Transferring Skills Getting Harder


Rising complexity in developing chips at advanced nodes, and an almost perpetual barrage of new engineering challenges at each new node, are making it more difficult for everyone involved to maintain consistent skill levels across a growing number of interrelated technologies. The result is that engineers are being forced to specialize, but when they work with other engineers with different ... » read more

Inside Photomask Writing


Hirokazu Yamada, a board member and the director of the Mask Lithography Division of NuFlare, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss photomask technology, e-beam mask writer trends and other topics. NuFlare is the world’s largest supplier of e-beam mask writers. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: How does the [getkc id="265" kc_name="photomask"] market look in... » read more

BEOL Issues At 10nm And 7nm


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss problems with the back end of line at leading-edge nodes with Craig Child, senior manager and deputy director for [getentity id="22819" e_name="GlobalFoundries'"] advanced technology development integration unit; Paul Besser, senior technology director at [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; David Fried, CTO at [getentity id="22210" e_name... » read more

More Reactive, Less Warming


As mentioned in Part 4 of Semiconductor Engineering's series on fab sustainability, molecular fluorine is one alternative to PFCs or NF3 for CVD chamber cleaning in the integrated circuit and flat panel display industries. It has a number of advantages relative to NF3: an unstable, highly reactive molecule, F2 breaks down easily and has no global warming potential.  When NF3 is used, atomic... » read more

Foundries See Mixed Future


Amid a tumultuous business environment, the silicon foundry industry is projected to see steady growth in a number of process segments in 2017. As in past years, the foundry market is expected to grow faster than the overall IC industry in 2017. But at the same time, the IC industry—the foundry customer base—continues to witness a frenetic wave of merger and acquisition activity. Basical... » read more

Etching Technology Advances


Let’s get really, really small. That directive from leading semiconductor companies and their customers is forcing the whole semiconductor supply chain to come up with new ways to design and manufacture ever-shrinking dimensions for chips. The current push is to 10nm and 7nm, but R&D into 5nm and 3nm is already underway. To put this in perspective, there are roughly two silicon atom... » read more

Inside Advanced Patterning


Prabu Raja, group vice president and general manager for the Patterning and Packaging Group at [getentity id="22817" e_name="Applied Materials"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the trends in patterning, selective processes and other topics. Raja is also a fellow at Applied Materials. What follows are excerpts of that conversion. SE: From your standpoint, what are the big... » read more

BEOL Issues At 10nm And 7nm


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss problems with the back end of line at leading-edge nodes with Craig Child, senior manager and deputy director for [getentity id="22819" e_name="GlobalFoundries'"] advanced technology development integration unit; Paul Besser, senior technology director at [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; David Fried, CTO at [getentity id="22210" e_name... » read more

Fab Tool Biz Faces Challenges In 2017


After experiencing a gradual recovery and positive growth in 2016, the semiconductor equipment industry sees a mixed picture as well as some uncertainty in 2017. In the near term, though, business is robust. Several chipmakers started to place a sizeable number of fab tool orders in the latter part of 2016, particularly in three areas—3D NAND, logic and foundry. Now, after buying the in... » read more

More Than Just Carbon Dioxide


As discussed in Part Two of this series, lifecycle analyses of greenhouse gas emissions consider both direct and indirect sources. Indirect CO2 emissions, attributed to electricity and other forms of energy purchased by the fab, are the semiconductor industry’s single largest environmental impact. Of those emissions, a large fraction are attributable to plasma-based etch and deposition steps,... » read more

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