Friends, I did mention some time ago that I shall start blogging or talking about photonics — yet another subject close to my heart!
Well, that dream has been realized, thanks to Photonics.com — the world’s leading site on the subject, from Laurin Publishing, USA.
How many of you are aware that some of the best work done in photonics in Asia is carried out in India? Are you aware that one of the best institutes in the country is located down south — in Cochin — known as the International School of Photonics at Cochin University of Science and Technology.
It is in this very institute that the Photonics Society of India (PSI) was founded in 2000, which also administers the society. The PSI is a professional organization of people, institutions and companies working with photonics in India.
The PSI has some very distinguished gentlemen at the helm. Professor P. Radhakrishnan, International School of Photonics, is its president. He is assisted by Dr. Reji Philip, vice president, and associate professor, Optics Group, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore. Professor V. P. N. Nampoori, International School of Photonics, is general secretary.
In fact, it was a pleasure to recently visit the famous Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bangalore, where I had the good fortune of interacting with some of the best and renowned researchers that India has on this subject.
The various kinds of equipment the RRI has at the labs is mind boggling! Makes you wonder — these folks are really bright and highly talented to be doing such exemplary work.
Enough said! May I take this opportunity to thank Laurin Publishing for helping me realize another dream. I hope you all enjoy my Photonics Blog! Thanks for your support, as always, dear friends.
Wow! I am overwhelmed!
This morning, when I stepped into the office, I’d no clue what lay ahead. This blog had been recently nominated in Electronics Weekly.com’s first ever Electronics Blog Awards 2008, under the Electronic Hardware category.
My blog was declared the winner in this category (http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2008/12/02/45060/electronicsweekly.com-blog-awards-08-the-winners.htm)!.
All of the other bloggers in the list are equally worthy, and they are all winners. My heartiest congratulations to all of my fellow nominees. I haven’t even met anyone of you, ever! Hope I can, some time soon.
I’ve always maintained that love writing (or blogging) about things that are close to my heart. Semicon and telecom are prime in that category, two topics that I am really very fond of.
My blog — well, it all started as a regular affair. There are a whole lot of great bloggers out there, who also write on similar topics. I was and am just one among those. Nor was and am I ever looking for traffic, etc., as it is my contention that people will only stop by and read your blog post or article IF there’s something of interest to them. So, I was my only reader 😉 I thought!
I didn’t even realize that so many people would be reading my blog posts. Well, things changed somewhere, I don’t know how. Wish I could thank everyone personally!
Thanks, dear friends, for stopping by my blog occasionally. I just don’t have words to express myself.
All I can say is a big thank you to Electronics Weekly for picking up my blog. Thanks to the person who nominated my blog, as I’ve no idea who nominated it. Thanks also to Google for creating the Blogspot platform so that people like me can blog. Many thanks to all of those friends, well wishers and readers who voted for me. Hope you all find my blog useful.
Dear friends and readers, please keep those suggestions coming so I can strive to improve myself even further over time.
P.S. A former colleague and close friend, Debashish Choudhury, has also added a link on Global SMT site. Thanks Debu for the honor! 😉
Cybermedia/CIOL, very kindly, posted a news release announcing my victory. Many thanks for to CIOL and Cybermedia.
Later, in the evening, Pradeep Gupta, CyberMedia’s managing director, sent out an email to the entire company, announcing my win. Thanks a lot for this very nice and touching gesture, Sir.
Finally, Electronics Weekly sent a mail to me saying: “You were the clear winner in your category, so congratulations! If I may, I’ll send you a ‘Blog Awards, Winner’ badge for your blog, to commemorate the victory!” Thanks to Electronics Weekly again!
This is an extension to an earlier piece on the subject. During my various meetings in Hong Kong, I found Johnny Keung, deputy general manager, Circuitone, as a very good resource for discussing PCB services.
He described that immersion tin was economical, complied with RoHS, could replace immersion gold, and go fine line width. Circuitone offers 4µx4µ line width. As for spacing, it can go down to 3µ spacing.
The board size can be limited by equipment. Circuitone has equipment that handles 24x24inch board sizes. It can also offer 0.003” line width (3µx3µ) for high-density PCBs in large volumes. It offers minimum hole-width of 0.2mm, and plans to offer 0.1mm hole-width by Q4-07. This is indeed significant.
There had been some reports in the trade press regarding some Mainland Chinese PCB fabricators offeing 20- and even 40-layer PCBs.
Keung said there were two benchmarks. One, switching from double-sided to four layers, and two, switching from four layers to six layers.
He pointed out that Circuitone could use technology from six layers up to 20 layers. If it went beyond 20 layers, for example, 22 layers, there may be difficulties with thermal distribution within the board.
As I understand from our discussions, for up to 20 layers or so, heat distribution was on the top layer of the PCB, while distribution across middle layer could be uneven. Layers at the bottom could experience higher heat transfer than those in the middle.
Even PCB pressing is done in two stages: one, increase heat so the bonding sheet started to melt, and two, if temperature kept increasing, the glue was transformed into solid. This was the final curing stage.
Commenting on 40-layer PCBs, Keung commented that those boards at the outer layer would likely start melting, and those at the core layer would be in solidstate. When heat was being transferred into core layer, the evenness of distribution changed. The outer layer would remain in solidstate as well. So, expansion/contraction could get uneven, and registration could be a big challenge.
Fabricators should definitely look into this aspect, before designing higher-layer PCBs. I believe, some research work has been done by PCB makers to develop higher-layer PCBs. We discussed the yield rate earlier. That has to rise.
Close on the heels of the historic Indian semicon policy announced earlier this year comes the news that Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC) would be setting up a semicon foundry in India partnering with Infineon Technologies for CMOS licences. It’s no surprise to see Infineon among the early movers as Infineon has been present in India for quite a while now.
This is excellent news as far as the Indian semiconductor industry is concerned. I remember the day the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) was formed in Bangalore in early November 2004. The ISA is a very young industry body and all kudos to it for having taken forward the Indian industry so very well.
Congratulations are also due to Honourable minister, Dayanidhi Maran for having the foresight and for believing in the semiconductor industry.
Not only would the semicon industry boost India’s GDP in the coming years, the policy should also see India emerging as a destination of choice for manufacturing of high-tech products in the future.
This January, while attending the VLSI conference in Bangalore, I had the pleasure of learning about the various incentives some of the state governments, such as those of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have to offer to investors.
Other state governments should come forward as well and make India’s dream of becoming a semicon giant a success and help the semicon policy really take off.
Following HSMC’s announcement, we have now come to expect more such announcements in the near future. All of this really augurs well for India. It will also change the global perception that India is the destination for software and outsourcing.
We can do it. Time to show the world. Well done ISA. Well done Minister. And well done HSMC and Infineon
I had the pleasure of attending the 20th International Conference on VLSI Design and 6th International Conference on Embedded Systems in Bangalore, and had the good fortune of meeting a range of top experts from these fields.
One panel discussion: “Are EDA technology/products becoming a commodity?”, particularly caught my attention. Speakers debated on whether commoditization of EDA tools was happening with little/no differentiation toward project success.
Dr. Anand Anandkumar, managing director, Magma India, also a good friend, elucidated that the semiconductor design industry cannot do a complex SoC without EDA. And if there’s no EDA, there’s no integration. “If you are a commodity, you cannot solve problems!”
Now EDA is a key driver for semiconductor design companies to achieve objectives of building more and more complex (SoCs). However, the overall market size of EDA industry [estimated at US $4 billion] remains a fraction of the overall semiconductor market size [estimated at US $240 billion].
Dr Anandkumar added there had been various paradigm shifts and problems. The EDA industry was in a way the IP partner with the semiconductor industry. However, he agreed that parts of the tools had been commoditized. The EDA industry had become a prisoner of its own business model.
Nevertheless, newer things have been racing forward. There are also a variety of conflicting problems. Understanding those problems could be a way of handling and solving complex designs. The part of taking over risks had been completely absent. There was little ownership in sharing risks, which needed to change.
From the perspective of consumer electronics eco-system, available EDA technology is often viewed as not being in sync with the expectations and requirements of various design teams. Claims of productivity and quality of results advantages from EDA teams can seem more like wishful thinking than reality to end users.
More so, related issues of quality, inter-operability of standard formats, usability and understanding of designer needs are other areas of ongoing concern. These are not necessarily new issues, so what were EDA companies and their customers doing to address them? Has the EDA industry been getting its proportional value out of the semiconductor industry? Would love to hear from you.
Bangalore-based Softjin Technologies is an electronic design automation (EDA) company providing unique EDA solutions for the semiconductor industry. According to Kamal Aggarwal, VP-Marketing and Strategy, the company’s core-capability lies in developing innovative EDA tools for specific requirements of customers, such as semiconductor companies and other EDA product companies.
Softjin’s business model is a “hybrid” model, which is a mix of services and products. It also provides FPGA based system design services and design methodology services for customers.
Softjin’s current products are licensable EDA building blocks that can be used as part of proving an EDA solution to customers in post-layout and logic synthesis technology area within EDA.
Post the announcement of India’s historic semicon policy, Softjin expects to see more investments happening in the semiconductor manufacturing space. As the policy provides incentives for setting up semiconductor manufacturing units above a certain size, Aggarwal expects to see more big-ticket announcements emerging in near future.
Watch the Indian semicon space, guys, as the action heats up…