brain signals, and is also applied in artificial limb control (or neural prosthesis) treatments for paralyzed patients. The system comprises multiple electrodes for data acquisition and is implanted within the skull during the operation. The implantability of the system places tight limits on its size and power consumption, while at the same time demanding sufficient performance to record good quality data.
Successful integration of an antenna onto a vehicle platform poses many challenges. Vehicle features impact antenna performance by blocking, reflecting or reradiating energy, and co-site interference can impair the effectiveness of multi-antenna configurations. Platform motion and environmental factors such as terrain and buildings may reduce system effectiveness in actual op erational conditions. Furthermore, radiation hazards may pose risks to nearby personnel. Modeling and simulation provides a powerful tool to aid in understanding these issues and developing solutions. This article provides a variety of examples of simulation-based assessments used to analyze antenna performance, identify problems, and evaluate potential solutions.
The key benefit of simulation-based assessment is that it is relatively fast and cost-effective compared to physical system modification and measurement. The lead times and costs associated with scheduling measurements in an anechoic chamber or at an outdoor test facility sometimes strain schedules and budgets. Modeling and simulation can assess options and tradeoffs in order to select a small number of planned approaches well before any physical testing occurs; as a result, experimental design focuses on verifying planned approaches and fine-tuning alternatives demonstrated to be effective in simulations. This approach reduces the risk of encountering problems that require retesting, costly redesign or introduce dangerous in-theater behavior.
In addition, a number of challenges arise when attempting to perform exhaustive laboratory or field testing on an integrated system. Some potential issues include:
Available measurement facilities may not be able to accommodate larger platforms
Facilities may not be able to handle the full range of frequencies for the system(s) under test
Comprehensive in situ measurements may be difficult or impractical for operational conditions (e.g., aircraft in flight or a HMMWV in an urban environment)
In-theater modifications could require additional testing
A comprehensive modeling and simulation toolset allows an organization to overcome these challenges by being able to simulate any number of conditions, identify and resolve key issues, and reserve the use of physical measurements to confirm successful pre-test, simulation-based assessments. The remainder of this article provides several examples demonstrating typical simulation-based assessments to identify and resolve issues related to antenna performance and integration onto vehicles.
New production method could enable everything from more efficient computer displays to enhanced biomedical testing.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Quantum dots — tiny particles that emit light in a dazzling array of glowing colors — have the potential for many applications, but have faced a series of hurdles to improved performance. But an MIT team says that it has succeeded in overcoming all these obstacles at once, while earlier efforts have only been able to tackle them one or a few at a time.
Moungi G. Bawendi
Quantum dots — in this case, a specific type called colloidal quantum dots — are tiny particles of semiconductor material that are so small that their properties differ from those of the bulk material: They are governed in part by the laws of quantum mechanics that describe how atoms and subatomic particles behave. When illuminated with ultraviolet light, the dots fluoresce brightly in a range of colors, determined by the sizes of the particles.
First discovered in the 1980s, these materials have been the focus of intense research because of their potential to provide significant advantages in a wide variety of optical applications, but their actual usage has been limited by several factors. Now, research published this week in the journal Nature Materials by MIT chemistry postdoc Ou Chen, Moungi Bawendi, the Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry, and several others raises the prospect that these limiting factors can all be overcome.
The new process developed by the MIT team produces quantum dots with four important qualities: uniform sizes and shapes; bright emissions, producing close to 100 percent emission efficiency; a very narrow peak of emissions, meaning that the colors emitted by the particles can be precisely controlled; and an elimination of a tendency to blink on and off, which limited the usefulness of earlier quantum-dot applications.
ARM (LSE: ARM) (NASDAQ: ARMH) and Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS) announced the tape-out of the first 14-nanometer test chip implementation of the high-performance ARM® Cortex™-A7 processor, the most energy-efficient applications processor from ARM. Designed with a complete Cadence® RTL-to-signoff flow, the chip is the first to target Samsung’s 14-nanometer FinFET process, accelerating the continuing move to high-density, high-performance and ultra-low power SoCs for future smartphones, tablets and all other advanced mobile devices.
“Kilopass Roadmap for Advanced TSMC Processes” by Harry Luan, chief technology officer at Kilopass Technology Inc., was presented at the 2012 TSMC Open Innovation Platform Ecosystem Conference on Tuesday, October 16, at 4:30 p.m. in the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California. Kilopass is a leading provider of semiconductor logic non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP).
Harry Luan, chief technology officer at Kilopass Technology Inc., a leading provider of semiconductor logic non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP) presenting “Novel New Vertically-Oriented, Antifuse Non-Volatile Memory Bit Cell” at MemCon 2012 on Tuesday, September 18, at 2:15 p.m. at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, Calif.
The new embedded VCM (Vertical Cross-point Memory) NVM IP bit cell quadruples the density of today’s anti-fuse NVM IP bit cell. The VCM bit cell will make possible program storage where today’s embedded non-volatile memory (eNVM) technology is cost-prohibitive or unavailable at capacities of 4Mb to 32Mb. It will also enable a higher level of performance more similar to SRAM compared to existing slower eNVM technologies or external flash or EEPROM chips.
MIT team applies technology developed for visual ‘cloaking’ to enable more efficient transfer of electrons.
A new approach that allows objects to become “invisible” has now been applied to an entirely different area: letting particles “hide” from passing electrons, which could lead to more efficient thermoelectric devices and new kinds of electronics.
The concept — developed by MIT graduate student Bolin Liao, former postdoc Mona Zebarjadi (now an assistant professor at Rutgers University), research scientist Keivan Esfarjani, and mechanical engineering professor Gang Chen — is described in a paper in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Diagram shows the 'probability flux' of electrons, a representation of the paths of electrons as they pass through an 'invisible' nanoparticle. While the paths are bent as they enter the particle, they are subsequently bent back so that they re-emerge from the other side on the same trajectory they started with — just as if the particle wasn't there. - Image courtesy Bolin Liao et al.
Normally, electrons travel through a material in a way that is similar to the motion of electromagnetic waves, including light; their behavior can be described by wave equations. That led the MIT researchers to the idea of harnessing the cloaking mechanisms developed to shield objects from view — but applying it to the movement of electrons, which is key to electronic and thermoelectric devices.
I was speaking with experts at Mentor about the latest developments in back-end physical verification (PV) and design-for-manufacturing (DFM). It prompted me to take a look at what has changed and what will be essential going forward. Here is what I see for this critical area for IC implementation.
First, we have passed the 28nm barrier and are already looking to a new generation of design. Leading-edge design starts are now at 20nm and we will see production silicon for that node by early 2013. However, in a new research brief, “Driving first-time silicon success across the IC ecosystem,” by Dr. Handel Jones, semiconductor analyst at IBS, the total number of design starts is not growing. While System integrators such as Samsung and Apple, are furiously growing their mobile businesses, the ability to integrate ever-larger collections of IP in their SOCs means they do not need to include more ICs in their phones to expand the features of their products. It is also true that 20nm designs have a much higher NRE than previous generations. Naturally, this economic incentive will keep some design starts at the 28nm and larger nodes.