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

Changing Direction In Chip Design


Andrzej Strojwas, chief technologist at PDF Solutions and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University—and the winner of this year's Phil Kaufman Award for distinguished contributions to EDA—sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about device scaling, why the semiconductor industry will begin to fragment around new architectures and packaging, and ... » read more

Can We Measure Next-Gen FinFETs?


After ramping up their respective 16nm/14nm finFET processes, chipmakers are moving towards 10nm and/or 7nm, with 5nm in R&D. But as they move down the process roadmap, they will face a new set of fab challenges. In addition to lithography and interconnects, there is metrology. Metrology, the science of measurements, is used to characterize tiny films and structures. It helps to boost yi... » read more

Measuring Atoms And Beyond


David Seiler, chief of the Engineering Physics Division within the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the current and future directions of metrology. NIST, a physical science laboratory, is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: W... » 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

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

Measuring FinFETs Will Get Harder


The industry is gradually migrating toward chips based on finFET transistors at 16nm/14nm and beyond, but manufacturing those finFETs is proving to be a daunting challenge in the fab. Patterning is the most difficult process for finFETs. But another process, metrology, is fast becoming one of the biggest challenges for the next-generation transistor technology. In fact, [getkc id="252" kc_n... » read more

Taming Mask Metrology


For years the IC industry has worried about a bevy of issues with the photomask. Mask costs are the top concern, but mask complexity, write times and defect inspection are the other key issues for both optical and EUV photomasks. Now, mask metrology, the science of measuring the key parameters on the mask, is becoming a new challenge. On this front, mask makers are concerned about the critic... » 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

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