Making Interconnects Faster


In integrated circuits, interconnect resistance is a combination of wire and via resistance. Wire resistance of a conductor depends on several factors, one of which is the electron scattering at various surfaces and grain boundaries. Via resistance, on the other hand, is a function of the thickness or resistivity of the layers at the bottom of the via through which current must travel. T... » read more

Will Higher Production Costs Hamper IoT Growth?


No question, 2017 is expected to be a good year for the semiconductor industry. Semiconductor revenues for 2017 are expected to increase more than 9% this year. A 6% increase in unit sales, as well as higher average selling prices for memory products, will help drive the revenue growth rate to its highest level since 2010. Wafer demand is forecast to grow by almost 8%. The higher revenue growth... » read more

High-Stakes Litho Game


The commercial introduction of EUV looks all but assured these days. There is enough history to show it works. Uptime and throughput are improving, and systems are shipping today. The question now is how to measure its success. In the short-term, this is a fairly simple financial exercise for companies like ASML and Zeiss, which have been closely collaborating to get these massive systems ou... » read more

Notes From The Chip Beat


Over the last several months, I’ve attended a number of conferences, such as IEDM, SPIE, the FD-SOI Summit and others. At each conference, there is a dizzying amount of information and data. Eventually, some information turns into an article, while most ends up buried in a reporter’s notebook. In any case, here are five observations I’ve made, based on those and other events in the pa... » read more

The Future Of Patterning


Greg McIntyre, director of advanced patterning at imec, offers his thoughts on what it’s like to work at one of the world’s leading nanoelectronics R&D centers, as well as the importance of eBeam technology to lithography and mask making, what’s driving up confidence in EUV, and the latest on imec’s joint venture with JSR in EUV resist development. [youtube vid=q8cA_9rWecU] » read more

What Drives SADP BEOL Variability?


Until EUV lithography becomes a reality, multiple patterning technologies such as triple litho-etch (LELELE), self-aligned double patterning (SADP), and self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP) are being used to meet the stringent patterning demands of advanced back-end-of-line (BEOL) technologies. For the 7nm technology node, patterning requirements include a metal pitch of 40nm or less. This ... » read more

1.41 ‘Giga-Searches’ Per Second?


Data centers, which are the engines of the Internet, are responsible for the vast amount of traffic that flows across the network. And, it’s no revelation; our digital universe and data center traffic will reach 10.4 zettabytes (ZB) by 2019, the equivalent to 144 trillion hours of streaming music. As apps and services become more data hungry, the higher the allowance for data traffic we’re... » read more

North America Equipment Market Rebounds


Coming off of two consecutive down years, the North America semiconductor fab equipment market is set to experience growth this year and into 2018. The market is primarily being driven by investments from Samsung, Intel, GlobalFoundries, and Micron, which are expected to account for 85 percent of fab equipment purchased in the region this year. These fab equipment purchases are targeted ... » read more

Enabling Magnetic Tunnel Junctions Array Processing For Embedded STT MRAM


The semiconductor industry is entering a new era of next-generation memory technologies, with several major inflections taking shape. Among these is the emergence of Magnetic RAM (MRAM). Over several posts, I’ll provide background on what is driving the adoption of MRAM, highlight some of the initial challenges and discuss progress on making STT MRAM commerically viable. Today, a typical m... » read more

The Evolution Of EUV


EUV systems are beginning to ship to large foundries in volume, setting the stage for one of the biggest leaps in technology the semiconductor industry has ever witnessed. ASML has emerged as the sole supplier in this market, but it has taken an entire ecosystem to develop EUV. It has taken billions of dollars of investment by ASML, along with enormous cash infusions by Intel and TSMC, contr... » read more

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