Brian Bailey writes:
Moore’s Law may not be running out of steam, but it may be running out of money, as scaling to smaller geometries becomes more cost prohibitive. We also have an insatiable appetite for memory these days, but our tastes are changing from DRAM to nonvolatile memory—a market largely served by flash devices. Whereas DRAM can possibly scale down to 1 nm, we are already encountering floating-gate scaling problems for NAND flash. The answer to the scaling problem appears to be growing devices “up”; the question is how best to do it.
Three-dimensional die stacking uses a silicon interposer and TSVs (through-silicon vias) to connect the stacked dice electrically, allowing the integration of multiple, smaller dice—each processed using an optimal technology—within a package. Many memory manufacturers are already creating 3-D die-stacked chips in production quantities (Figure 1), and the technology’s use for memories paves the way for its use elsewhere.
More-than-Moore memory grows up - [Link]
Taiwan-based Macronix has found a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout. A limitation of flash memory is simply that eventually it cannot be used; the more cells in the memory chips are erased, the less useful to store data. The write-erase cycles degrade insulation; eventually the cell fails. “Flash wears out after being programmed and erased about 10,000 times,” said the IEEE Spectrum. Engineers at Macronix have a solution that moves flash memory over to a new life. They propose a “self-healing” NAND flash memory solution that can survive over 100 million cycles.
“Self-healing” NAND flash memory - [Link]
Tessel Renzenbrink writes:
With everybody constantly on their phones, the emergence of the Internet of Things and augmented reality, ubiquitous computing does not seem all that far-fetched anymore. That being so, the question arises how we will interface with our smart cars, our smart homes and our domestic robots? Will we hunch over tablets to control the sound and lighting systems in the house? Make exaggerated gestures to control our motion-sensing robot? Talk to our smart albeit inanimate car? Or will we take out the middle man and interface with our smart environment directly with our brain.
Carbon Microthread Connects Brain to Machine - [Link]
Brian Bailey writes :
Flash memory has very quickly risen from being an obscure memory type to perhaps becoming the dominant memory type for many devices, including music players, cell phones, tablets and now increasingly servers and mainstream PCs. But flash memory does not scale quite as well as the more traditional DRAM that it is replacing. It is thought that DRAM can scale down to 1nm whereas we are already hitting some problems with the scaling of the floating gate in NAND flash. It is not thought that planar NAND can go below 10nm which is only a couple of processes steps away from where we are today.
3D NAND flash is coming - [Link]
Biomedical engineers have created electronic devices that wink out of existence at a predetermined point in time. They’re called transient electronics and are the result of a collaboration of Tufts University, University of Illinois and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The engineers build tiny electronic systems on ultrathin sheets of silicon of a few tens of nanometers thick. When exposed to liquid like water or bio fluids the device dissolves breaking down in traces of silicon and magnesium. Because of the small amount these components can be harmlessly assimilated by bio systems like the human body. [via]
Transient Electronics Dissolve in Liquid - [Link]
Research laboratory Imec has announced that it has integrated an ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as wearable health monitors or smart clothing.
For the demonstration, the researchers thinned a commercially available microcontroller down to 30µm, preserving the electrical performance and functionality. This die was then embedded in a slim polyimide package (40-50µm thick). Next, this ultrathin chip was integrated with stretchable electrical wiring. These were realized by patterning polyimide-supported meandering horseshoe-shaped wires, a technology developed and optimized at the lab. Last, the package is embedded in an elastomeric substrate, e.g. polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). In this substrate, the conductors behave as two dimensional springs, enabling greater flexibility while preserving conductivity. [via]
Electronics that Flex and Stretch like Skin - [Link]
In an effort to bring the advantages of relay logic to the modern world of miniaturized devices, research groups in various parts of the world are exploring ways to develop nanoscale mechanical relays that can be used to build process controllers. Although typically slower than semiconductor logic devices, relays have the advantage of very low quiescent power and bidirectional current flow. Nanoscale relays can additionally achieve significantly higher switching rates than their normal-scale cousins. [via]
Relay Logic Goes Nano - [Link]
The ATF697FF is the newest member of Atmel’s SPARC V8 processor family and the industry’s first radiation-hardened (RAD Hard) high-performance aerospace microprocessor that can be reconfigured on-the-fly. The ability to reconfigure on-the-fly allows making on-going design modifications to satellites, including specification updates, in-flight adjustments during trial flights and post-launch alterations.
The new device is a reconfigurable processor that combines an AT697F processor and an ATF280F SRAM-based FPGA unit in a single multichip module. It can run at speeds up to 100MHz and it is low-power, down to 0.7W. Designed and developed by the Atmel Aerospace Business Unit in Rousset, France, adds the flexibility of a reprogrammable FPGA to the reliability of a powerful core processor running application software. It is targeted at systems that require reconfiguration of peripherals and interfaces, making it easy to comply and stay up-to-date with evolving standards that are used on many space missions, such as SpaceWire, CAN or IEEE1553. The flexibility of the ATF697FF processor is also beneficial for late design modifications performed on Earth, for in-flight adjustments on satellites and for space trial operations. [via]
Reconfigurable Processor for Space Applications - [Link]
Exynos 5 Dual supports resolutions of up to 2560×1600 as well as SATA, USB 3.0.
amsung has just released details about its new Exynos 5 5250 SoC for mobile devices. This dual-core, 1.7GHz chip is the first one on the market to feature the new Cortex A15 CPU architecture from ARM, which will provide substantially improved performance over the Cortex A9-based chips used in most of today’s smartphones and tablets.
The chip also includes ARM’s new Mali-T604 GPU designed to power Retina-class displays and support high-performance connectivity options like SATA and USB 3.0. These improvements make it a substantial upgrade over current-generation products like NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 or Samsung’s own Exynos 4. We’ll look at different aspects of the chip to see not just how the Exynos 5 and other Cortex A15 SoCs will benefit current tablets, but also how those improvements could lead to more viable laptop replacements.
New Samsung Cortex A15-based chip opens door to “Retina” Android tablets - [Link]