Ed’s Threads

China to be 15% of World Fab Capacity by 2018

Currently there are eight Chinese 300mm-diameter silicon IC fabs in operation as 2016 comes to a close. Chinese IC fab capacity now accounts for approximately 7% of worldwide 300mm capacity, as reported by VLSIresearch in a recent edition of its Critical Subsystems report (https://www.vlsiresearch.com/public/csubs/). This will expand rapidly, as ten are now under construction and two more have been announced. China’s 300mm fabs are located in ten cities. “Total Chinese…

Reliable ICs from unreliable devices

In an article published in the most recent issue of imec’s online magazine (http://magazine.imec.be/) titled “Chips must learn how to feel pain and how to cure themselves,” researchers Francky Chatthoor and Guido Groeseneken discuss how to build reliable “5nm-node” ICs out of inherently unreliable transistors. Variability in “zero time” and “over time” performance of individual transistors cannot be controlled below the “7nm-node” using traditional guard-banding in IC design. “Maybe it…

CSP Market Forecast – Strong

Chip-Scale Packages (CSP) continue to be in strong demand for IC needing the smallest form-factors for applications including automotive, industrial applications to mobile phones and wearable electronics, according to leading market research firm TechSearch International. TechSearch’s latest CSP market forecast shows a 8% CAGR from 2015 to 2020, despite a slowing growth rate for smartphones. One of the categories with the strongest growth is the quad flat no-lead (QFN) package…

Dan Rose departs material realm

With sadness I post that Daniel J. Rose, Ph.D.—founder of Rose Associates—passed away on September 20, 2016, due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Dan Rose received a Ph.D. in materials engineering from the University of British Columbia, and subsequently spent five years managing packaging manufacturing operations at Fairchild Semiconductor. He worked with and become friends with industry luminaries such as Intel’s founder Robert Noyce, and National Semiconductor’s founder Charlie Sporck.…

Fish-Scale Piezo Generators

Piezoelectric generators are based on thin-films of structured materials that can convert pressure into electricity. Inorganic crystals such as aluminum-nitride (AlN) barium titanate (BT) and lead-zirconium-titanate (PZT) have long been explored as piezoelectric films for various applications. Now researchers Sujoy Kumar Ghosh and Dipankar Mandal at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India have shown that fish scales (FSC) can be used to build a flexible bio-piezoelectric nanogenerator (BPNG) capable of…

Patterning with Films and Chemicals

Somewhere around 40nm is the limit on the smallest half-pitch feature that can be formed with a single-exposure of 193-nm wavelength laser light using water immersion (193i) lithography. While multiple-patterning (MP) is needed to achieve tighter half-pitches, smaller features at the same pitch can be formed using technology extensions of 193i. “Chemistry is key player in lithography process,” is the title of a short video presentation by Dow Electronic Materials…

ASM’s Haukka ALD Award

Dr. Suvi Haukka, executive scientist at ASM International, located in Finland, was awarded the ALD Innovation prize at the ALD 2016 Ireland conference (Figure), as chosen by the conference chairs. Haukka has had a lifetime career in Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), starting at Microchemistry Ltd. with ALD pioneer Dr. Tuomo Suntola in 1990, and now holding over 100 patents. Since ASM bought Microchemistry in 1999, Haukka has worked on the…

The Last Technology Roadmap

After many delays, the last ever International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has been published. Now that there are just a few companies remaining in the world developing new fab technologies in each of the CMOS logic and memory spaces, each leading-edge company has a secret internal roadmap and little motivation to compare directions within fiercely competitive  commercial markets. Solid State Technology Chief Editor Pete Singer covered these developments in…

Broadening Scope of SEMICON

Once upon a time, SEMICONs were essentially just for semiconductor manufacturing business and technology, and predominantly CMOS ICs. Back when we followed public roadmaps for technology to maintain the cadence of new manufacturing nodes in support of Moore’s Law, it was sufficient to focus on faster transistors connected with tighter wires. Now in an era that is at least partially “More-than-Moore”—as we like to refer to heterogeneous integration of non-CMOS…

Dow Kills CIGS Solar Shingles

The mega-merger between Dow and DuPont has already shaken out an under-performing product line:  Powerhouse(TM) solar singles. As reported at PVTech, over 100 jobs in Milpitas, California and in Midland, Michigan will be lost along with the production line that assembles the copper-indium-gallium-sulfide (CIGS) cells into thin-film Building-Integrated PhotoVoltaic (BIPV) rooftop shingles. BIPV markets are very slow to grow due to inherent risk-aversion in considering new building materials, and it…

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