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2023 | Buch

Understanding Semiconductors

A Technical Guide for Non-Technical People

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Über dieses Buch

Gain complete understanding of electronic systems and their constituent parts. From the origins of the semiconductor industry right up until today, this book serves as a technical primer to semiconductor technology. Spanning design and manufacturing to the basic physics of electricity, it provides a comprehensive base of understanding from transistor to iPhone.

Melding an accessible, conversational style with over 100 diagrams and illustrations, Understanding Semiconductors provides clear explanations of technical concepts going deep enough to fully explain key vernacular, mechanisms, and basic processes, without getting lost in the supporting theories or the theories that support the supporting theories. Concepts are tethered to the real world with crisp analysis of industry dynamics and future trends.

As a break from the straight-ahead scientific concepts that keep the world of semiconductors spinning, Understanding Semiconductors is liberally sprinkled with apt analogies that elucidate difficult concepts. For example, when describing the relationship between voltage, current, power, and the flow of electricity through an electronic system, the book draws a parallel to a hot shower and the water utility system. Most of these are paired with clear visuals, giving you the best chance possible to absorb the concept at hand before moving on to the next topic.

Whether you’re narrowly technical or don’t know silicon from silly putty, working directly in hardware technologies and want to know more, or simply a curious person seeking hard information about the technology that powers the modern world, Understanding Semiconductors will be an informative, dependable resource.


What You'll Learn:

Charge, Electricity, and Basic Physics What are Semiconductors The Semiconductor Value Chain and Design Trade-Offs Transistors and Other Common Circuit Building Blocks Semiconductor Design from Concept to Tapeout Wafer Fabrication and Semiconductor Manufacturing Process Integrated Circuit (IC) Packaging and Signal & Power Integrity (SIPI) Common Circuits and System Components RF and Wireless Technologies System Architecture and Integration The Semiconductor Industry - Challenges, History, and Trends The Future of Semiconductors and Electronic Systems


Who This Book Is For:

People working directly in the semiconductor, electronics, and hardware technologies fields or in supporting industries, hobbyists and new electrical engineering enthusiasts with minimal technical experience or pre-existing qualifications, and curious individuals interested in learning more about a fascinating area of technology. Though designed for a non- or semi-technical reader, engineers focused in one particular domain can also use this book to broaden their understanding in areas that aren’t directly related to their core area of expertise.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Semiconductor Basics
Abstract
Semiconductors are all about harnessing the power of electricity to do amazing things. When you think about it, human advancement has always been characterized by our ability to harness and control powerful natural forces. Sunlight was harnessed to grow crops, gravity was harnessed to move water from rivers to cities, and wind was harnessed to sail across the oceans. In the last 100 years, semiconductors have been the key to harnessing the amazing power of a special natural force – electrical energy. To understand exactly how this works, we first need to learn a bit of the basics of electricity and conductivity.
Corey Richard
Chapter 2. Circuit Building Blocks
Abstract
Before anyone could carry a powerful computer in their pocket, electronic circuits were made up of lots of little components on a circuit board. If you ever opened up an old stereo or television, you've probably seen some of these little green circuit boards covered with black, brown, and silver boxes and cylinders. Those circuits were built with what’s called “discrete components.” The story of electronic circuits begins there…
Corey Richard
Chapter 3. Building a System
Abstract
Transistors and other key components have driven the digital revolution of the last four decades, fueling innovation across all scientific disciplines and industries. If we really sit down and think about it though, transistors are rather unremarkable on their own. A source, a gate, and drain by themselves perform no useful function. It is only strung together, with trillions in investment and the herculean efforts of millions of humanity’s brightest minds focused on building ever more complex designs, that transistors can do what they do today. The most advanced IC’s today require as many as two trillion transistors on a single chip (Hutson, 2021) – imagine if your job required you to get two trillion things right! To accomplish this feat, hardware designers must group and organize electronic systems across ever higher levels of abstraction . In this chapter, we’ll explore how such advanced IC’s are designed, but first we must understand how these levels fit together.
Corey Richard
Chapter 4. Semiconductor Manufacturing
Abstract
We’ve followed the journey of a new chip from high-level system architecture through a mosaic of concurrent design steps and subprocesses and are finally ready to bring our new chip to life. Semiconductor manufacturing is no cakewalk though – fabricating IC’s with billions of transistors with feature lengths only a handful of atoms thick is an incredibly ambitious undertaking that must be done with surgeon-like precision at scale. In this chapter, we’ll explore each step of the recipe from front-end manufacturing through to final assembly and testing. Before we start cooking though, it’s important that we understand some basic terminologies.
Corey Richard
Chapter 5. Tying the System Together
Abstract
Millions of dollars and a year of our design team’s hard work has been spent, but it was well worth it! The fab has finished and shipped your order – 100,000 freshly minted custom processors are on the way. What now? If you’re reading this on a kindle or a laptop, you may have noticed that a screen is in front of you, not a die-package assembly. The truth of the matter is that a well-designed IC is only as good as the system it’s a part of. As Moore’s Law slows down and companies lean more heavily on functional scaling to meet the demands of their customers, system integration has become increasingly important. From advanced interconnects and next generation IC Packaging to signal integrity and power distribution networks, in this chapter we’ll explore the technologies that tie systems together.
Corey Richard
Chapter 6. Common Circuits and System Components
Abstract
From the basics to ASICs, we’ve covered a lot of ground in Chapters 15. We started with foundational electronic physics and transistor structure, then focused on how semiconductors are designed, manufactured, and integrated into larger systems. Though our discussion has helped us build a holistic model of electronic systems, thus far it has largely treated semiconductors as a monolith devoid of differentiating features. In this chapter, we will break apart this monolith, exploring the numerous types of common circuits and system components that comprise the semiconductor family. Before we explore each of these major subcategories, we’ll explore the differences between digital and analog technology.
Corey Richard
Chapter 7. RF and Wireless Technologies
Abstract
We began Chapter 6 by discussing the differences between Analog and Digital signals and the various subcomponents designed to process them. In Chapter 7, we pay particular attention to the analog world as we break down the exciting work of RF and Wireless electronics. From car radios to cell phones, the advent of wireless technologies has enabled instantaneous access to information and entertainment across the globe and on the go, transforming the way we live our daily lives. Before we track this evolution and the hardware technologies that make it possible, we’ll need to survey the electromagnetic spectrum.
Corey Richard
Chapter 8. System Architecture and Integration
Abstract
Having completed our tour of RF and Wireless Technologies in Analog World, we will now shift back to the Digital World to the computational workhorses of the semiconductor world, Microprocessors. Microprocessors are the “brains” of computing systems – they contain the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry necessary to execute instructions, process data, and run sophisticated software programs. With the most advanced personal computing microprocessors today containing over 100 billion transistors, system complexity and design challenges have never been greater (Apple Newsroom, 2022). To overcome such challenges, design leaders must pay close attention to both Micro- and Macro-architectural decisions, carefully balancing the trade-offs between flexibility and performance with the cost and complexity of system tighter integration. In this chapter, we will analyze the architectural decisions and trade-offs these leaders face as they build the next generation of electronic devices.
Corey Richard
Chapter 9. The Semiconductor Industry – Past, Present, and Future
Abstract
Having spent eight chapters dissecting everything from transistor structures to System Architecture, we should be well familiarized with semiconductor technology. The question now begs, how does all this technology play into the big picture? Since its beginnings in the 1960s, the semiconductor industry has faced two ongoing major challenges – rising design costs and increasing manufacturing costs. These two challenges have driven the field from fully integrated design companies to multi-faceted fabless design models we see today. In the following sections, we outline drivers of design costs and manufacturing overhead followed by a discussion of the transformation of the semiconductor ecosystem over the last fifty years.
Corey Richard
Chapter 10. The Future of Semiconductors and Electronic Systems
Abstract
As transistors continue to shrink, confronting their physical limitations becomes unavoidable. Lithographic “stencils” can only etch patterns so small, and molecules, after all, can only be divided so many times. Yet, the doubling of computing power every 18–24 months, as Moore predicted, does not have to end any time soon. You could have made a lot of money over the years betting against all the prognosticators claiming the "end of Moore’s Law.” There are currently many promising research areas, both within existing technology architectures and brand-new sources of computing power, that will continue the technological march of the semiconductor industry for years to come.
Corey Richard
11. Correction to: Understanding Semiconductors
Corey Richard
Corey Richard
Backmatter
Metadaten
Titel
Understanding Semiconductors
verfasst von
Corey Richard
Copyright-Jahr
2023
Verlag
Apress
Electronic ISBN
978-1-4842-8847-4
Print ISBN
978-1-4842-8846-7
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-8847-4