The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has expanded its process portfolio within its joint fab venture in China. The Taiwan government has approved UMC’s application to license its 28nm technology to its subsidiary company in China--United Semiconductor. The subsidiary has been ramping up 40nm technology. “This licensing approval will help Fab 12X to ramp its manufacturing scale, e... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tool vendors In the wafer fab equipment (WFE) rankings, Applied Materials was the leader in terms of market share in 2016, according to Gartner. For WFE, Lam Research jumped from fourth place in 2015 to second place in the rankings in 2016, according to Gartner. ASML was third, followed by TEL. Meanwhile, VLSI Research recently released its ranking for both front-end and backend equipment.... » read more

The Evolution Of EUV


EUV systems are beginning to ship to large foundries in volume, setting the stage for one of the biggest leaps in technology the semiconductor industry has ever witnessed. ASML has emerged as the sole supplier in this market, but it has taken an entire ecosystem to develop EUV. It has taken billions of dollars of investment by ASML, along with enormous cash infusions by Intel and TSMC, contr... » read more

Sizing up China’s Fab Tool Biz


China is pouring billions of dollars into its semiconductor industry and is building several new fabs. As reported, China is bolstering its IC industry for good reason. China is trying to reduce its huge trade imbalance in ICs. The country continues to import a large percentage of its chips from foreign vendors. Behind the scenes, China also continues to develop its domestic semiconductor eq... » read more

The Other Side Of H1-B Visas


There is a lot of discussion these days about “Hire American.” But what does that actually mean in practice? I’m at the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting this week, where one of the presentations was by a scientist who works at the TEL Technology Center, America, in Albany, NY. It’s the largest Tokyo Electron research center outside of Japan. It’s affiliated with the SUNY P... » read more

Moore’s Law: A Status Report


Moore's Law has been synonymous with "smaller, faster, cheaper" for the past 52 years, but increasingly it is viewed as just one of a number of options—some competing, some complementary—as the chip industry begins zeroing in on specific market needs. This does not make [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"] any less relevant. The number of companies racing from 16/14nm to 7nm is higher t... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab equipment and test VLSI Research has released its top 10 semiconductor equipment supplier ranking in terms of sales in 2016. Applied Materials topped the list again, achieving a growth of 18%. ASML was second, followed by Lam Research, TEL and KLA-Tencor. Fig. 1: Ranking based on 2016 sales. Source: VLSI Research. Unic Capital Management, a Chinese-based private equity fund, announ... » read more

The Great Machine Learning Race


Processor makers, tools vendors, and packaging houses are racing to position themselves for a role in machine learning, despite the fact that no one is quite sure which architecture is best for this technology or what ultimately will be successful. Rather than dampen investments, the uncertainty is fueling a frenzy. Money is pouring in from all sides. According to a new Moor Insights report,... » read more

Patterning Problems Pile Up


Chipmakers are ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm now moving into early production. But at 10nm and beyond, chipmakers are running into a new set of problems. While shrinking feature sizes of a device down to 10nm, 7nm, 5nm and perhaps beyond is possible using current and future fab equipment, there doesn't seem to be a simple way to solve the edge placement error (EPE)... » read more

Following Multiple Patterns


The lithography market is in flux. Today, chipmakers plan to extend today’s 193nm immersion lithography and multi-patterning to at least 10nm and 7nm. For the most critical layers, though, it’s unclear if optical lithography can extend beyond 7nm. For that reason, chipmakers hope to insert extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 7nm and/or 5nm. To get a handle on the state of patterning, S... » read more

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