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

Interconnect Challenges Rising


Chipmakers are ramping up their 14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm slated to ship possibly later this year or next. At 10nm and beyond, IC vendors are determined to scale the two main parts of the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] structure—the transistor and interconnects. Generally, transistor scaling will remain challenging at advanced nodes. And on top of that, the interconnects ... » read more

Next Challenge: Contact Resistance


In chip scaling, there is no shortage of challenges. Scaling the finFET transistor and the interconnects are the biggest challenges for current and future devices. But now, there is another part of the device that’s becoming an issue—the contact. Typically, the contact doesn’t get that much attention, but the industry is beginning to worry about the resistance in the contacts, or conta... » read more

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

How To Make 3D NAND


In 2013, Samsung reached a major milestone in the IC industry by shipping the world’s first 3D NAND device. Now, after some delays and uncertainty, Intel, Micron, SK Hynix and the SanDisk/Toshiba duo are finally ramping up or sampling 3D NAND. 3D NAND is the long-awaited successor to today’s planar or 2D NAND, which is used in memory cards, solid-state storage drives (SSDs), USB flash dr... » read more

The Internet Of Power Also Benefits From Moore’s Law


By Jef Poortmans It may sound strange, but striving to achieve smaller dimensions with Moore’s Law is an important enabler for producing increasingly better solar cells, with a more elaborate technology toolbox (including ALD, epitaxy, etc.) Improved process steps are constantly being developed to achieve these small transistor dimensions (for growing material layers or to etch away str... » read more

Lam To Acquire KLA-Tencor


In a major and surprising move in the fab tool business, Lam Research has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KLA-Tencor for about $10.6 billion in cash and stock. Lam’s proposed move to acquire KLA-Tencor would create a powerhouse in the fab tool industry. The combined company will have approximately $8.7 billion in annual revenue, propelling it to become the world’s second l... » read more

ALD Market Heats Up


Amid the shift to 3D NAND, finFETs and other device architectures, the atomic layer deposition (ALD) market is heating up on several fronts. Applied Materials, for example, recently moved to shakeup the landscape by rolling out a new, high-throughput ALD tool. Generally, [getkc id="250" kc_name="ALD"] is a process that deposits materials layer-by-layer at the atomic level, enabling thin and ... » read more

Surprises At SEMICON West


As companies such as TSMC and Intel spend less on capital expenditures this year, expectations for SEMICON West 2015 were pretty bleak. I thought I’d have fewer appointments and nothing to really write home about. Au contraire. Although traffic on the show floor was nothing compared to events like CES, there are three things that are driving growth and excitement at semiconductor equipment... » read more

Flash Dance For Inspection And Metrology


Chipmakers are moving from planar technology to an assortment of 3D-like architectures, such as 3D NAND and finFETs For these devices, chipmakers face a multitude of challenges in the fab. But one surprising and oft-forgotten technology is emerging as perhaps the biggest challenge in both logic and memory—process control. Process control includes metrology and wafer inspection. Metrolo... » read more

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