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China: ‘Hospital on Chips’ Transforming Semiconductors

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In a groundbreaking move, Chengdu is revolutionising the semiconductor industry with its state-of-the-art “Hospital on Chips.” This innovative facility, spanning 3,000 square metres, serves as a testing and development hub for integrated circuits (ICs) and is poised to accelerate chip production processes. The unique approach allows for real-time chip monitoring and problem-solving, significantly reducing the time required for chip design and production.

Chengdu’s “Hospital on Chips” concept is a testament to the city’s commitment to technological advancement. The facility houses various laboratories, each dedicated to specific functions, alongside a range of experimental equipment. Inside, airtight devices cradle different types of chips, simulating their functionality under real-world conditions.

Technicians set predefined parametres and initiate the testing process, closely monitoring the chips’ performance. Any anomalies prompt immediate diagnosis and corrective action. This innovative approach aims to enhance IC design, shorten production timelines, and improve chip quality.

Over the past six months, the platform has conducted daily technical tests on chip products and offered pilot test services to over 70 integrated circuit companies across China, with around 70% based in Chengdu. This collaborative effort is helping local businesses identify research and development bottlenecks, ultimately facilitating accelerated chip production.

Chengdu has prioritised the transformation of technological achievements as its foremost project for scientific and technological innovation. The city has established numerous pilot test platforms across various sectors to promote the efficient transformation and industrialisation of technological breakthroughs.

Beyond the Tianfu New Area, Chengdu High-tech Zone, and other districts, integrated circuit pilot test platforms have emerged, primarily focusing on chip testing. These local platforms address a crucial gap in the industry and align with nearby enterprises to enhance cost-efficiency.

At the core of the “Hospital on Chips” concept is the testing and development of integrated circuits, which are at the heart of digital technology. This facility allows for the real-time monitoring and analysis of digital chip performance. It helps chip designers and manufacturers refine their digital chip designs, optimising them for various applications, including computing, telecommunications, and consumer electronics.

The facility uses digital technology to simulate and model real-world conditions for chips. This digital simulation is crucial for understanding how chips perform in various environments and under different stressors, such as temperature, humidity, and electrical loads. It enables the identification of potential issues and the refinement of digital chip designs to ensure optimal functionality.

Digital technology plays a pivotal role in the monitoring and analysis of data during chip testing. The technicians rely on digital tools and systems to collect and analyse data in real-time. This data-driven approach helps detect anomalies and deviations from expected chip behaviour, facilitating rapid diagnosis and corrective action.

When chips experience issues such as short circuits or overheating, digital technology, including advanced microscopy and imaging techniques, is used for failure analysis. This digital analysis aids in identifying flaws in digital chip designs and manufacturing processes.

The “Hospital on Chips” leverages digital technology for efficient data sharing and collaboration. Data on-chip performance, test results, and design improvements can be easily shared among technicians, chip designers, and client companies. This digital collaboration accelerates problem-solving and decision-making processes.

Digital technology contributes to cost efficiency in chip development and testing. By leveraging digital simulations and monitoring, companies can reduce the need for physical prototypes and extensive laboratory testing, leading to cost savings in the long run.

The development of local pilot test platforms, like the “Hospital on Chips,” is part of Chengdu’s broader strategy to integrate digital technology into its semiconductor industry. These platforms enable local integrated circuit companies to access advanced digital testing and development capabilities, reducing their reliance on foreign facilities and enhancing the local digital technology ecosystem.


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