Researchers in Sweden and the US report using semiconducting nanowires to grow complex nanostructures with a specific design. "We have grown and characterized saw-tooth-shaped potential structures in indium arsenide phosphide nanowires, and have shown that an asymmetric saw-tooth potential essentially looks and behaves like a 1D ratchet that has current rectification properties very close to those of a perfect diode," said Lars Samuelson of Sweden's Lund University.
Samsung Electronics presented a paper on a 128-megabit SRAM made with a 10-nanometer FinFET process at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. The chipmaker still plans to initiate volume production of 10nm FinFET ICs by the end of 2016, Samsung's Kelvin Low said.
Industry sources say companies in Taiwan's semiconductor supply chain expect they will begin restocking their inventories late in this quarter or during early second quarter. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. forecasts its revenue will increase by 5% to 10% this year, with worldwide demand for smartphones driving the growth.
Dialog Semiconductor introduced a line of integrated power management chips specifically designed for use in set-top boxes and Internet-connected televisions. The new PMICs may also be used in personal media boxes and video streaming sticks.
William Holt of Intel said the chipmaker may resort to tunneling transistors or spintronics in four or five years. Semiconductor manufacturers will have to sacrifice speed for lower energy consumption in the future, he predicted in a presentation at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.
ICs designed for use in electric vehicles and hybrids require more elaborate verification than most automotive chips. "[W]hen you go to nanometer technologies, they’re doing more and more characterizations because they need to understand effects of the device noise, low-voltage margins, variability on the ICs and so forth. When you look at these automotive chips, yes, there is a huge number of characterizations that go beyond the traditional issues of what are the corners, what are the voltages, what are the operating conditions," said Mick Tegethoff of Mentor Graphics.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo said they developed germanium-based photonic components that can steer mid-infrared light. "Germanium has several properties that suit it to transmit and guide mid-infrared light," said Jian Kang, a doctoral candidate at the university.
Spin Transfer Technologies says it has come up with a working prototype of a spin-transfer magnetoresistive random-access memory on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor wafers. It could be used in such applications as automotive electronics, cache memory, data storage, industrial equipment and mobile devices.
NXP Semiconductors reported 2015 sales of $6.1 billion, an increase of 8% from a year earlier. Operating income posted a 19% gain to $1.68 billion. The 2015 results included nearly one month of revenue contribution from Freescale Semiconductor, acquired in early December.
MC10, a startup established by John Rogers, a material scientist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is developing custom-made sensors for L'Oreal and other clients. IDTechEx forecasts custom sensors will be about 42% of all sensors used in wearable electronics 10 years from now, compared with 7% in 2015.
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