Calif.—You can feel the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) in your bones,
like a relentless hum. You already know what the mobile revolution has done to
society and the electronics business, much of that just in recent years.
So you can
envision what IoT (or as Alberto
Sangiovanni-Vincentelli calls "the swarm") will do in an even
shorter period of time.
integration, power, and cost loom as potent challenges. The conversation today
surrounds what 16nm
finFET and beyond will do to enable the explosion of a vast market of
Lees, senior vice president and general manager for microcontrollers with
Freescale, sees something different—something more attainable right now.
The 28nm proposition
keynoted Cadence's Mixed-Signal Technology Summit (Oct. 10) believes that 28nm
and the sunk investment in the node in the past five years is the catalyst for
juicing that market and tackling the cost, integration, and power issues without
waiting for FinFETs and the expensive infrastructure buildout associated with them.
While cost for
20nm, 16nm, and 14nm FinFET nodes "is going off the scale," the same was not
true for 28nm compared with the 40nm node.
Lees told the
"In our opinion, from the user side,
a huge amount of the foundry space, particularly in 40 and 28 capacity built in
the last five years—mostly equipment installed into later generation 300mm
facilities—will be converted to 28nm. We see an enormous overhang of 28nm
capacity for the next 15 years."
there's a perfect opportunity to take the time to develop the "richness of
analog and RF technologies" and to have "useful time for integration
without that node skipping to the next process node two or three years later,
requiring the whole mixed-sgnal ecosystem being redone again."
could say that 28nm is the last simple node," he added.
What will this
enable? It will enable approaches (pictured
in the photo) of integrated modules for edge nodes, which need robust communications protocols, bullet-proof durability, and ultra-low power
power will need to be increased exponentially, on-chip RAM needs to rise from
16-20Kbytes to 300-500Kb, the "minimum level" needed for full
security, Java, network compliance, specs, profiles, and drivers, and with
something up to 1MB of non-volatile memory, Lees said. Neither 40nm nor 65nm
nodes is capable of this level of performance and potential integration.
where we feel the richness of mixed-signal integration. The longevity of that
node will allow us to create those products," Lees said.
The 28nm node
is also where MEMS integration gets more traction. Lees showed a slide
describing a 2x2x0.5mm module that was a full 32-bit MCU. It featured 40mA/MHz of dynamic power, ultra-low standby power (down to nano-amps in deep
sleep), mixed-signal integration to 12 bit, and an integrated temp sensor that
could be calibrated to 16 bit. The 60 percent mixed-signal device would have
been at least one board 15 years ago, Lees noted.
Forum: 16nm FinFET Design Challenges Met by Custom/Analog Reference Flow
2013: Wild ride through the mind of Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli