CEO interview: Preparing for the on-chip feedback revolution: Page 3 of 5

June 22, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
CEO interview: Preparing for the on-chip feedback revolution
Stephen Crosher, co-founder and CEO, of Moortec Semiconductor Ltd. (Plymouth, England), is preparing his company to play its part in providing the essential feedback for dynamic modification of the behaviour of individually characterized chips.

So, is PVT monitoring also applicable to analog circuits and could this be an area of expansion for Moortec?

"We have looked at analog and mixed-signal at 40nm. There is a customer base there, but it is more nuanced in terms of what they are trying to achieve. We are mainly focused on advanced digital nodes where there is plenty of work," said Crosher.

In terms of the company's evolution Crosher states that between 2010 and 2017 it was a case of gradually gaining traction. "Doors were open and licensing was possible. But at 7nm/5nm PVT monitoring has become acutely important, if not essential."

In July 2016 Moortec announced it had received an undisclosed of investment from Altitude Partners, a regional private equity fund. The money was to help grow the business and help with silicon validation of IP at more advanced nodes, Crosher said.

Crosher continued: "Now we're going beyond PVT. There's a revolution within the industry." Crosher said that monitoring technology now has the opportunity to provide information at every stage of a chip's life – on the wafer, in packaging and testing and in mission mode. "We can see opportunities in all phases, including predicting the chip's end of life, and preventing operational failure."

There are both semiconductor analytics and product analytics, he said. "Understanding how the chip is made means monitoring can allow optimization of individual chips to compensate for variation in the manufacturing process. It also means you can constrain the behaviour of the chip in the field to avoid compromising the chip. It also means you can allow design rules to be more relaxed than they otherwise would be."

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