North American Semiconductor Equipment Industry Posts September 2021 Billings

North America-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers posted $3.72 billion in billings worldwide in September 2021 (three-month moving average basis), according to the September Equipment Market Data Subscription (EMDS) Billings Report published today by SEMI.

Deloitte-GSA Study: Transformation in Semiconductor Industry Driven by More Than Pandemic and Supply Chain Challenges

In order to understand the cause of semiconductor company transformation, Deloitte, in collaboration with the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA), conducted a survey in spring of 2021 of more than 40 top semiconductor industry executives.

10 Reasons to Attend The ConFab this June

The ConFab Conference and Networking Event will be held June 12-15. Presented by Solid State Technology, this executive-level event is designed exclusively for those driving growth and innovation in the semiconductor industry. With a theme the “New Age of Innovation for Semiconductors,” it features deep insights on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and also offers powerful networking opportunities. Here are my top 10 reasons to register now. The…

Andy Grove blessed us all

Andy Grove, the man who codified the commercial IC industry dynamic as “Only the Paranoid Survive” died yesterday at the age of 79. His instinctive paranoia derived from his tragic experiences while growing up in Hungary, as referenced by Wikipedia in the prolog to “Swimming Across: a Memoir”: By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” the…

SAQP Specs for 7nm finFETs

As discussed in my last Ed’s Threads, lithography has become patterning as evidenced by first use of Self-Aligned Quadruple Patterning (SAQP) in High Volume Manufacturing (HVM) of memory chips. Meanwhile, industry R&D hub imec has been investigating use of SAQP for “7nm” and “5nm” node finFET HVM, as reported as SPIE-AL this year in Paper 9782-12. The specifications for pitches ranging from 18 to 24 nanometers are as follow: 7.0nm…

Litho becomes Patterning

Once upon a time, lithographic (litho) processes were all that IC fabs needed to transfer the design-intent into silicon chips. Over the last 10-15 years, however, IC device structural features have continued to shrink below half the wavelength of the laser light used in litho tools, such that additional process steps are needed to form the desired features. Self-Aligned Double Patterning (SADP) schemes use precise coatings deposited as “spacers” on…

3D XPoint uses PCM Material in ReRAM Device

IM Flash pre-announced “3D XPoint”(TM) memory for release later this year, and lack of details has led to widespread confusion regarding what it is. EETimes has reported that, “Chalcogenide material and an Ovonyx switch are magic parts of this technology with the original work starting back in the 1960’s,” said Guy Blalock, co-CEO of IM Flash at the 2016 Industry Strategy Symposium hosted by the SEMI trade group. However, contradicting…

Does Consolidation Put Innovation at Risk?

Consolidation in the semiconductor industry continues apace, with more than $100 billion in mergers and acquisitions announced in 2015, and more to come in 2016. “With our industry growth rates being so low, it’s a lot cheaper to acquire market share than it is to invest and beat your competitor over the head,” said analyst Bill McClean, speaking at SEMI’s Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) in January. One potentially negative impact…

Controlling Polymers to Tune TFTs

Thin-film transistors (TFT) created using only additive process steps could create new low-cost ICs with functionalities beyond silicon, but only if we understand how to control structures at the molecular level. Thin films of conjugated polymers such as poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) can provide useful conductivity when the electron mobilities are controlled within as well as between molecules. In producing TFTs using such organic macromolecules, we must rigorously control the deposition and…

Viewpoints: 2016 outlook

Each year, Solid State Technology turns to industry leaders to hear viewpoints on the technological and economic outlook for the upcoming year. Read through these expert opinions on what to expect in 2016. New technologies will fuel pockets of growth in 2016 By Mike Plisinski, Chief Executive Officer, Rudolph Technologies, Inc. While the 2016 outlook for the semiconductor industry as a whole appears increasingly uncertain, there are areas where significant…

CMOS-Photonic Integration Thermally Sensitive

As published in the journal Nature, CMOS transistors have been integrated with optical-resonator circuits using complex on-chip sensors and heaters to maintain temperature to within 1°C. While lacking the laser-source, these otherwise-fully-integrated solutions demonstrate both the capability as well as the limitation of trying to integrate electronics and photonics on a single-chip. The Figure shows a simplified schematic cross-section of the device. Lead author Chen Sun—affiliated with UC Berkeley and…

Apple Fab Speculation

Apple Corp. recent purchased an old 200mm-diameter silicon wafer fab in San Jose capable of creating as small as 90nm device features. Formerly owned and operated by Maxim, the US$18.2M purchase reportedly includes nearly 200 working fab tools. Some people outside the industry have speculated that Apple might use this fab to do R&D on the A10 or other advanced logic chips, but this old tool-set is completely incapable of…

MPU Cores and Legal Boors

As reported by The Register, AMD has been sued by a customer who claims that the number of Bulldozer cores in some Opteron and FX microprocessor (MPU) chips are fewer than advertised. The claim is based on the argument that a “real” MPU core has it’s own floating point unit for calculations, and that consumers were misled by product claims. I am not a lawyer (IANAL) and have no connections…

The First Degree – Ominous Threshold Reached

In light of the Paris climate talks going on this week, I’m delighted to turn this blog over to a guest blogger, Mike Czerniak. Mike is the Environmental Solutions Business Development Manager at Edwards, and has been working in the semiconductor industry for more than 30 years. In 2014, he received SEMI’s Merit Award for his work on the Energy Saving Equipment Communication Task Force responsible for developing new standards…

Thermoplastically Deformable Electronic Circuits

Philips is testing a technology developed by imec and CMST (imec’s associated lab at Ghent University) to create low-cost 3D LED packages. As shown at last month’s International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society (IMAPS 2015) meeting, these thermoplastically deformable electronic circuits are already being integrated by Philips into LED lamp carriers, a downlight luminaire, and a omnidirectional light source. The technology is based on meander-shaped interconnects, which are patterned using …

Is the Semiconductor Industry Ready for Industry 4.0 and the IIoT?

An industrial revolution is in the making, equivalent some say to the introduction of steam power at the tail end of the 18th century. Known as smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0 (after the German initiative Industrie 4.0), the industrial internet of things (IIoT), or simply the fourth industrial revolution, the movement will radically change how manufacturing is done. The first industrial revolution was based on water/steam, the second was due electricity,…

Nowhere Near Room Temp Superconductors

On-chip metal interconnects limit IC speed in many advanced design today, and with signal delay proportional to the product of the resistance (R) of wires and the capacitance (C) of dielectric insulation, wires with R lower than that of copper (Cu) metal would significantly improve IC performance. We know of superconductors—materials with zero resistance to electrical current flow—but only at “critical temperature” (Tc) well below 77°K, and so there has…

EUV Cost at 1000 Daily Exposures

On October 14, 2015, ASML Holding N.V. (ASML) published its 2015 third-quarter results:  Q3 net sales of €1.55 billion with gross margin of 45.4% (in line with guidance), and guided Q4 2015 net sales at approximately €1.4 billion and a gross margin of around 45%. Due to mismatched financial analyst expectations, Bloomberg reported that ASML’s stock price dropped ~7% in a single day of trading, despite the company also reporting…

Check out the finalists for MEMS & Sensors Technology Showcase at MEMS Executive Congress 2015

By Karen Lightman, Executive Director, MEMS Industry Group Back in 2001 when I was a young mother with a baby in diapers, I dreamed of a MEMS-enabled gizmo (perhaps on her diaper?) that would remotely indicate if my daughter was sleeping. She was (and still is) a restless sleeper, and I had many nights where I tip-toed into her room to ensure that she was breathing and yes, indeed, still…

Leti Shows MEMS on 300mm Wafers

As reported by EETimes from the European MEMS Summit last month, French research institute CEA-Leti has manufactured accelerometer MEMS devices on 300mm-diameter wafers. This technology is currently being transferred to Tronics Microsystems SA (Grenoble, France), which currently only manufactures on 200mm wafers. Since CEA-Leti has long functioned as the R&D group for STMicroelectronics (ST), and previously led the way for ST to produce MEMS chips on 200mm-diameter wafers, we may…

Silex’ Strategic Acquisition by China

A secretive investment holding company out of Hong Kong named GAE Ltd has acquired 98% of the shares in Silex Microsystems AB (Jarfalla, Sweden). The transaction took place on July 13th of this year when the former major shareholders agreed to sell all of their respective holdings, while Silex founder and CEO Edvard Kalvesten retains 2% of the shares in the company and continues his role as CEO and board…

300mm ams Fab Bet on IoT

Leading-edge IC fab investments are multi-billion-dollar risky bets. Insufficient demand for ICs dooms the line to economic failure regardless of the quality of design and manufacturing. Thus, it is a big deal that Austrian-headquartered ams AG—world leader in production of IC sensors, RFID chips, and power-supplies—has announced plans to set up a new silicon wafer manufacturing line in up-state New York. To date, ams’ leading fabs run 200mm diameter silicon…

IoT Surveys Indicate Optimism, Confusion

Solid State Technology recently conducted a survey of our readers on how the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving the demand for semiconductor technology. A total of 303 people responded to the survey. A majority of the respondents were in management roles. Survey questions focused on their expectations for growth in the Internet of Things (IoT), drivers, potential roadblocks, opportunities and impact on semiconductor technology, including manufacturing and packaging. There…

Brooks Instrument Pressure-based Mass Flow Controllers - Theory of Operation

Meet the Brooks Instrument pressure-based mass flow controller (P-MFC) that can HANDLE the PRESSURE, the GP200 Series.

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