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

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

2017: Manufacturing And Markets


While the industry is busy chatting about the end of Moore's Law and a maturing of the semiconductor industry, the top minds of many companies are having none of it. A slowdown in one area is just an opportunity, in another and that is reflected in the predictions for this year. As in previous years, Semiconductor Engineering will look back on these predictions at the end of the year to see ... » read more

Reflecting Back On 2016


Anyone can make a prediction, and sometimes the more outlandish they are the more they get noticed. But at the end of the year some people hit the mark while others may have been way off. Many people simply make projections based on the current trajectory of trends, while others look for the potential discontinuities that may lie ahead. Semiconductor Engineering examines the projections made... » 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

Multi-Patterning Issues At 7nm, 5nm


Continuing to rely on 193nm immersion lithography with multiple patterning is becoming much more difficult at 7nm and 5nm. With the help of various resolution enhancement techniques, optical lithography using a deep ultraviolet excimer laser has been the workhorse patterning technology in the fab since the early 1980s. It is so closely tied with the continuation of [getkc id="74" comment="Mo... » read more

More EUV Mask Gaps


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is at a critical juncture. After several delays and glitches, [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] is now targeted for 7nm and/or 5nm. But there are still a number of technologies that must come together before EUV is inserted into mass production. And if the pieces don’t fall into place, EUV could slip again. First, the EUV source must generate more ... » read more

Will GPU-Acceleration Mean The End Of Empirical Mask Models?


Shrinking mask feature sizes and increasing proximity effects are driving the adoption of simulation-based mask processing. Empirical models have been most widely used to date, because they are faster to simulate. Today, GPU-acceleration is enabling fast simulation using physical models. Does the ability of GPU-acceleration to make physical models a practical solution mean the end of empirical ... » read more

What Happened To Inverse Lithography?


Nearly 10 years ago, the industry rolled out a potentially disruptive technique called inverse lithography technology (ILT). But ILT was ahead of its time, causing the industry to push out the technology and relegate it to niche-oriented applications. Today, though, ILT is getting new attention as the semiconductor industry pushes toward 7nm, and perhaps beyond. ILT is not a next-generation ... » read more

GPU Accelerated Computing


The computing applications used in semiconductor design and manufacturing have ever-increasing requirements for speed, accuracy and reliability. The continuation of Moore's Law creates a perpetual demand for greater accuracy as, with each new process node, larger numbers of increasingly smaller features are crowded onto each mask and wafer. Computing farms, where thousands of central processing... » read more

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