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LIFT Your 3D Printing Application


A major focus at Photonics West 2015 was 3D additive manufacturing. There were sessions on laser additive processing, digital light fabrication, and MOEMS devices. In all sessions, there were papers about systems, materials processing and applications. Here are a few of the papers that caught my attention. Two photon fabrication was the most commonly reported technique, it is the only way to... » read more

GaN Manufacturing Meets Big Silicon


I have been talking about GaN on Silicon for several years because it offers a path to cost reduction in LED’s in the same way as silicon semiconductors. This year at Photonics West 2015, Aixtron presented its next generation 6-inch wafer system with all the automation that the semiconductor guys expect to be able to build GaN power transistors. The systems are configured as cluster tools... » read more

Imitation game movie review, fair or foul ?


It’s a bit of a stretch, but seeing as Alan Turing is the original thinker behind this whole industry, I am going to take the liberty of a review of the new movie “Imitation Game”. Prior to raising the curtain on the story of the breaking of the Enigma code during the second world war, Turing was unknown outside the computer science community. He was the original thinker behind the comput... » read more

Hard Drive Progress Report


In June, I heard from HGST that very nice progress on Bit Patterned Media (BPM) would be reported in August. At The Magnetic Recording Conference (TMRC) meeting in August, the HGST team presented four papers on aspects of their Bit Patterned Media program. Their progress was definitely nice! The bottom line was shown in a poster with record-breaking BPM read and write at 1.6 Tdot per square ... » read more

Big Data In The Fab


A modern fab is a very complicated place, with a huge amount of information required to correctly process wafers. But even more data is created to characterize the equipment and wafers. The idea is if there is complete knowledge of the fab then everything should be predictable, including yield, and running it an optimal fashion is possible. The challenges with big data all revolve around co... » read more

Predictive Fab Management


Managing variation requires a different approach in fab management, moving from reactive to predictive methodologies. This is easier said than done, however. Predictive fab management requires a much more detailed understanding of everything happening in the fab, including process variation, equipment variation, mix variation—all of which must be managed with dispatch strategies to produc... » read more

DSA: Hype Or Revolution?


Directed self-assembly (DSA) has become the subject of a great deal of research attention in the lithography world, to the point where there were dedicated sessions at this year’s Advanced Lithography conference in February. So is this just another passing research fad, or is it a technology that will revolutionize semiconductor manufacturing? DSA utilizes a block copolymer that effectivel... » read more

The Uncertain Future Of Hard Drives


The future of hard drives has been an iffy subject for nearly a decade. The most recent pressure has come from solid-state drives made from flash memory, which have transformed cell phones and tablets and other portable appliances. But the Internet has driven a staggering demand for data storage and the hard drive business has thrived. The question of what’s next for hard drives first appe... » read more

The Largest Planet-Wide Business Opportunity….Ever


Last week was the official start of the largest planet-wide business opportunity for semiconductors…ever. The world’s largest economy has decided that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that will be regulated. Direct action has started. In a few years every new car will be a hybrid, renewable power generation will be the norm, and every new house will have solar panels. To my mind this has b... » read more

Beyond Moore’s Law


What do you make of all the different reports coming out of Advanced Lithography 2014 — the end of Moore's Law, continued problems with EUV, directed self-assembly assembly makes progress? An equipment insider, whose judgment I value, came back from the meeting and concluded, "We will see the end of Moore’s Law shrinks in 2020. After that, no one knows!” There is no way a $300B+ business ... » read more

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