200mm Crisis?


Over the last year or so, the IC industry has experienced an acute shortage of both 200mm fab capacity and 200mm equipment amid a surge of demand for certain chips. Right now, though, the 200mm shortfall is much worse than before. But this situation isn’t expected to improve for both elements in the second half of 2017, and perhaps beyond. On the capacity front, chipmakers are generally... » read more

2.5D, Fan-Out Inspection Issues Grow


As advanced packaging moves into the mainstream, packaging houses and equipment makers are ratcheting up efforts to solve persistent metrology and inspection issues. The goal is to lower the cost of fan-outs, [getkc id="82" kc_name="2.5D"] and [getkc id="42" kc_name="3D-IC"], along with a number of other packaging variants consistent with the kinds of gains that are normally associated with Moo... » read more

Mask Maker Worries Grow


Photomasks are becoming more complex and expensive at each node, thereby creating a number of challenges on several fronts. For one thing, the features on the [getkc id="265" kc_name="photomask"] are becoming smaller and more complex at each node. Second, the number of masks per mask-set are increasing as a result of multiple patterning. Third, it costs more to build and equip a new mask fab... » read more

E-beam Vs. Optical Inspection


The wafer inspection business is heating up as chipmakers encounter new and tiny killer defects in advanced devices. Last month ASML Holding entered into an agreement to acquire Hermes Microvision (HMI), the world’s largest e-beam inspection vendor, for $3.1 billion. The proposed move propelled ASML into the e-beam wafer inspection market. In addition, [getentity id="22817" e_name="Appl... » read more

Insider’s Guide To Photomasks


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about photomasks and lithography with Franklin Kalk, executive vice president of technology at Toppan Photomasks, a merchant photomask supplier. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s hot in mask technology these days? Kalk: It’s everything from the bleeding-edge like EUV to much more mature manufacturing. On the mature si... » read more

Inside Inspection And Metrology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about inspection, metrology and other issues with Mehdi Vaez-Iravani, vice president of advanced imaging technologies at Applied Materials. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Today, the industry is working on a new range of complex architectures, such as 3D NAND and finFETs. For these technologies, the industry is clearly struggling... » 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

Gaps Remain For EUV Masks


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is once again at a critical juncture. The oft-delayed technology is now being targeted for 7nm. But there are still a number of technologies that must come together before EUV is inserted into mass production at that node. First, the EUV source must generate more power. Second, tool uptime must improve. Third, the industry needs better EUV resists. A... » read more

Mask Supply Chain Preps For 10nm


As the semiconductor industry gears up for the 10nm logic node—now likely to begin in the second half of 2017—the photomask supply chain is preparing to grapple with the associated challenges, including dramatic increases in photomask complexity, write times and data volumes. The 10nm node will require more photomasks per mask set, the ability to print smaller and more complex features, ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: March 24


Mouse brains to multi-beam At the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography conference, Sematech provided an update on its multi-beam, e-beam inspection program. The goal is to develop a next-generation inspection tool, which could be faster than traditional e-beam inspection and could one day displace brightfield inspection. “Optical inspection is having trouble detecting particles that are small... » read more

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