The vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) places electronics in all aspects of our lives ─ from knowing what’s in our refrigerator to life-critical functions such as connected, implantable defibrillators. The potential of autonomous driving places our lives in the hands of sensors, processors and wireless communication that we have to assume collect accurate information, process that information and then react in real time. Semico has compiled a list of the top ten elements that must align in order for the IoT to come to fruition. Semico’s report on security started a groundswell of discussion and, more importantly, new solutions from chip vendors.
Semiconductor designers have been engrossed in developing solutions that deliver the right performance at the lowest cost while using the least amount of power. But there is another item to add to the list of essentials for IoT adoption. Making sure your customers know you, or more specifically your product specs, is even more important than ever.
In the past five years, packaging has become a critical piece of a successful solution. System-in-package, 3D chips and 3D packaging have all been created to serve one or more angles of the power/performance/cost pyramid. What about the results once the chip is mounted onto a board with all of its companion chips? How far should the chip manufacturer go in order to control and guarantee performance and reliability in their chips?
As semiconductor manufacturers reduce power consumption with tradeoffs in performance and cost, the end result is a chip that may function significantly different once it is operating on the board. In the past, testing signal paths on a PCB just meant getting an accurate measurement and making a few adjustments. As Lee Ritchey, founder and president of Speeding Edge, points out, today the entire Internet relies on differential signaling to move data. Fortunately, with today’s PCB layout tools, and modern ICs, maintaining alignment of differential signal paths can now be quantified down to one picosecond.
This doesn’t mean that skew as a problem has gone away. Misalignments of two digital signaling paths as well as differences in the velocity of the two paths can be the traced to the glass weaves within PCB laminates.
“Getting to Know You” is more than a hit song from The King and I. Getting to know your PCB designer, your package designer, and your PCB supplier will result in better performing products. Does your customer know your chips, and what can impact the performance of those chips once they are designed onto a board? Will a misstep down the line compromise a chip’s performance in a life-critical application?
Don’t wait for a major problem to arise! Get to know your PCB designer and material supplier at the Semico Impact Conference, Boards, Chips and Packaging: Designing to Maximize Results. While there, meet Lee Richey, the industry´s guru of high-speed PCB and system design, as well as other tool, packaging, materials and supply chain experts. The creation of the system solution now requires planning chip design with packaging and PCB layout to create the optimal end application. For more information and to register, visit www.Semico.com.
Joanne Itow is Managing Director, Manufacturing, at Semico Research. Focusing on analysis for semiconductor manufacturing, Joanne oversees research in the following areas: wafer demand, fab capacity, technology transition and the equipment market. Over the past 11 years, Joanne has specialized in the foundry market, forecasting foundry wafer supply and demand. She is responsible for the development and maintenance of a Wafer Demand Model which forecasts semiconductor wafer demand by product, technology and wafer size.