Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 4


China’s powerful laser The Shanghai Superintense-Ultrafast Lasers Facility (SULF) in China claims to have demonstrated the world’s most powerful laser. The ultra-intense, ultra-fast laser is said to have delivered a peak power of more than five petawatts. This is supposedly the largest peak-power laser pulse ever measured on record. A petawatt is equivalent to one quadrillion watts. ... » read more

Trade War Looms Over Materials


It’s time to pay close attention to rare earths and raw materials--again. In fact, the supply chain teams and commodity buyers at aerospace, automotive and electronics companies may have some new and potentially big problems on their hands. For some time, the European Union (EU), the United States and other nations have been at odds with China over rare earths. China, which accounts for... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 26


Jumping films Riken and the University of Tokyo have developed a tiny autonomous actuator. The actuator, which is based on a special material, can automatically curl up or straighten out when exposed to ambient humidity. And in certain conditions, the film can even jump into the air by itself. A video can be seen here. Researchers placed a material called guanidinium carbonate into a hig... » read more

How Healthy Is The Chip Market?


By Ed Sperling & Ann Steffora Mutschler The inclusion of semiconductors in more products across more market segments—many of which historically have not been large consumers of chips—is having a big impact on how they are designed and manufactured, as well as how they are tracked and quantified. In the past, semiconductor sales were so closely tied to the success of personal computers... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Nov. 3


World’s fastest phototransistor The University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed what the university claims is the world’s fastest and most responsive flexible silicon phototransistor. Phototransistors are semiconductor light sensors. They are based on a transistor with a transparent cover. They provide better sensitivity than a photodiode. The futuristic phototransistor from the Un... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


In a much-anticipated deal, IBM is close to selling its chip unit to GlobalFoundries, according to Bloomberg. GlobalFoundries wants IBM’s engineers and the IP, and not the fabs. Intel lost its challenge against a record 1.06 billion euro ($1.44 billion) European Union fine handed down five years ago, according to Reuters. The EU said Intel tried to thwart AMD by giving rebates to PC makers... » read more

EU Due Diligence For Conflict Minerals Focuses Upstream, For Now


By Rania Georgoutsakou EU proposed legislation on responsible sourcing of ‘conflict minerals’, published on 5 March 2014, will create a voluntary scheme focusing on upstream suppliers that should help downstream users get the information they need to comply with the U.S. Dodd Frank Act. The EU proposals largely address concerns raised by SEMI and other industry associations, but things cou... » read more