Politics And (Low) Power


This week the entire semiconductor market woke up with a severe political hangover. Aside from the initial shock of the election results themselves, the winning platform of "America First" could have far-reaching implications for an industry that has spent decades optimizing a global supply chain the way it has finely tuned other processes to reduce the cost per transistor. There are many un... » 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

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


NuFlare Technology wants to enter a new market. The e-beam giant and NGR are jointly collaborating on a development program for next-generation electron-beam wafer inspection and metrology. It’s unclear if NuFlare is developing a single- or multi-beam tool, however. Don’t look now, but a fab tool downturn could be on the horizon. This comes amid a slowdown in PCs, tablets and smartphone... » read more

Still Searching For Rare Earths


There is both good and bad news for buyers of rare earths. The good news: It’s a buyers’ market. Prices for rare earths remain depressed amid a glut in the marketplace. The bad news: The supplier base is shaky. China still accounts for 85% of the world’s total production of rare earths, but most Chinese suppliers are operating at a loss. And two of the main non-Chinese suppliers, M... » read more

5 Technologies To Watch


The industry is developing a dizzying array of new technologies. In fact, there are more new and innovative technologies than ever before. And the list is countless. At least from my vantage point, I have come up with my own list of the top five technologies to watch in 2015 and beyond. They are listed in alphabetical order. (See below). Obviously, there are more than just five technologi... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 23


Diamond shock waves For years, the industry has been exploring the use of diamonds for electronics applications. Diamonds could be used to reduce heat in electronic systems. In addition, diamond FETs are also intriguing. Diamond has a wide bandgap (5.45 eV), a high breakdown field (10MV/cm), and high thermal conductivity (22W/cmK). But it could take years before diamond FETs reach the mains... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 9


Making rare earths Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. They are used in cars, consumer electronics, computers, communications, clean energy and defense systems. The big market for rare earths is magnets. In semiconductor production, rare earths are used in high-k dielectrics, CMP slurries and other applications. China has a monopoly in rare earths, accounting for... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: May 12


Photonic thermometers The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a new class of photonic thermometers. These chip-based thermometers measure temperature using light. They are resistant to electromagnetic interference and are self-calibrating. In the future, photonic thermometers could be buried into walls or sent into space. They could be used for chemical, pres... » read more

Searching For Rare Earths Again


Rare earths are back in the spotlight again. Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. They are used in cars, consumer electronics, computers, communications, clean energy and defense systems. The big market for rare earths is magnets. In semiconductor production, rare earths are used in high-k dielectrics, CMP slurries and other applications. Last year, the World Tr... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 22


Detecting counterfeit goods Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. They are critical for use in the production of cars, consumer electronics, computers, communications, clean energy, health care, national defense systems and others. Researchers are looking for new ways to integrate rare earths into potential chips and other applications. For example, the Massachuset... » read more

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