The Trouble With MEMS


The advent of the Internet of Things will open up a slew of new opportunities for MEMS-based sensors, but chipmakers are proceeding cautiously. There are a number of reasons for that restraint. Microelectromechanical systems are difficult to design, manufacture and test, which initially fueled optimism in the MEMS ecosystem that this market would command the same kinds of premiums that analo... » read more

Can Nano-Patterning Save Moore’s Law?


For years the academic community has explored a novel technology called selective deposition. Then, more than a year ago, Intel spearheaded an effort to bring the technology from the lab to the fab at 7nm or 5nm. Today, selective deposition is still in R&D, but it is gaining momentum in the industry. With R&D funding from Intel and others, selective deposition, sometimes called ALD-e... » read more

It’s a Materials World, With Positive Forecast


By Michael Fury What’s the latest in materials forecasts for ALD/CVD precursors, CMP consumables, electronic gases, silicon wafers and sputtering targets? Techcet gives us an update. Metal Gate and Electrode Precursors to Double in Five Years Use of front-end Ta and W metal gate and Hf gate dielectric precursors will grow over 2.5x by 2020, according to a new report from Techcet, “20... » read more

New Patterning Paradigm?


Chip scaling is becoming more difficult at each process node, but the industry continues to find new and innovative ways to solve the problems at every turn. And so chipmakers continue to march down the various process nodes. But the question is for how much longer? In fact, at 16nm/14nm and beyond, chipmakers are finding new and different challenges, which, in turn, could slow IC scaling or br... » read more

Issues And Options At 5nm


While the foundries are ramping up their processes for the 16nm/14nm node, vendors are also busy developing technologies for 10nm and beyond. In fact, chipmakers are finalizing their 10nm process offerings, but they are still weighing the technology options for 7nm. And if that isn’t enough, IC makers are beginning to look at the options at 5nm and beyond. Today, chipmakers can see a p... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow


Qualcomm outlined the technology challenges facing mobile chip suppliers at a recent event. In no particular order, the challenges include the usual suspects—area scaling, power reduction, performance and cost. Another concern for Qualcomm is an often-overlooked part of the equation—the backend-of-the-line (BEOL). In chip production, the BEOL is where the interconnects are formed within ... » read more

What’s After 3D NAND?


By Mark LaPedus Planar NAND flash memory is on its last scaling legs, with 3D NAND set to become the successor to the ubiquitous 2D technology. Samsung Electronics, for one, already has begun shipping the industry’s first 3D NAND device, a 24-level, 128-gigabit chip. In addition, Micron and SK Hynix shortly will ship their respective 3D NAND devices. But the Toshiba-SanDisk duo are the lo... » read more

Getting Ready For High-Mobility FinFETs


By Mark LaPedus The IC industry entered the finFET era in 2011, when Intel leapfrogged the competition and rolled out the newfangled transistor technology at the 22nm node. Intel hopes to ramp up its second-generation finFET devices at 14nm by year’s end, with plans to debut its 11nm technology by 2015. Hoping to close the gap with Intel, silicon foundries are accelerating their efforts t... » read more