Why Scaling Must Continue


The entire semiconductor industry has come to the realization that the economics of scaling logic are gone. By any metric—price per transistor, price per watt, price per unit area of silicon—the economics are no longer in the plus column. So why continue? The answer is more complicated than it first appears. This isn't just about inertia and continuing to miniaturize what was proven in t... » read more

Outlook For Masks, Materials and Wafers


After a slowdown in the first half of 2019, chipmakers and equipment vendors face a cloudy outlook for the second half of this year, with a possible recovery in 2020. But what about other key technologies like materials, photomasks and silicon wafers? These are also critical for the semiconductor supply chain and are key indicators where the market is heading. In the first half of 2019, m... » read more

Advanced Patterning Techniques For 3D NAND Devices


By Yu De Chen and Jacky Huang Driven by Moore’s law, memory and logic semiconductor manufacturers pursue higher transistor density to improve product cost and performance [1]. In NAND Flash technologies, this has led to the market dominance of 3D structures instead of 2D planar devices. Device density can be linearly increased by increasing stack layer counts in a 3D NAND device [2]. At th... » read more

Silicon Carbide’s Superpowers


As we enter a new computing era driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), demand is growing for more energy-efficient chips. In this context, we usually think about Moore’s Law and reducing the size of transistors. However, advances in power semiconductors are not governed by node size reduction. Silicon power switches, such as MOSFETs and IGBTs, ar... » read more

Breaking The AI Memory Bottleneck


In the long unfolding arc of technology innovation, artificial intelligence (AI) looms as immense. In its quest to mimic human behavior, the technology touches energy, agriculture, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, construction, transportation and nearly every other imaginable industry – a defining role that promises to fast track the fourth Industrial Revolution. And if the industry orac... » read more

Semicon West Debrief


AI vs. energy. Quantum for everyone. Biofabrication of human organs on a mass scale. Slowing advancements from Moore’s law. In the midst of a market dip, optimism reigned as keynote and AI Design Forum speakers addressed both looming challenges and explosive market opportunities during July 9-10 presentations at SEMICON West 2019 in San Francisco. SEMICON West again proved to be a magnet f... » read more

Recent Earthquakes Highlight Risk To Semiconductor Manufacturing Sites


On July 4, 2019, southern California experienced a 6.4 magnitude earthquake followed by a 7.1 earthquake the next day. Both earthquakes occurred near the town of Ridgecrest, but they were not related to the San Andreas fault, an 800-mile fault zone in California where two tectonic plates meet. The San Andreas fault is generally considered to be where “the big one” could occur in California,... » read more

The Danger Of Twin Supply Chains


No matter how the ongoing dispute between the United States and China turns out, damage already has been done. It's not the kind of damage that is immediately visible to the outside world. It's more of the long-term, policy-shift kind of problem, which over time will likely prove much worse. Many executives have termed recent sanctions on Huawei and other Chinese companies "China's Sputnik m... » read more

China’s Latest Goal—More DRAMs


China is once again making a concerted effort to get its domestic DRAM industry off the ground. Past efforts have fallen short or failed. This time around, it’s unclear if China will succeed, but the industry should pay close attention here. So why would China want to play a bigger role in the tough and competitive DRAM business? For one thing, the U.S. and China are in the midst of a t... » read more

Process Control For Next-Generation Memories


The Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are driving the need for higher speeds and more power-efficient computing. The industry is responding by bringing new memory technologies to the marketplace. Three new types of memory in particular—MRAM (magnetic random access memory), PCRAM (phase change RAM) and ReRAM (resistive RAM)—are emerging as leading candidat... » read more

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