The Week In Review: Manufacturing

ALE; 2.5D/3D consortiums; NI’s tools; GF’s parent.

popularity

Fab tools
Applied Materials has officially rolled out the Producer Selectra system, a selective etch tool.

The system falls under the loosely defined category called atomic layer etch (ALE). Applied’s technology addresses a number of challenges. Today’s advanced chips have complex structures. They may also have deep and narrow trenches.

One of the challenges is the inability of wet chemistry to penetrate tiny structures. Another is the removal of unwanted materials without causing damage.

Targeted for logic and memory, Applied’s technology can selectively remove targeted materials without causing damage. It employs a chemistry that removes a variety of dielectric, metal, and semiconductor films with atomic-level precision. “People are asking us for this level of capability,” said Shankar Venkataraman, general manager of the Selective Removal Products division at Applied Materials. “When you talk about atomic level, you are talking about a very fine level of etching.”

Selectra systems are in volume production at foundry, logic and memory chipmakers.

Test, assembly and packaging
A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has formed a pair of 2.5D/3D packaging consortiums. These include the Chip-on-Wafer Consortium II and the Cost-Effective Interposer Consortium.

The Chip-on-Wafer (CoW) Consortium II will build on the first CoW consortium to further reduce production time and costs for 3D/2.5D packaging. The first consortium demonstrated a chip-on-wafer bonding with copper-copper diffusion bonding technology.

The CoW Consortium II will further develop this technology. The members include Altera, KLA-Tencor, Kulicke & Soffa, Panasonic, SanDisk, Sony, Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) and Toray.

Meanwhile, the Cost-Effective Interposer Consortium will address the high manufacturing costs of interposers. The members of this group are Altera, Inotera, KLA-Tencor, Picosun, STATS ChipPAC, Teradyne, Tessolve, TEL, United Microelectronics Corp. and Veeco.

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National Instruments (NI) has announced the PXIe-4135 source measure unit (SMU) with a measurement sensitivity of 10 fA and voltage output up to 200 V. Engineers can use the NI PXIe-4135 SMU to measure low-current signals. Applications include wafer-level parametric test, materials research and characterization of low-current sensors and ICs. In addition, NI announced the beta release of Multisim Live, a fully web-based schematic capture and circuit simulation tool powered by SPICE technology.

Chipmakers
Abu Dhabi’s two largest state-owned investment companies will merge amid a decline in crude oil prices, according to Bloomberg. The firms, International Petroleum Investment Co. and Mubadala Development, will be overseen by a committee. GlobalFoundries is a wholly owned Mubadala business.

Samsung has announced the development of 5G-ready antenna and power amplifier technologies to enable smaller and more energy efficient systems. The new technologies are intended to be applied to both 5G base stations and end-user devices using 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum.

Micron Technology posted a loss for the quarter. The company plans to cut jobs.

Deals
Renesas has received a number of buyout offers. The latest is from Nidec, but Renesas wants to stay independent, according to reports.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) has taken a 70% stake in LFoundry, a specialty foundry, for 49 million euros. With this acquisition, SMIC has formally entered into the automotive electronics market.

Matheson has executed an agreement for the purchase of eighteen air separation plants from Air Liquide in the United States. The sale of these assets is required by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in connection with Air Liquide’s recently closed acquisition of Airgas.

Universal Display has acquired the OLED intellectual property (IP) assets of BASF for approximately 87 million euros.