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Showing posts for December 2020


16 December 2020

What does the future hold for the electronic component industry?

The future of the electronic component industry looks very healthy indeed thanks to tailwinds from 5G, robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, edge computing and several other emerging technologies.

A few of the companies destined to benefit from the advancement of these technologies include Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Würth Elektronik, Eaton Corp, Micron, MaxLinear, Hitachi and Qualcomm. There are hundreds more who are operating foundries and factories at maximum capacity to meet demand already.

Key to meeting the demand is an increase in manufacturing capability, which many companies will have to build through capital expenditure. We are already seeing an increase in investment from many of the aforementioned companies.

As for electronic component distributors, the phrase “a rising tide raises all ships” is a perfect expression. Component distributors like us will see an increase in demand in the future as our world becomes more technology-focussed.

These are the technologies that we see fuelling electronic component growth in the near future (we already mentioned a few in our opening paragraph):

  • 5G
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Big data
  • Edge computing
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Biotechnology
  • Batteries and power
  • Displays
  • Semiconductors and GPUs
  • Automated driving
  • Consumer electronics: VR, AR, smartphones, tablets

Every infrastructure, and every product, will need a unique set of electronic components in its design. Factories and foundries will make the components, and electric component distributors will help manufacturers source them.

Meeting the uptick in demand

There’s one certainty in the electronics industry: demand on components increases as technologies become more complex. We see this with semiconductors, which are getting smaller (2nm), with 5G, which requires more components than 4G, and in robotics, which require powerful Lidar guidance systems.

To meet this uptick in demand, there are companies that specialise in making specific components and machines.

For example, Axcelis Technologies, headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, makes ion implant equipment vital to semiconductor fabrication. Then we have Micron, who recently announced high-density 3D NAND flash memory.

The innovation and investment in new technologies from leading companies is a clear sign that the electronic component industry is not just healthy, but thriving, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The role of electronic component distributors

Our place in all this as an electronic component distributor is to help our customers (who include OEMs, foundries, factories and assemblers) to source the components they need to operate their business.

We are crucial to our customers because we are a global distributor. We enable industry players to buy electronic components with confidence at competitive prices, and our links in the industry allow our customers to gain a competitive edge.

As demand has increased for electronic components, competition has intensified, and it really isn’t uncommon for companies to have to bid for components. This is the result of a market that doesn’t produce enough components for certain applications. We exist to help all companies source the components they need.

With us, you get a fast response to your enquiries and reliable on time delivery. There’s no better partner to have on your side.

Click Here and visit our site today to use our fast component search tool and enquire with us today!

 

Tags: 5g robotics automation ai electronic components


16 December 2020

The multimodal transistor (MMT) is a new design philosophy for electronics

mmt

Researchers from the University of Surrey and University of Rennes have developed a technology called the multimodal transistor (MMT), which could revolutionise electronics by simplifying circuits and increasing design freedom.

The multimodal transistor is a thin-film transistor that performs the same job as more complex circuits. The MMT sandwiches metals, insulators and semiconductors together in a package that’s considerably thinner than a normal circuit.

However, the key breakthrough with the MMT is its immunity to parasitic effects (unwanted oscillations). The MMT allows consistent, repeatable signals, increasing a transistor’s performance. This is necessary for precision circuits to function as intended and is especially useful for next-gen tech like AI and robotics.

How it works

In the image below, we can see the design of the MMT. CG1 provides the means to control the quantity of charge, while CG2 is the channel control gate. CG1 controls the current level and CG2 controls the on/off state.

MMT2

This is a massive shift in transistor design because it enables far greater engineering freedom. It is a simple and elegant design, yet it is so useful. It has numerous applications in analogue computation and hardware learning.

Digital-to-analogue conversion

MOSFET transistors are one of the building blocks of modern electronics, but they are non-linear and inefficient.

In a conventional circuit, gate electrodes are used to control a transistor’s ability to pass current. The MMT works differently. Instead of using gate electrodes, it controls on/off switching independently from the amount of current that passes through. This allows the MMT to operate at a higher speed with a linear dependence between input and output. This is useful for digital-to-analogue conversion.

The breakthrough in all its glory

The MMT transforms the humble transistor into a linear device that delivers a linear dependence between input and output. It separates charge injection from conduction, a new design that achieves independent current on/off switching.

There is a profound increase in switching speed as a result of this technology, enabling engineers to develop faster electronics. Researchers estimate that the switching speed is as much as 10 times faster. Also, fewer transistors are needed, increasing the yield rate and reducing the cost to manufacture the circuit.  

Just how revolutionary the MMT will be remains to be seen. After all, this is a technology without commercialisation. It could find its way into the electronics we use on a daily basis, like our phones. The potential is for the MMT to be printable, allowing for mass production and integration into billions of electrical devices.

With devices getting smarter and digital transformation advancing at a rapid rate, the electronics industry is booming. Semiconductor foundries are at peek capacity and more electrical devices are being sold than ever. The MMT is a unique solution to a problem, and it could make manufacturing electronics cheaper.   

With this, comes a great opportunity for the MMT to replace MOSFET transistors. We can think of few other design philosophies with such wicked potential.

 

 

 

Tags: mmt transistors ai robotics electronic components semiconductors


02 December 2020

How “Chiplets” May Help the Future of Semiconductor Technology

Chiplets

The global demand for semiconductors is accelerating faster than a speeding bullet, with integrated device manufacturers, systems companies, and foundries like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company making a killing.

This accelerating demand is largely fuelled by the rollout of 5G infrastructure and the increasingly connected devices we use on a daily basis. From semi-autonomous driving aids to the connected home, semiconductors power our digital lives. They are the brains of every smart electronics operation.

In the semiconductor industry, advancements come fast. Some companies have been painfully slow to react to change. Intel is a good example - they have fluffed the development of their 7nm chips and are stuck at 12nm, while AMD already has 7nm chips and is on course to deliver a 5nm chip. Nvidia is even further ahead.  

Chiplets

Chiplets are a proven (but niche) way for semiconductor developers to make semiconductors more efficient and easier to produce.

As semiconductors get more advanced, they get smaller. At a sub 10nm scale, foundries have to be spotlessly clean. This brings with it manufacturing complexities. Also, the smaller transistors get, the more likely they are to fail.

You can increase the yield of dies with small transistors by reducing the overall size. But as you reduce the size of the die, you have less space for the transistors.

So, one solution is Chiplets. Chiplets are smaller functional dies that integrate multiple chiplets into a single semiconductor. By giving functions of their own circuits (sub-circuits) we can remove design complexity and focus on efficiency.

Maximising yield reduces the cost

Using chiplets maximises the yield of dies and reduces design complexity, which in turn reduces manufacturing cost. To give you an idea of how much, AMD says chiplet designs can cut costs by more than half. 50%! That’s an astonishing saving and worth the effort if it also means keeping up with technological change.

(For what it’s worth, AMD uses chiplet design in its Zen 2 and Ryzen chips. The idea being that taking smaller dies and putting them together improves yield).

Intel is also a fan of chiplet design, and they have a vision for advancing it further, where instead of multiple dies, each IP has its own building block. This creates a more modular and flexible configuration. Here’s an illustration:

chiplet internal image

This is an exciting technology because the chiplets with IP/SOC are considerably smaller than the chiplets used in multiple dies. The benefit of this is you can configure the chiplets in more ways and maintain a common architecture.

Chiplets - the future, or not?

Chiplet design is already being used by AMD, and Nvidia has said they will go chiplet when it’s economically viable to do so. This means two of the three biggest CPU and GPU companies on the planet are on the chiplet train. As for Intel, they are too - but it looks like they will go their own way to build the chiplet model they want.

Clearly, chiplets are here to stay. Scaling chips with monolithic dies will always be a thing, but it gets expensive with advanced nodes. Chiplets are necessary to break up the cost and deliver the massive number of chips our connected world needs.

Tags: electronic components chiplets semiconductors 5g


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