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

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers At this week’s TSMC Technology Symposium in San Jose, Calif., TSMC rolled out a dizzying array of new processes and technologies. Perhaps the most surprising announcement was a 22nm bulk CMOS process, which is geared for ultra low-power planar chips. The technology will compete against a 22nm FD-SOI technology from GlobalFoundries. Stay tuned. The battle has just begun. As e... » read more

Inside Lithography And Masks


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss lithography and photomask technologies with Gregory McIntyre, director of the Advanced Patterning Department at [getentity id="22217" e_name="Imec"]; Harry Levinson, senior fellow and senior director of technology research at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"]; David Fried, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22210" e_name="Cove... » read more

MEMS Microphones: A Bright Spot Among Commoditized Consumer Sensors


MEMS microphones have emerged as a bright spot among consumer sensors, which in general are going through a rapid commoditization and profit-squeezing trend. To understand what’s driving the MEMS microphone market, consider that the Apple iPhone 7 and 7S each have 4 MEMS microphones. As reported by System Plus Consulting, the latest iPhones have “a front-facing top microphone, presumably f... » 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

MEMS: Improving Cost And Yield


MEMS devices inspire awe on the design side. On the test and manufacturing side, they evoke a different kind of reaction. These are, after all, the intersection of mechanical and electrical engineering—a joining of two miniature worlds that are the basis of some of the most complex technology on the planet. But getting these devices to yield sufficiently, understanding what does or does no... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


SPIE news At this week’s SPIE Advanced Lithography conference, the industry paid close attention to the progress of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Here’s the general report card: EUV is making noticeable progress, but there are still some challenges ahead, such as the power source, resists and pellicles. Several issues need to be resolved before chipmakers can put EUV into mass... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Recently, Intel announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete its previously-announced fab in Chandler, Ariz. Targeted for 7nm processes, Fab 42 will be completed in 3 to 4 years. As reported, the fab announcement was made by U.S. President Donald Trump and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the White House. There is more to the story. Typically, Intel has two fabs for a gi... » read more

Optimizing DRAM Development Using Directed Self-Assembly (DSA)


Directed Self-Assembly (DSA) is an emerging technology that has the ability to substantially improve lithographic manufacturing of semiconductor devices. In DSA, copolymer materials self-assemble to form nanoscale resolution patterns on the semiconductor substrate. DSA technologies hold the promise to substantially improve the resolution of existing lithographic processes (such as self-aligned ... » read more

MEMS: A Tale Of Two Tough Markets


The MEMS market is growing rapidly, profits not so much. In most market segments, this would be a signal that more automation and standardization are required. But in the microelectromechanical systems world, fixes aren't so simple. And even where something can be automated, that automation doesn't work all the time. In fact, while MEMS devices are extremely difficult to design, build and ma... » read more

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