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

Changing Direction In Chip Design


Andrzej Strojwas, chief technologist at PDF Solutions and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University—and the winner of this year's Phil Kaufman Award for distinguished contributions to EDA—sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about device scaling, why the semiconductor industry will begin to fragment around new architectures and packaging, and ... » read more

China Unveils Memory Plans


Backed by billions of dollars in government funding, China in 2014 launched a major initiative to advance its domestic semiconductor, IC-packaging and other electronic sectors. So far, though, the results are mixed. China is making progress in IC-packaging, but the nation’s efforts to advance its domestic logic and memory sectors are still a work in progress. In fact, China has yet to achi... » 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

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

Measuring Atoms And Beyond


David Seiler, chief of the Engineering Physics Division within the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the current and future directions of metrology. NIST, a physical science laboratory, is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: W... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers At this week’s Flash Memory Summit, Samsung rolled out several new products, including its next-generation 3D NAND device and a solid-state drive (SSD) with capacities up to 32 terabytes. At the same time, Samsung introduced a new and high-performance SSD solution, dubbed the Z-SSD. Samsung’s Z-SSD shares the fundamental structure of V-NAND and has a unique circuit design and... » read more

May The Cheapest Memory Win


There are a number of new memory types on the horizon. So why are we still using DRAM, SRAM and hard disk drives developed decades ago? The answer is complicated. Memory, whether it’s on-chip static RAM cache or off-chip dynamic RAM—or flash storage or spinning magnetic media—is really a stack of data storage technologies that need to work seamlessly together and with other non-memory ... » read more

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