The Mighty Sensor In The Fab


The days of scheduled maintenance on fab equipment are coming to an end. In fact, the entire service model as we know it is about to undergo a mammoth change. The addition of more sensors into manufacturing equipment may seem like an evolutionary step, but the impact is going to be much more significant than it might appear. Rather than just alerting fab managers or equipment makers when a p... » read more

5 Top Storylines For NAND Biz


2019 is expected to be a busy, if not difficult, year in the NAND flash memory market. Vendors will continue to ramp up 3D NAND, the successor to traditional 2D or planar NAND. Then, over the last year, prices for NAND have dropped with oversupply in the market. What’s in store in 2019? Vendors are expected to rush out their next-generation products. Then, there is a debate whether the... » read more

Creating Higher Density 3D NAND Structures


3D NAND flash memory has enabled a new generation of non-volatile solid-state storage useful in nearly every electronic device imaginable. 3D NAND can achieve data densities exceeding those of 2D NAND structures, even when fabricated on later generation technology nodes. The methods used to increase storage capacity come with potentially significant tradeoffs in memory storage, structural sta... » read more

Multiple Approaches To Memory Challenges


As we enter the era of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is amazing to think about the possibilities for a truly seismic shift in the changing requirements for memory solutions. The massive amount of data humans generate every year is astounding and yet is expected to increase five-fold in the next few years from machine-generated data. Further compounding this growth is the emergin... » read more

New Model To Advance Industry Roadmaps


Economically, geopolitically and technologically – with visibility for the future unclear – there couldn’t be a better time for the microelectronics industry to take stock of its options. The U.S. government obsesses with whether to build a bigger wall. The trade war continues to have significant impact across the globe, straining U.S./China relationships to the point of saber rattling... » read more

What’s For Dinner?


Robots, as currently implemented, don’t do well in uncontrolled environments. In factories and warehouses, they are fenced off by yellow safety tape, doing highly repetitive and predictable tasks. When deployed to monitor parks and malls, they are easily thwarted by malicious humans and even unexpected landscape features. Yet robots able to assist elderly and disabled people will be genuin... » read more

Variation’s Long Tentacles


Today, most design engineers don't pay much attention to variation. It's generally considered to be a manufacturing problem. Even within the fab, various job functions are segmented enough that variation in one part of the process, such as the photomask shop, doesn't necessarily come to the attention of the people doing deposition and etch or those polishing the wafers. But increasingly, ... » read more

Fearless chip and fab tool forecasts


2019 is expected to be a challenging, if not confusing, year for the semiconductor and fab equipment industries. For example, Apple recently issued a warning about lackluster smartphone demand, which impacted several IC vendors and foundries. Then, the memory market is plummeting. In addition, the 10nm/7nm transition has proven to be difficult for many. And let’s not forget the geopolitica... » read more

Analyzing Worst-Case Silicon Photonic Device Performance Through Process Modeling And Optical Simulation


Silicon photonics is an emerging and rapidly-expanding design platform that promises to enable higher-bandwidth communication and other applications. One of the best qualities of silicon photonics is its ability to leverage existing CMOS fabrication equipment and process flows. However, this means that it is subject to the same process defects and variations. Previous blog posts [References 1,2... » read more

Keeping Up Power And Performance With Cobalt


Chip designers require simultaneous improvements in “PPAC”: power, performance and area/cost (Fig. 1). Achieving these improvements is becoming increasingly difficult as classic Moore's Law scaling slows. What's needed is a new playbook for the industry consisting of new materials, new architectures, new 3D structures within the chip, new methods to shrink feature geometries, and advanced p... » read more

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