The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Last year, Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) completed the acquisition of Linear Technology. Now, ADI plans to shut down one of Linear’s fabs as well as a test operation. “Analog Devices plans to close the smallest of its four wafer fabs, which was acquired as part of its March 2017 acquisition of Linear Technology and is located at Hillview Drive in Milpitas, California. This clo... » read more

FD-SOI Adoption Expands


Fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) is gaining ground across a number of new markets, ranging from IoT to automotive to machine learning, and diverging sharply from its original position as a less costly alternative to finFET-based designs. For years, [getkc id="220" kc_name="FD-SOI"] has been viewed as an either/or solution targeted at the same markets as bulk [gettech id="31093" c... » read more

Transistor Options Beyond 3nm


Despite a slowdown in chip scaling amid soaring costs, the industry continues to search for a new transistor type 5 to 10 years out—particularly for the 2nm and 1nm nodes. Specifically, the industry is pinpointing and narrowing down the transistor options for the next major nodes after 3nm. Those two nodes, called 2.5nm and 1.5nm, are slated to appear in 2027 and 2030, respectively, accord... » read more

Cheaper Packaging Options Ahead


Lower-cost packaging options and interconnects are either under development or just being commercialized, all of which could have a significant impact on the economics of advanced packaging. By far, the most cited reason why companies don't adopt advanced [getkc id="27" kc_name="packaging"] is cost. Currently, silicon [getkc id="204" kc_name="interposers"] add about $30 to the price of a med... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The IC industry continues to consolidate. For example, Qualcomm has a proposed plan to buy NXP. And then, Broadcom wants to buy Qualcomm. Who is next? In a research note, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves said: “According to Bloomberg, Microsemi is exploring a sale and we think logical acquirers could include Skyworks. We continue to view Microsemi as a notable strategic as... » read more

Nodes Vs. Nodelets


Foundries are flooding the market with new nodes and different process options at existing nodes, spreading confusion and creating a variety of challenges for chipmakers. There are full-node processes, such as 10nm and 7nm, with 5nm and 3nm in R&D. But there also is an increasing number of half-nodes or "node-lets" being introduced, including 12nm, 11nm, 8nm, 6nm and 4nm. Node-lets ar... » read more

The Future Of FinFETs


The number of questions about finFETs is increasing—particularly, how long can they continue to be used before some version of gate-all-around FET is required to replace them. This discussion is confusing in many respects. For one thing, a 7nm finFET for TSMC or Samsung is not the same as a 7nm finFET for Intel or GlobalFoundries. There are a bunch of other nodes being proposed, as well, i... » read more

The Advantages Of FD-SOI Technology


If my memory serves me well, it was at the 1989 Device Research Conference where the potential merits of SOI (Silicon on Insulator) technology were discussed in a heated evening panel discussion. At that panel discussion, there were many advocates for SOI, as well as many naysayers. I didn’t really think more about SOI technology until the mid-nineties, when I was sitting in a meeting where t... » read more

Understanding Process And Design Systematics


As design rules shrink, semiconductor manufacturing becomes more complex which leads to a huge increase in the defects which could cause a non-yielding die. Process control and inline defect analysis becomes widely relevant to help shorten the learning process from R&D to production. This paper discusses the various methodologies which leverage patterned wafer inspection tools to help analyze d... » read more

E-beam Inspection Makes Inroads


E-beam inspection is gaining traction in critical areas in fab production as it is becoming more difficult to find tiny defects with traditional methods at advanced nodes. Applied Materials, ASML/HMI and others are developing new e-beam inspection tools and/or techniques to solve some of the more difficult defect issues in the fab. [gettech id="31057" t_name="E-beam"] inspection is one of tw... » read more

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