Author's Latest Posts

ATE: The Road Ahead

Watching the ATE market is like having a front-row seat to watch the semiconductor industry's ups and downs, with none of the hype to confuse you. So 2014 was a very good market for SoC test, and it likewise a good year for SoCs. As we head into the latter half of this year and into 2016, however, a projected downturn in the mobile arena will likely put a crimp in those earnings. The prob... » read more

Tales From The Silk Road

Recently I wrote a two-part article on the impact low-cost quad-core and octo-core mobile processors are having on the mobile handset market here in Asia. In it I briefly mentioned that many travelers and expats in this part of the world—this part being Southeast Asia, generally speaking—come here, among myriad other reasons, for the cheap electronics available. What prompted me to inves... » read more

Non-Visual Defect Inspection: The Tech of Tomorrow?

Remember when it first became obvious that the semiconductor manufacturing industry was going to expect lithography to resolve features smaller than the wavelength of light used in the litho tools themselves? Thanks to techniques such as the use of phase shift photomasks, sub-wavelength lithography is standard in chip fabs today. It might even be viewed as “old hat,” although still an ex... » read more

Big Changes Rock Global Smartphone Market

It's not just consumers that are benefiting from the proliferation of low-cost mobile multiple-core processors. Chipmakers are reaping the benefits of the booming smartphone market in Asia and around the globe. In the multicore smartphone applications processor market Qualcomm. leads the way with its Snapdragon processors; it accounted for 43% of the market in the first half of this year, fo... » read more

Big Changes Rock Global Smartphone Market

BANGKOK — One of the many draws for Western travelers here in Thailand and throughout much of Asia, including China, is the availability of cheap consumer electronics. Unfortunately many of these electronic goods — little-known off-brands mimicking better-known counterparts, or white-label devices being passed off as name-brand products to unsuspecting consumers — typically are technologi... » read more

Collaborate Or Go Home

Technology is hard. It's no secret that it's more difficult than ever to keep devices shrinking while increasing performance. It's also old news that it is increasingly costly to be at the leading edge, as semiconductor production technology gets ever more complex — even as a maturing chip industry becomes ever more dependent on low-cost consumer devices. But it has made for some strang... » read more

Temporary Bonding, Debonding Remains Challenging For TSV Adoption

By Jeff Chappell One issue with the adoption of TSVs in 3D ICs in mainstream semiconductor applications revolves around the throughput of the temporary wafer bonding and debonding process. This doesn't necessarily equate to a roadblock, but work certainly remains to be done on this and related issues. On one hand, TSVs already are being used in the manufacturing of compound semiconductors ... » read more

TSVs: Welcome To The Era Of Probably Good Die

Among the challenges of a widespread adoption of 3D ICs is how to test them, particularly when it comes to through-silicon vias (TSVs). While not necessarily presenting a roadblock, TSVs use in the mainstream will almost certainly change traditional test strategies. In fact for many chipmakers looking to stack their silicon, they may come to rely less on the traditional known good die (KGD) ... » read more

Front End Comes To The Back End

By Jeff Chappell For outsourced assembly and test (OSAT) houses either planning for or already offering through-silicon via (TSV) capability for their 3D packaging efforts, this has meant the front end is coming to the back end, in a manner of speaking. A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, as most generalizations are. But thanks to TSVs, in a very real sense some of what would typically be the... » read more

ATE Market Changes With The Times

By Jeff Chappell A declining PC market in recent years coupled with the continuing growth of mobile phones and tablets has meant changes throughout the semiconductor supply chain, and automated test equipment is no exception. For example, a decade ago memory test—namely DRAM—was a large market compared with that of nascent system-on-a-chip (SoC) testing. In fact, at the time some test e... » read more

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