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Written by and for the design community, 3D by Design features thought leaders who understand the benefits of designing in 3D and have been instrumental in the commercialization of 3D integration technologies.

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Path Finding Series Part 3: The Cost of Non-robust Design

In previous posts, I discussed a process for process-centering a design. In this post, we will examine how non-robust design’s erratic yields can impact the manufacturing environment and cost of a product. A non-robust design will have at least one specification that is skewed away from the specification’s center as shown in Figure 1. But what happens if your design is NOT robust? Does the pro... »

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Defining Test Access Between Stacked Die

Accelerating the adoption of interposer and 3D designs depends on several advances across the design and manufacturing ecosystem. Standards are a part of the ecosystem. Now, stay with me. I know standards put some people to sleep, but I won’t be going into any gory details, just talking about the motivations and status of some key standards relating to silicon test. First, there is an update to ... »

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Path Finding Series Part 2: What if I do not have a robust design?

In previous posts, I discussed Robust Design analysis as orthogonal Path Finding. This analysis is performed while the design implementation is held constant but with varying manufacturing process parameters. This will determine how sensitive a design is within the process(es) it will be manufactured. The previous post highlighted the negative consequences if a design is released to manufacturing ... »

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Path Finding Series Part 1: NOT a One-trick Pony

In previous posts, I discussed a classical Path Finding methodology.¹ Classical is when various design variables are arranged in different configurations while holding Process Variables (variation) constant. Examples would be: vary the RDL pitches, vary the size of balls or pillars used, vary the length/diameter of wire bonds, etc. This allows Path Finding to identify the solutions that meet requ... »

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3D By Design: PDKs Can Enable an Open Market for Interposer and 3D Solutions

As an integral part of the established integrated circuit (IC) supply chain, Outsourced Assembly and Test (OSAT) companies offer IC packaging services on the open market, independent of the chip manufacturer or foundry. OSATs are a subset of the total worldwide IC packaging market, since some IC package assembly is still performed in-house at integrated semiconductor manufacturers (ISM). However, ... »

Can Product Design learn a Trick from Manufacturing?

You might think this is crazy but bear with me for 421 words. Early in my career, I worked at an IDM as a product engineer and manager over IC products. ‘We’ were responsible for the overall product cost, maintaining yields (including speed binning) as well as improving yields. This was long before the SoC/ASIC disaggregation. This IDM was vertically integrated and had its own mask production,... »

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3D By Design: Exploring Viable Path Finding

Fruitful path finding eventually identifies solutions that are viable for mechanical, electrical, thermal, and cost (METC) requirements. Hopefully, more than one viable solution is found to offer a backup in case something was overlooked during exploration or your supply chain can no longer support your needs. Even if you need to re-explore due to changing situations, path finding is still faster... »

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Designing in 3D? Don’t Make These DFT Mistakes

The semiconductor industry hasn’t adopted 3D ICs as quickly as many in the industry expected. There are some barriers that perhaps have kept the cost/benefit analysis stuck in the ‘scaling’ camp rather than moving it to the ‘3D’ camp. However, many companies are preparing for the move to 2.5D and 3D in the future. From a DFT perspective, the barriers are actually quite low; designers hav... »

3D By Design: Are Path Finding Tools the Missing Link?

TechSearch International’s recently published 3D IC Gap Analysis report has a section for a new class of tools called Path Finding, which are separated from the classical EDA tools. The classical EDA tools discuss implementation and verification for IC, package, and PCB. Path Finding tools are used well before the Implementation/Verification cycles begin and should help reduce the number of cyc... »

3D By Design: A Blog By and For the 3D Design Community

Earlier this year, I published an open letter to chip and system-level designers regarding 3D integration, suggesting they consider 3D integration technologies as a solution to dealing with the increasing complexity of SoC designs. The post was inspired by my attendance at the Design and Test Europe (DATE 2014) conference, where I moderated a session on system on chip (SoC) design complexity, and ... »

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