5 Issues Under The Foundry Radar


In the foundry business, the leading-edge segment grabs most, if not all, of the headlines. Foundry vendors, of course, are ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm in R&D. The leading-edge foundry business is sizable, but it’s not the only thing going on in the competitive arena. In fact, there are battles taking place in many other foundry segments, such as 2.5D/3D packag... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: March 17


EUV source firm seeks help In 2012, a startup called Zplasma came out of stealth mode and introduced its first technology—a next-generation power source for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. But after much fanfare and hope, Zplasma has been unable to commercialize its EUV source technology. The company has also been unable to attract a development partner or outside funding. And t... » read more

Time To Look At SOI Again


Chipmakers have the luxury of looking at several process options when developing chips at the 28nm node and beyond. Using bulk CMOS, for example, chipmakers can scale planar transistors down to 20nm. Then, at 20nm, planar runs out of gas due to the so-called short-channel effect. At that point, IC makers must migrate towards finFETs at 16nm/14nm and beyond. Another process option is fully... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 14


Toyota’s power steering IC Today’s cars are making use of more electronics. The increase in electronic content is driving the need for high temperature and high voltage chips. The electric power steering (EPS) system is one example. EPS provides power assist even when the engine is stopped. It also improves fuel economy compared to hydraulic power steering, according to automotive giant... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Sept. 23


The annual IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) will take place in San Francisco from Dec. 15-17. As usual, there will be presentations on the latest technologies in a number of fields, such as semiconductors, bio‐sensors, energy harvesting, power devices, sensors, magnetics, spintronics, two-dimensional electronics, among others. Here’s just some of the papers that will be pr... » read more

Has The IC Industry Hit A ‘Red Brick Wall’?


In the mid-1980s, the semiconductor industry was in a crisis. Chipmakers were looking for ways to break the magical one-micron barrier. Many thought X-ray lithography would be required to break the barrier, but as it turned out, traditional optical technology did the trick. And the industry marched on. Then, in 2000 or so, the IC industry was nearing the so-called “red brick wall,” which... » read more

The Search For The Next Transistor


In the near term, the leading-edge chip roadmap looks fairly clear. Chips based on today’s finFETs and planar fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) technologies are expected to scale down to the 10nm node. But then, the CMOS roadmap becomes foggy at 7nm and beyond. The industry has been exploring a number of next-generation transistor candidates, but suddenly, a few technologies are ... » read more

Fab Tool Industry Has Lost Its Way


The relationship between chipmakers and fab tool vendors has always been a bit rocky, but the supply chain has generally worked. Chipmakers demand a tool for a particular application. Then, tool makers attempt to deliver the goods, and ask few, if any, questions. Now, fab tool executives are beginning to ask some tough questions about the industry. And the tension is mounting between equ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing And Design


Crucial.com reveals a surprising way to gain more time for improving one's personal health: fix a slow computer. A nationwide survey revealed that U.S. adults think they waste an average of 16 minutes per day waiting for their computer to load or boot up. Equating to two hours each week and four days per year lost to the wiles of a slow computer, it's no surprise that 66% of Americans say that ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 17


Implantable TFETs At the recent IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in Washington, D.C., a number of companies, R&D organizations and universities described new breakthroughs in perhaps the next big thing in semiconductors--the tunnel field-effect transistor (TFET). Aimed for the 5nm node, TFETs are steep sub-threshold slope transistors that can scale the supply voltages bel... » read more

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