E-beam Inspection Makes Inroads


E-beam inspection is gaining traction in critical areas in fab production as it is becoming more difficult to find tiny defects with traditional methods at advanced nodes. Applied Materials, ASML/HMI and others are developing new e-beam inspection tools and/or techniques to solve some of the more difficult defect issues in the fab. [gettech id="31057" t_name="E-beam"] inspection is one of tw... » read more

Follow The Moving Money


Semiconductor economics are changing by market, by region, and by product node and packaging type, adding new complexity into decisions about which technology to use for which products and why. Money is the common denominator in all of these decisions, whether it's measured by return on invested capital, quarterly profits, or long-term investments that can include acquisitions, organic growt... » read more

Predictions: Manufacturing, Devices And Companies


Some predictions are just wishful thinking, but most of these are a lot more thoughtful. They project what needs to happen for various markets or products to become successful. Those far reaching predictions may not fully happen within 2018, but we give everyone the chance to note the progress made towards their predictions at the end of the year. (See Reflection On 2017: Design And EDA and Man... » read more

The Next 5 Years Of Chip Technology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the future of scaling, the impact of variation, and the introduction of new materials and technologies, with Rick Gottscho, CTO of [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; Mark Dougherty, vice president of advanced module engineering at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"]; David Shortt, technical fellow at [getentity id="22876" co... » read more

Reflections On 2017: Manufacturing And Markets


People love to make predictions, and most of the time they have it easy, but at Semiconductor Engineering, we ask them to look back on the predictions they make each year and to assess how close to the mark they were. To see what they missed and what surprised them. Not everyone accepts our offer to grade themselves, but many have this year. This is the first of two parts that looks at the pred... » read more

Foundry Challenges in 2018


The silicon foundry business is expected to see steady growth in 2018, but that growth will come with several challenges. On the leading edge, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are migrating from the 16nm/14nm to the 10nm/7nm logic nodes. Intel already has encountered some difficulties, as the chip giant recently pushed out the volume ramp of its new 10nm process from the second half ... » read more

Will Fab Tool Boom Cycle Last?


Fab equipment spending is on pace for a record year in 2017, and it now appears that momentum could continue into 2018. Fab tool vendors found themselves in the midst of an unexpected boom cycle in 2017, thanks to enormous demand for equipment in [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] and, to a lesser degree, [getkc id="93" kc_name="DRAM"]. In the logic/foundry business, however, equipment deman... » read more

Chipmakers Look To New Materials


Graphene, the wonder material rediscovered in 2004, and a host of other two-dimensional materials are gaining ground in manufacturing semiconductors as silicon’s usefulness begins to fade. And while there are a number of compounds in use already, such as gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, and silicon carbide, those materials generally are being confined to specific niche applications. Tran... » read more

Here Comes High-Res Car Radar


A dozen or so startups are developing high-resolution radar chips that use various modulation schemes and processes, such as CMOS, FD-SOI and even metamaterials. In theory, high-resolution radar could boost the capabilities of today’s radar for cars, as well as eliminate the need for a separate LiDAR system. But the technology is still in the research stage and has yet to be proven commerc... » read more

Variation Spreads At 10/7nm


Variation between different manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly troublesome as chipmakers push to 10/7nm and beyond. Process variation is a well-known phenomenon at advanced nodes. But some of that is actually due to variations in equipment—sometimes the exact same model from the same vendor. Normally this would fall well below the radar of the semiconductor industry. But as t... » read more

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