Semiconductor Process Development: Finding A Faster Way To Profitability


Building a chip fabrication facility requires billions of dollars in investment for land, buildings, processing equipment, chemical and hazardous material safety, not to mention the deployment of hundreds of highly experienced process engineering and manufacturing personnel. Bringing up an advanced semiconductor process in any fab, new or established, is a several-hundred-million dollar effort,... » read more

Semiconductor CapEx To Increase 4.3% In 2017


Semiconductor capital expenditures are an important bellwether for the industry. Based on preliminary findings, Semico Research predicts 2017’s total will increase 4.3% to $69.7 billion, a record high, and a slightly larger increase than in 2016. Semico tracks more than 80 companies for CapEx and R&D spending, although many of those companies have merged, have been acquired, or gone ba... » read more

The Return Of Time Sharing


As early as the 1960s, it wasn't uncommon to hear that transistors would be free. Those were pretty bold statements at the time, considering most computers in those days cost $1 million, required special rooms, and budding computer scientists usually had to sign up to use mainframe computers for one-hour time slots—often in the middle of the night or on weekends. Still, those predictions ... » read more

What’s Next For NOR Flash?


The flash memory market is the tale two of cities. Today, NAND and NOR are the two main flash memory types. Over the years, the NAND flash market has exploded. Targeted for data storage, NAND flash has moved into flash cards, solid-state storage drives (SSDs) and other products. The excitement for NAND continues to mount, as the technology is moving from planar to a 3D structure. In fact, 3D... » read more

China Moves To Top Spot In Fab Equipment Spending


By Clark Tseng, Dan Tracy & Gavin Wang of SEMI With 20, and possibly more, new fab projects underway or announced in China since 2016, spending on fab equipment will surge to $10 billion or more, annually, by 2018 and to even higher levels in the following two years. As a result, China is projected to be the top spending region for fab equipment in 2019 and 2020. Robert Maire, of Semicon... » read more

Better Chips, Better Cars


There are literally thousands of electronic components in a new car, and those numbers are only going to increase as cars become smarter, safer, greener, and increasingly connected. As automakers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies shift their focus from mechanical to a combination of mechanical and electrical, there is an ongoing race among fabless companies to come up with innovative technolog... » read more

ECO Fill Can Rescue Your SoC Tapeout Schedule


By Vikas Gupta and Bhavani Prasad Integrated circuit (IC) design and manufacturing is one of the most challenging engineering industries. As soon as a design engineer gets into “the groove” and feels comfortable taping out in a particular technology node, the next technology node shrink is already there to pose a new and greater set of challenges. While it almost goes without saying that... » read more

Integrating Process Models With TCAD Simulation…


Novel semiconductor technologies are creating complex process flows, which are needed to support the manufacturing of advanced 3D semiconductor structures. It can be helpful to model process flows, and their effect on a novel device, prior to physical fabrication. Process modeling is a technique that can predict the 3D structure of a device using an understanding of unit process steps. Durin... » read more

Power Management Vs. State Machines


In the last several years, contemporary SoCs (systems-on-a-chip) have become very complex silicon solutions. They now consist of hundreds of millions of gates, 100 or more discrete Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) blocks, high-speed data channels, megabytes of volatile and non-volatile embedded memory, increasing amounts of analog/mixed signal functionality, multiple CPU cores and mult... » read more

Putting The Brakes On Consolidation


China's efforts to reduce its trade deficit by acquiring technology outside of its borders—particularly in the areas of process technology and memory—are hitting some snags. Any proposed acquisitions are being closely monitored by government agencies around the globe, and in many cases they have been quietly derailed. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is pa... » read more

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