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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers Here comes the battle between 5nm and 6nm processes at two foundry vendors—Samsung and TSMC. Meanwhile, Intel is behind and scrambling to get 10nm out the door. (Intel's 10nm is equivalent to 7nm from the foundries.) Last week, TSMC announced delivery of a complete version of its 5nm design infrastructure. TSMC’s 5nm technology is based on a finFET. This week, Samsung anno... » read more

More Rare Earth Rumblings


It’s time to look at the market for rare earths again. Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. These elements, which are critical, are used in cars, consumer electronics, computers, communications, clean energy and defense systems. So why worry about them? China produces and controls 80% of the world’s rare earths. Other nations depend on China for these materi... » read more

Lithography Options For Next-Gen Devices


Chipmakers are ramping up extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography for advanced logic at 7nm and/or 5nm, but EUV isn’t the only lithographic option on the table. For some time, the industry has been working on an assortment of other next-generation lithography technologies, including a new version of EUV. Each technology is different and aimed at different applications. Some are here today, w... » read more

Inspecting IC Packages Using Die Sorters


The shift toward more complex IC packages requires more advanced inspection systems in the production flow to capture unwanted defects in products. This includes traditional optical inspection tools in the in-line production flow, but it also now requires new die sorting equipment with advanced inspection capabilities. Die sorters are not the kind of equipment that typically attracts attenti... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 16


Water that won’t freeze ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed water that doesn’t freeze at cold temperatures. Using various molecules with water, researchers have been able to cool the substance down to minus 263 degrees Celsius. Even then, there were no ice crystals formed in the substance. This technology could be used to develop new biomolecules and membranes for ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tools ASML said it has disagreed with any implication that it has been a victim of “Chinese espionage,” as stated in an article in a Dutch newspaper. The article discusses the results of a public court case in the United States that ASML won last year. In the case, XTAL was found by a jury to have misappropriated ASML’s confidential and proprietary information as well as trade secret... » read more

3D NAND Metrology Challenges Growing


3D NAND vendors face several challenges to scale their devices to the next level, but one manufacturing technology stands out as much more difficult at each turn—metrology. Metrology, the art of measuring and characterizing structures, is used to pinpoint problems and ensure yields for all chip types. In the case of 3D NAND, the metrology tools are becoming more expensive at each iteration... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 8


Designing metamaterials Sandia National Laboratories has developed an inverse-design software technology that automates the design of optical metamaterials. Metamaterials are artificial materials containing arrays of metal nanostructures or mega-atoms. Some metamaterials are able to bend light around objects, rendering them invisible. But they only interact with light over a very narrow ran... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Public policy The rise of the digital economy is creating millions of new jobs, but it’s difficult to fill these positions. So, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a U.S.-based trade group, is encouraging hi-tech companies to offer more apprenticeships. This is especially true for software engineering, networking, data analytics, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. The Semic... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 2


Bright particle accelerators The High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) has reached a major milestone in the world’s most luminous or brightest particle accelerator. KEK has recently made the first physics run in the SuperKEKB, a storage ring that combines an electron-positron collider with a new and advanced detector. Electron-positron collisions have restarted at the SuperK... » read more

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