The Future Of FinFETs


The number of questions about finFETs is increasing—particularly, how long can they continue to be used before some version of gate-all-around FET is required to replace them. This discussion is confusing in many respects. For one thing, a 7nm finFET for TSMC or Samsung is not the same as a 7nm finFET for Intel or GlobalFoundries. There are a bunch of other nodes being proposed, as well, i... » read more

What’s Next in 3D NAND?


In 2018, the industry needs to keep a close eye on 3D NAND as the vendor base is in the midst of some major changes. The changes involve several partnerships, including the Toshiba/Western Digital and Intel/Micron duos. It also impacts the other 3D NAND players, namely Samsung and SK Hynix. But first, demand for NAND flash memory remains robust due to the onslaught of data in systems. ... » read more

The Advantages Of FD-SOI Technology


If my memory serves me well, it was at the 1989 Device Research Conference where the potential merits of SOI (Silicon on Insulator) technology were discussed in a heated evening panel discussion. At that panel discussion, there were many advocates for SOI, as well as many naysayers. I didn’t really think more about SOI technology until the mid-nineties, when I was sitting in a meeting where t... » read more

Automotive IC Industry Trends


A trend that will continue in 2018 is the rise of the smart, autonomous car. As consumers and regulators demand more capability from automobiles, semiconductors have become the most critical part of these innovative solutions. But these chips, designed to bring safety and economy to the car’s operation, also bring complexity and higher requirements for reliability, requirements that have not ... » read more

Understanding Process And Design Systematics


As design rules shrink, semiconductor manufacturing becomes more complex which leads to a huge increase in the defects which could cause a non-yielding die. Process control and inline defect analysis becomes widely relevant to help shorten the learning process from R&D to production. This paper discusses the various methodologies which leverage patterned wafer inspection tools to help analyze d... » read more

E-beam Inspection Makes Inroads


E-beam inspection is gaining traction in critical areas in fab production as it is becoming more difficult to find tiny defects with traditional methods at advanced nodes. Applied Materials, ASML/HMI and others are developing new e-beam inspection tools and/or techniques to solve some of the more difficult defect issues in the fab. [gettech id="31057" t_name="E-beam"] inspection is one of tw... » read more

Terrific Year, Terrific Outlook


2017 was a terrific year. Chip revenues closed at nearly $440B, an impressive 22 percent year-over-year growth. The equipment industry surpassed revenue levels last reached in the year 2000. Semiconductor equipment posted sales of nearly $56B and semiconductor materials $48B in 2017. For semiconductor equipment, this was a giant 36 percent year-over-year growth. Samsung, alone, invested $26... » read more

Follow The Moving Money


Semiconductor economics are changing by market, by region, and by product node and packaging type, adding new complexity into decisions about which technology to use for which products and why. Money is the common denominator in all of these decisions, whether it's measured by return on invested capital, quarterly profits, or long-term investments that can include acquisitions, organic growt... » read more

Robots Get Social


From Star Trek’s Data to Star Wars’ C-3PO, the idea of humanoid robots has fascinated people for years. Back in the real world, robots build automobiles in factories, mow lawns, and even assist in complex heart surgery. Meanwhile, the use of androids like Data is approaching reality, as semiconductor and semiconductor-related devices like low-power microprocessors, 3D sensors, accelerometer... » read more

Predictions: Manufacturing, Devices And Companies


Some predictions are just wishful thinking, but most of these are a lot more thoughtful. They project what needs to happen for various markets or products to become successful. Those far reaching predictions may not fully happen within 2018, but we give everyone the chance to note the progress made towards their predictions at the end of the year. (See Reflection On 2017: Design And EDA and Man... » read more

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