UC Berkeley discovers new transistor design to help chips reduce computing power

According to foreign reports, in a recent study published in the journal Nature, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley said they have made a major breakthrough in the design of transistors on chips. That is to say, by improving its key role in the switching of the transistor, called the gate oxide layer, the power consumption can be greatly reduced without sacrificing the computing speed and the size of the chip.

According to Sayeef Salahuddin, a distinguished professor of foundry leader TSMC and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, who is the author of the paper, it is currently necessary to pass trillions of dollars worth of semiconductor industry talent. The progress achieved, basically our research has been able to make breakthroughs. It is understood that such an increase in energy consumption is achieved through a so-called negative capacitance effect, which helps reduce the voltage required to store charge in the material. In the past, Sayeef Salahuddin predicted the existence of negative capacitance in a theoretical study in 2008, and also demonstrated this effect in a ferroelectric crystal in 2011.

The new study shows how negative capacitance effects can be created in an engineered crystal composed of layered stacks of hafnium oxide and zirconium oxide. And because this crystal is so compatible with advanced silicon crystals, by incorporating this material, it can be incorporated into transistor models. The study also shows how the negative capacitance effect can greatly reduce the voltage required to control the transistor, and therefore reduce the power consumed by the chip. Salahuddin said that energy consumption for computing has grown exponentially over the past 10 years and now accounts for a single-digit percentage of world energy production. Moreover, this massive number will only grow, and there is no end to it. Therefore, our goal is to reduce this fundamental energy requirement for computing, as this will reduce the energy usage of the entire system.

For now, the most advanced laptops and smartphones contain tens of billions of tiny silicon transistors, each of which must be controlled by applying a voltage. The gate oxide is a thin layer of material that controls the transistor by converting the applied voltage into electric charge, then switching the transistor on and off. In this case, the negative capacitance effect can improve the performance of the gate oxide by reducing the amount of voltage required for a particular charge, but this effect cannot be achieved in any material. So, creating the negative capacitance effect requires careful manipulation of a material property called ferroelectricity, which occurs when a material exhibits a spontaneous electric field. Previously, this effect was only achieved in the ferroelectric material of peroxide, but the crystal structure of peroxide is incompatible with silicon, making it difficult to apply it to the silicon transistors used in current wafers.

In addition, the team noted that by combining hafnium oxide and zirconium oxide in an engineered crystal structure called a superlattice, experiments have also demonstrated that negative capacitance effects can be achieved, and that ferroelectric and antiferroelectric properties can also be achieved. Sex exists at the same time. “This combination actually gives us a better negative capacitance effect, which means this phenomenon is more widespread than originally thought,” said Suraj Cheema, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who was a member of the research team. Much more than just happens in the traditional basis of ferroelectrics and dielectrics. In fact, antiferroelectricity and ferroelectricity can also be exploited by designing these crystal structures to make them more effective.

The report further states that the researchers also found that the total thickness of the superlattice structure consisting of three atomic layers of zirconia sandwiched between two single atomic layers of hafnium oxide is less than two nanometers, which provides the best negative capacitance effect environment. Since most state-of-the-art silicon transistors have used two-nanometer zirconium dioxide consisting of hafnium oxide on top of silicon dioxide, and zirconium oxide is also used in silicon technology, superlattice structures can be easily integrated into advanced transistors. To test the performance of the superlattice structure as zirconium dioxide, the research team also fabricated short-channel transistors and further tested its capabilities. Xie Guo shows that these transistors will require about 30% less voltage than existing transistors, while maintaining the benchmark in the semiconductor industry without compromising reliability.

Ecological changes in the semiconductor supply chain, research: packaging lead time is extended to 50 weeks

Semiconductor packaging lead times continue to lengthen, and IC design service consulting firm Sondrel pointed out that due to the change in the order of capacity reservations in the semiconductor supply chain, and the time it takes for new packaging capacity to be in place and personnel training, the packaging lead time has been extended to 50 weeks.

UK-based IC design services consultancy Sondrel has warned that although the semiconductor supply shortage appears to be easing, the package lead time has been extended to 50 weeks.

Sondrel pointed out that in the early days of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak, packaging factories faced customer orders cut, but with the recovery of semiconductor production capacity, packaging factories tried their best to solve the large number of orders such as the tsunami, but established new production capacity. It takes time to train skilled operators.

According to Sondrel’s analysis, the order of production capacity reservations in the semiconductor supply chain has changed. In the past, it took about 12 weeks to complete the IC design and then hand it over to the wafer manufacturing. Factory ready. The current situation is that it takes at least 20 weeks to complete the packaging design and production capacity before the semiconductor design is completed to ensure that the wafer fabrication and packaging are completed together.

Sondrel pointed out that if new semiconductor manufacturing process patterns are not observed, the wafer production cycle will be delayed to about 40 weeks.

ASE Investment Control, a major packaging and testing company, previously pointed out that the semiconductor industry continues to expand capital expenditures, equipment delivery times continue to lengthen, and the supply of wafers, carrier boards, lead frames, etc. is still tight. However, according to customer information, semiconductor production capacity and supply chain constraints will continue beyond 2023.

Industry insiders and Japanese foreign legal persons said that last year, the production capacity of packaging factories increased by 10% to 20%, and packaging factories continued to open new production capacity this year. However, Japanese foreign legal persons pointed out that this year, the semiconductor packaging and testing foundries (OSAT) should pay attention to it. Whether the market supply and demand reverses, wafer inventory adjustment, changes in Chinese chip demand and other variables, the capital expenditure plan for this year will be adjusted in a timely manner.

Meta adds new features to allow its platform Horizon Worlds to pilot a “virtual economy”

Meta began testing a new feature on Monday (11th) to sell virtual items and experiences within its VR platform Horizon Worlds, which is currently only available to a small group of creators.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that if you imagine the virtual world of the future, the ability to sell virtual goods and be able to bring them from one world to another is going to be an important component.

Meta said in a statement that the tools will initially be available to select users of Horizon Worlds who create virtual courses, games and fashion accessories, allowing them to sell their accessories or set up digital spaces for a fee. According to reports, all users who can enter Horizon Worlds can make virtual world in-app purchases.

In addition, Meta also provides a “Creator Bonus” program to some Horizon Worlds users in the United States. As a test, Meta will provide monthly compensation to participants who try out new features after they are launched.

At present, Meta is aggressively attacking the metaverse. Although its Quest headset sold quite well during the Christmas holiday, the VR business has accumulated more than $10 billion in losses. Additionally, as community platforms such as Horizon Worlds grow, Meta must learn to keep virtual communities safe, as too many users report being harassed in virtual worlds, and other users report that the platform is filled with too many young kids.

Musk does not join the board of directors, will he make a “hostile merger” Twitter?

Recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk became the largest shareholder of the well-known social media Twitter and is expected to take the board of directors, driving Twitter’s stock price soaring. But Twitter CEO Parag Agarawal later confirmed that Musk would not join the board, a move that analysts pointed out gave Musk an opportunity to hostile takeover Twitter, which could lead to further volatility in Twitter’s stock.

CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and other foreign media reported that Twitter submitted a document to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the 5th that it plans to appoint Musk to the board of directors for a term until 2024. According to the agreement between the two parties, Musk agreed to acquire no more than 14.9% of Twitter’s outstanding shares during his tenure as a director of Twitter.

The report pointed out that Musk’s decision not to join Twitter’s board means that his stake is no longer capped at 14.9%. In this case, many analysts believe that Musk can try to fight for the company’s operating rights by continuing to buy shares of Twitter.

The so-called “hostile merger” means that the acquirer, without the consent of the board of directors of the target company, uses a large amount of funds to obtain a controlling stake, and then achieves the ultimate goal of becoming an operator.

Don Bilson, a research consultant at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, said Agarawal’s announcement on Twitter that Musk would not be joining the board and warning employees of “distractions ahead” in a statement was unusual.

Twitter’s regulatory documents submitted to the SEC show that Musk acquired a total of 73,486,938 shares of Twitter for $2.89 billion, holding a 9.2% passive stake in Twitter and becoming Twitter’s largest external shareholder.

After the news was exposed, Twitter’s stock price soared 27.12% on April 4, the largest single-day increase since its IPO, and rose again by 2.02% on the 5th. The latest closing price on the 11th was $47.01.

It is worth noting that Twitter does not have a dual-class stock structure like Google parent company Alphabet or Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), that is, stocks with high voting rights have more decision-making power. Therefore, Twitter must adopt “poison pills” (poison pills), selling shares to the company’s original shareholders at a discount, raising the cost of the acquirer, in order to counter the hostile mergers.

Bitcoin breaks $40,000, and the market is extremely fearful that $30,000 will be probed in June

Bitcoin fell below the $40,000 round-point level with tech stocks for the first time since March 16. Arthur Hayes, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, predicts that Bitcoin could hit $30,000 by the end of June.

Business Insiders and MarketWatch reported that Hayes said on his blog on the 11th that the trend of Bitcoin has always been closely related to large technology stocks, and there is a risk of a sharp decline in the future, because the technology industry is once again faced with rising nominal interest rates, reduced global fiat currency liquidity, and economic growth. Slow down the pressure.

The chart shown by Hayes shows that from the perspective of 10-day, 30-day and 90-day periods, Bitcoin is closely linked with the Nasdaq 100 index, and the short-term (10-day) correlation is even higher.

As long as the 10-day correlation remains high, investment positions in cryptocurrencies need to be conservative, Hayes said. He predicts that Bitcoin may drop to $30,000 by the end of the second quarter of this year (in June). Hayes said that the Fed has no plans to expand its balance sheet in the near future, which means that it is difficult for the stock market to reach new highs. He believes that the Russian-Ukrainian war will push up the price of raw materials, which will hit the global economy.

Charlie Erith, CEO of cryptocurrency investment agency ByteTree, said that as long as Bitcoin holds its fair value of $38,000, it is unlikely to crash in the short term. However, below this hurdle, the situation becomes quite pessimistic.

According to CoinDesk quotations, as of 10:51 a.m. Taipei time on the 12th, bitcoin was at $39,479.39, down 5.67% from 24 hours ago; it has fallen 14.45% year-to-date.

According to Alternative.me data, when Bitcoin was quoted at $39,666 on the 12th, the Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index (Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index) followed to 20 points, reaching the “extreme fear” level.

Without truckers delivering goods, Shanghai blockade will repeat supply chain nightmare

Under the implementation of the zero-clearing policy, Shanghai has been blocked for nearly a month. Since the factory cannot deliver goods, the cargo carrier has cut prices to strive for export goods, so that the immediate ocean freight rate has dropped. This is a signal before the supply chain chaos two years ago. The market is worried that if Shanghai once Unblocking, these delayed orders will again cause congestion in all aspects of logistics, and ocean freight rates may soar again.

Shanghai, a city of 25 million people and one of China’s largest manufacturing and export hubs, is currently under an indefinite city-wide lockdown, and while China has not closed ports as it did during the 2021 Covid-19 pandemic, due to inland quarantine measures This has led to the closure of some factories and a severe shortage of truck drivers to transport goods from factories to warehouses to ports.

Truck drivers are an important part of China’s supply chain, transporting raw materials from coastal ports to factories farther inland. Foreign media reports pointed out that some drivers in China are now reluctant to go to Shanghai because they are worried that they will be quarantined. Similarly, other cities are also reluctant to allow Shanghai truck drivers to come in, which has caused the factory to export goods that cannot be shipped smoothly.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has informed customers that the port is experiencing significant congestion due to the impact of the epidemic prevention measures in Shanghai, including the lack of available trucking restricting unloading capacity, and the insufficient supply of reefer container plugs, sometimes not at all, if Without an available power source, MSC will not be able to unload reefer containers at designated ports.

From the start of Shanghai’s lockdown on March 12 to April 8, container shipping rates fell 5% to $9,280 per container. Some routes saw even steeper declines, such as between Europe and China, which saw a 9% drop. Another data released on April 8 showed that from March 12 to April 4, the volume of goods shipped by sea from Shanghai fell by 26%, while the volume of truck cargo carrying goods leaving the port at the same time fell by 19%. With so little cargo, shipping lines are preparing to announce empty ships from Asia in the next few weeks.

The number of ships waiting to berth at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has also dropped sharply over the past few weeks, with an average berthing delay of less than two days, a sharp departure from the heavy traffic jams at the end of last year and the beginning of the year, but the chief executive of supply chain freight platform Shifl warned that when When China lifts the blockade, there could be a new wave of congestion at U.S. West Coast ports.

The timing of a return to normal business in China by then may be inopportune, and if it coincides with docker contract negotiations, port operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have traditionally been shut down and ship queues are extended, potentially putting more pressure on freight rates. A Bloomberg interview with Citi analysts noted that Shanghai’s truck driver shortage and warehouse closures also affected nearby Zhejiang and Jiangsu, major manufacturing hubs that account for about a third of China’s total exports Seriously affect regional supply chains, especially Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea.

The logistics industry has foreseen that when factories reopen in the future, there will be a lot of cargo to be shipped, Chinese ports will not have enough containers, and prices will rise, once again disrupting the global supply chain that has only just recovered slightly.

Honda invests $40 billion to launch 30 electric cars by 2030

Honda Motor today released an electrification strategy blueprint, with an estimated investment of $40 billion to launch as many as 30 pure electric vehicles in the next few years, and to achieve a full electrification transition by 2040.

The electrification of Japanese carmakers has been troubled enough for a long time. Honda finally made up its mind to fully invest in electric vehicles, announcing a total amount of 5 trillion yen (about NT$1.2 trillion), hoping to launch 30 pure electric vehicles by 2030. The banner of full electrification in 2040.

Not only are there many models of cars, Honda will promote the pure electric vehicle market with an annual production capacity of 2 million units. At the same time, they are also building a pilot production line for the production of solid-state batteries, which is expected to start production in 2024.

Honda, Japan’s second largest car manufacturer, has continued to accelerate its electrification after it announced last year that it would stop selling fuel vehicles in 2040. Currently, the most active layout is in China. They jointly launched the new Honda e:N brand with Dongfeng and SAIC. Ten pure electric vehicles will be launched.

In the Chinese market, all Honda models after 2030 will be pure electric versions.

The newly appointed Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibu boldly abandoned the previous Honda one-stop development strategy, but pragmatically adopted a multi-party cross-border alliance approach to face the complex and challenging era of electric vehicles. “Time is the essence of this competition,” said Toshihiro Mibu.

The most anticipated cooperation is definitely the super crossover between Honda and Sony. Will the joint efforts of these two Japanese companies make Toyota feel pressure? On the other hand, in the US market, Honda chose to cooperate with General Motors, in addition to car-making technology cooperation, more importantly, to obtain the general Ultium battery technology. At present, Honda is still looking for suitable battery partners to form a joint venture to produce lithium batteries for vehicles.

Although Taiwanese society holds the attitude that the sky is falling and it is none of our business towards electric vehicles, with the comprehensive promotion of low-carbon transportation in the United States, China, Europe and the ASEAN Electric products, I am afraid we will miss this crucial opportunity for transformation, then the dominance of the past few decades will be shaken within 5 years.

Catching up with the Japanese factory, Samsung Electro-Mechanics pushes the high temperature MLCC to attack the automotive market

The second brother of the global multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC), Samsung Electro-Mechanics, has caught up with the Japanese factory in technology and has developed a high-temperature automotive transmission system MLCC, which is to attack the automotive market.

The Korea Times and BusinessKorea reported that the internal temperature of the transmission system of traditional cars and electric vehicles can reach 150 degrees Celsius, and the parts used need to be extremely reliable. Samsung Electro-Mechanics has developed 13 MLCCs for automotive drivetrains that can withstand temperatures as high as 150 degrees Celsius.

Before that, only Japanese factory Murata and TDK could produce such MLCCs. Now Samsung Electro-Mechanics has successfully entered the market and can take a share of the fast-growing automotive MLCC market. A Samsung Electro-Mechanics spokesman said the company has expanded its range of automotive parts to improve product competitiveness and expand its market share.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ new products come in a variety of sizes and capacities, including 3325 models (3.2mm wide and 2.5mm long), small 1608 models, and high capacitance 22uF models.

MLCCs are the core components of electronic devices such as smartphones, and can control the steady flow of current in circuits. Nowadays, more and more electronic devices are used in vehicles, and the automotive market has become a coveted pie for MLCC manufacturers.

Finally want to say goodbye to bangs? Apple wins patent for under-screen Face ID

For many iPhone users, Face ID not only brings some trouble when wearing a mask to identify, but the bangs on the “top” of the screen also make people feel unsightly, which makes many users call for Touch ID. return. However, users who don’t like bangs may be able to look forward to future new iPhone models. According to documents released by the US Patent and Trademark Office on April 5, Apple has obtained a patent for under-screen face recognition technology.

And if you look closely at Apple’s filings, it also shows that the company has been planning this technology for a long time, because the patent application was first filed on September 24, 2019.

According to the “TechNave” report, Apple’s patent is to plug the front lens on the back of the display (inside the fuselage), which can be used to take photos without affecting the image quality captured by the front lens.

However, some people may guess that since Apple has obtained this patented technology, does it mean that the iPhone 14, which will be launched in the second half of this year, is expected to be equipped? In fact, because this patented technology has just been approved, it is unlikely that the iPhone 14 series will adopt this new technology, and may still maintain the rumored capsule-shaped front lens.

As for the iPhone 15 series, it may be difficult to see this feature configuration, because Apple is often planning for a long time when developing new products, so it will have to wait until the iPhone 16 at the earliest to have the opportunity to carry this new technology.

Chinese game version numbers are restarted, 45 games are approved, and Baidu is listed

According to the Economic News Agency, China will start to regulate the game industry in 2021. In order to prevent teenagers from indulging in online games, it will limit the time of games and suspend the approval of game version numbers. After a lapse of more than 8 months, China restarted the distribution of game version numbers. On the 11th, the State Press and Publication Administration of China announced a list of a new batch of Chinese-made game version numbers. The version number distribution involves 45 games. The approval time is shown as April 8. However, none of Tencent and NetEase’s games have been included in this batch list.

Among the 45 games approved this time, 5 are client games (computer games) and one Switch console game, and the remaining 39 are mobile games (mobile games), including “Party Star” by Xinxin Company, Chuangmeng Tiandi’s “Be Careful” and Baidu’s “Attack Rabbit”; as well as the computer game “Jianwang 3 Origins” developed by Xishanju, a subsidiary of Kingsoft, the mobile game “Youth Three Kingdoms: Pocket Battle” by Youzu Network, and Sanqi Mutual Entertainment The “Dream Voyage” of “Dream Voyage”, as well as the games of Zhongqingbao are also on the list.

Inspired by the news of the restart of the game version number, the game industry index stocks rose more. As of the noon closing of A shares, Glacier Network, Dasheng Culture, and Youzu Network temporarily closed their daily limit, Zhongqingbao rose by more than 6%, and Sanqi Interactive Entertainment fell nearly 6%. In terms of Hong Kong stocks, as of around 11:30, Bilibili rose more than 7%, Xinxin company rose more than 6%, NetEase and Tencent rose more than 2%, and Baidu fell more than 1%.

Analysts believe that last year was a severe winter for the Chinese game industry. Under the dual pressure of the suspension of version number issuance and the protection policy for minors, the valuation of games has fallen to the lowest level for many years. With the restart of the version number, many analysts He said that in the medium and long term, the inflection point of the game industry’s valuation repair has come, and the future development of the game industry should be explored in a more high-tech direction. However, some analysts pointed out that as the tightening of the number of game version numbers issued has become the norm, it will guide game companies to improve the quality of games, which is also an important way to promote the industry’s high-quality development.