Controlling Uniformity At The Edge


Chipmakers want every part of the wafer to produce, or yield, good die. Advances in process technologies over the years have just about made this a reality, even as feature dimensions continue to shrink and devices grow ever more complex. Now, the last frontier is improving yields at the edge of the wafer – the outer 10 mm or so – where chemical, physical, and even thermal discontinuitie... » read more

Memory Test Challenges, Opportunities


The semiconductor capital equipment market is on fire, and the memory chip test equipment sector is no different. But it is getting much more difficult on the memory side. Memory test vendors are contending with next-generation devices, such as 3D NAND flash memories, HBM2 chips, low-power double-data-rate DRAMs, graphics DRAMs, phase-change memories, magnetoresistive RAMs, and resistive RAM... » read more

Why Fabs Worry About Tool Parts


Achieving high yields with acceptable costs is becoming much more difficult as chipmakers migrate to next-generation 3D NAND and finFET devices—but not just because of rising complexity or lithography issues. To fabricate an advanced logic chip, for example, a wafer moves from one piece of equipment to another in what amounts to 1,000 process steps or more in a fab. Any glitch with the equ... » read more

Memory Market: More Than ASPs At Risk


By Adrienne Downey and Jim Feldhan In June 2016, the memory market emerged from its slump after reversing its 12-month ASP decline. Since then, we’ve seen a strong rebound for ASPs in both DRAM and NAND. Contributing to this recovery was the increasing demand in memory content per device across all end markets combined with a more controlled capital investment over the past several years.... » read more

NAND Market Hits Speed Bump


Demand for NAND flash memory remains robust due to the onslaught of data in systems, but the overall NAND flash market is stuck in the middle of a challenging period beset by product shortages, supply chain issues and a difficult technology transition. Intel, Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix and the Toshiba/Western Digital duo continue to ship traditional planar NAND in the market, but this technol... » read more

Shrink Or Package?


Advanced packaging is rapidly becoming a mainstream option for chipmakers as the cost of integrating heterogeneous components on a single die continues to rise. Despite several years of buzz around this shift, the reality is that it has taken more than a half-century to materialize. Advanced [getkc id="27" kc_name="packaging"] began with IBM flip chips in the 1960s, and it got another boost ... » read more

Going Vertical?


The topic of transistor scaling has been traditionally covered at SEMICON West in its own right. This year’s event, however, will also explore scaling in 3D, as well as using packaging to accomplish similar objectives. Along with traditional transistor scaling, speakers will tackle design and metrology considerations for scaling the package, and address the economic decisions that inform dens... » read more

Fab Spending Hits New High


The latest update to the World Fab Forecast report, published on May 31, 2017 by SEMI, reveals record spending for fab construction and fab equipment. Korea, Taiwan, and China all see large investments, and spending in Europe has also increased significantly. In 2017, over US$49 billion will be spent on equipment alone, a historic record for the semiconductor industry. Spending on new fab cons... » read more

China: Fab Boom or Bust?


China’s semiconductor industry continues to expand at a frenetic pace. At present there are nearly two dozen new fab projects in China. Whether all these fab projects get off the ground is not entirely clear because the dynamics in China remain fluid. What is clear is the motivation behind this building frenzy—China is trying to reduce its huge trade imbalance in ICs. The country continu... » read more

Battling Fab Cycle Times


The shift from planar devices to finFETs enables chipmakers to scale their processes and devices from 16nm/14nm and beyond, but the industry faces several challenges at each node. Cost and technical issues are the obvious challenges. In addition, cycle time—a key but less publicized part of the chip-scaling equation—also is increasing at every turn, creating more angst for chipmakers and... » read more

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