Chip Industry Week In Review

China restricts U.S. processors; Samsung’s CXL, DRAM module and roadmap; ASML’s $2.7B retention bonus; U.S., Mexico partner up; Keysight’s $1.5B offer to Spirent; Lam’s new pulsed laser deposition; new OSAT center.


By Adam Kovac, Karen Heyman, and Liz Allan. 

China introduced strict procurement guidelines aimed at blocking the use of AMD and Intel processors in government computers.

Meanwhile, China urged the Netherlands to ease restrictions on deep ultraviolet (DUV) litho equipment, according to Nikkei Asia. DUV is an older technology, based on 193nm ArF lasers, but in conjunction with multi-patterning and immersion lithography it can be extended well into the single-digit nanometer process range. The advantage of extreme ultraviolet (EUV), DUV’s successor, is fewer mask sets and less multi-patterning, based on a 13.5nm wavelength. That makes EUV more cost-effective at the most advanced nodes due to faster throughput in the mask shop and fab, but it’s still possible to get there with DUV.

In a related move, ASML — as of today, the sole commercial EUV lithography vendor — will get a €2.5 billion (~US $2.7B) boost from the Dutch government in the form of transport and infrastructure spending to keep the company in the Netherlands.

The U.S. government is getting much more involved in the tech world. The Office of Management and Budget issued a policy intended to mitigate AI risks while also harnessing its benefits. If an agency cannot apply certain safeguards, it must stop using the AI system — unless doing so would increase risks to safety or rights, or impede critical agency operations. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to strengthen privacy and data protection enforcement, including engaging hardware engineers and technical experts on AI, ML, and other emerging technologies. And the State Department said it will partner with Mexico to grow and diversity the global chip ecosystem under the International Technology Security and Innovation Fund, which was created by the CHIPS Act.

Qualcomm abandoned its plan to acquire Israel’s Autotalks, amid concerns by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about price competition in the V2X chipset market.

Keysight announced plans to acquire Spirent Communications, maker of automated test and assurance solutions for networks, cybersecurity, and positioning, for about £1.16 billion (US$1.46 billion).

SEALSQ announced the establishment of SEALSQ USA in Phoenix, Arizona, as part of its plan to create an OSAT Center in the U.S. by end of 2025. The facility will provide testing services, such as wafer test and final test, in addition to assembly services such as QFN, BGA, WLCSP, and more.

Quick links to more news:

Design and Power
Manufacturing and Test
Automotive and Batteries
Pervasive Computing and AI
In-Depth Reports

Design and Power

Renesas introduced a general-purpose 32-bit RISC-V MCU built with an internally developed CPU core. The company is targeting IoT sensors, consumer electronics, medical devices, small appliances, and industrial systems.

Samsung Semiconductor unveiled a CXL memory module at MemCon 2024, allowing data centers to both decompose and pool DRAM. The company also mapped out its DRAM plans for the next decade, including vertical channel transistors sometime in the second half of the decade, followed by stacked DRAM in the early 2030s. (See figure 1)

Fig. 1: Samsung’s next-gen DRAM roadmap. Source: Samsung Semiconductor/MemCon 2024

Imec demonstrated a compact 32-channel silicon-based wavelength filter with low loss and high tuning efficiency, enabling a 4X increase in the number of transmitted and received wavelength channels relative to common commercial transceivers. The new technology has optical insertion losses of only 2 dB while maintaining crosstalk levels of 16dB and better.

Ansys formed an OEM partnership with SynMatrix to accelerate RF filter design for applications including 5G, aerospace and defense, satellite communications, and radar. Their joint solution uses AI to synthesize and model diverse filter types. 

Intel added independent hardware vendors to its AI PC Acceleration Program so IHVs can prepare, optimize, and enable their hardware for Intel AI PCs.

Annual DRAM revenue ended 2023 at $52 billion, the lowest level since 2016, reports Yole. But operating losses in the DRAM sector dropped in Q4 2023, with margins improving to -1%. Samsung and SK Hynix returned to positive margins. Meanwhile, annual revenue for the NAND industry fell below $40 billion for the first time since 2016, but end-of-year production cuts began pushing up prices, and similar cuts are expected to continue in Q1 2024. In Q2 2024, DRAM prices are likely to increase between 3% and 8%, partly due to manufacturers moving toward more cost-efficient production and a shift toward DDR5-compatible CPUs, TrendForce reported.

Tasking released its latest hardware debuggers, the iC7pro and iC7max. The new products offer faster response times via the inclusion of the compiler toolchains SmartCode for the Infineon TriCore AURIX C4x family and the VX-Toolset for Arm v7.0, running on S32Z and S32E real-time processors from NXP.

Alice & Bob and two French academic partners received a $17.8 million innovation grant from the French government to speed development of quantum computing through increasing stack efficiency, reducing costs, and helping bring quantum computing tech to market.

TU Wien researchers developed a method to cool quantum computers using a Bose-Einstein condensate split into two parts and kept to a specific temporal dynamic, reducing temperatures and preventing random temperature fluctuations.

The DoE will loan Holtec Palisades $1.52 billion to resume service of an 800-MW electric nuclear generating station in Covert Township, Mich. Nuclear is making a comeback especially as more power is needed for AI and data centers, Barrons reported. The CEO of National Grid predicted electricity demand from data centers will increase six-fold in the next decade, according to a LinkedIn post.

Top stories in the Systems & Design newsletter this week:

  • What’s Missing In 2.5D EDA Tools: It’s possible to create interposer-based systems but the tools and methodologies are incomplete, and there’s a mismatch with organizations.
  • Interconnects Essential To Heterogeneous Integration: Chiplet communication will be impossible without interconnect protocols.
  • Engineers Or Their Tools: Which Is Responsible For Finding Bugs?: As chips become more complex, the tools used to test them need to get smarter.

Manufacturing and Test

At least $US 1 billion in electronic machinery and electronic imports could be affected by the Baltimore bridge collapse, according to the Washington Post.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions began operations at its new fab (“Building 4”) at Sony Device Technology in Thailand. The new facility will handle assembly of image sensors for automotive applications and display devices, as well as the mass production of laser diodes for data center applications.

Keysight demonstrated the first full line rate 1.6T Ethernet test capability. The IEEE P802.3dj draft compliant 1.6 terabit media access control engine can generate, receive, and measure 1.6 terabits (1600GE) of full line rate Ethernet layer 2 traffic.

Lam Research is now shipping Pulsus, a production-oriented pulsed laser deposition (PLD) tool, to select specialty device manufacturers. Pulsus PLD of scandium-doped aluminum nitride films with higher piezoelectric coefficient will help improve voice control and noise filtering in RF MEMS based microphones for 5G and beyond. (See figure 3, below)

Fig. 2: Pulsed laser deposition process. Source: Lam Research

The Wall Street Journal said SK hynix would invest $US4 billion to build an advanced packaging fab in Indiana. But SK hynix CEO Kwak Noh-jung told shareholders that nothing has been decided yet, The Korea Herald reported.

Mycronic’s Global Technologies division agreed to acquire Vanguard Automation, which has developed technology and automated equipment for 3D microfabrication of optical interconnects.

Yole Group published its quarterly Photonics GaA and InP Compound Semiconductor Market Monitor. The market is poised to reach a $1.9 billion market by 2029, according to the research firm.

PhotonDelta and MIT Microphotonics Center launched a roadmap initiative to drive the integrated photonics industry forward. The roadmap includes contributions from over 400 organizations, including Airbus, Meta, NASA, Dupont Electronics, and General Motors.

Automotive and Batteries

The automotive sensors market reached $9.3 billion in 2023, and is expected to hit $14.3 billion by 2029, a 7% CAGR, reports Yole. The biggest segments are radar and CMOS image sensors (CIS). Lidar is forecast to grow 48% to $649 million by 2029. Bosch leads the market due to strong revenue in MEMS (pressure, accelerometer, IMU) and radar.

ETAS and Rambus announced an automotive integrated hardware security module (iHSM) product family, combining Rambus’ RT-64x Root of Trust IP with ETAS’ embedded cybersecurity software solution ESCRYPT CycurSoC.

Infineon introduced its advanced power MOSFET OptiMOS 7 80V, offering a match for 48V board net applications including EV DC-DC converters, motor control, and battery switches. The company also launched its SSO10T TSC package with OptiMOS MOSFET technology, featuring direct top-side cooling to eliminate heat transfer into or through the PCB of the automotive ECU. In addition, Infineon and HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering agreed to jointly develop solutions for the electrification of marine engines and machinery using energy-efficient power semiconductor technology.

NXP announced its S32N family of vehicle super-integration processors, allowing automakers to consolidate core vehicle functionality in a central compute ECU, which it said is ideal for software-defined vehicles.

China filed a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint against the U.S. over electric vehicle subsidies, reports AP News.

AESC expanded its lithium-ion EV battery manufacturing operations in South Carolina for a total investment of $3.12 billion.

QuantumScape started customer shipments of its six-layer Alpha-2 prototype solid-state batteries, featuring higher-loading cathodes and more efficient packaging.


Infineon researchers found that about 60% of the hardware designs generated by LLMs are prone to CWEs, posing potential safety and security risks.

Winbond extended its TrustME Secure Flash W77Q family with 256Mb, 512Mb, and 1Gb devices implementing the Leighton–Micali Signature (LMS) algorithm for post-quantum cryptography (PQC) to secure connected IoT edge devices.

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers created an FPGA-based device, called the Secure, Automatic, Failsafe Eraser (SAFE), to ensure zero data transfer or retention. That allows a memory to automatically erase all data as soon as power is lost, or if a device is tampered with.

Fig. 3: A rendering of the Secure, Automatic, Failsafe Eraser to improve data security. Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Cyber threats are growing everywhere. The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) published its top 10 cyber threats for 2030, including a skill shortage and the abuse of AI. And CWE updated its guidance for mapping the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Academia is ramping up research in hardware security. IBM and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam researchers discovered a vulnerability in CPU architectures. GhostRace is a new version of the attack on the Linux core that allows bad actors to access and leak sensitive data, publicly disclosed as CVE-2024-2193 and CVE-2024-26602. In addition, Georgia Tech researchers introduced a new class of hardware trojans called interrupt-resilient trojans. George Mason University researchers offered a critical review of hardware fuzzing. And researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) reported that a quantum-activated neural reservoir on-chip can implement a large-scale hardware security model.

Thales and five other French entities formed the RESQUE consortium to develop a post-quantum cryptography solution to protect businesses and local governments against future attacks.

Pervasive Computing and AI

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin developed a “machine unlearning” method for image-based generative AI, enabling users to block and remove violent images or copyrighted works without losing the rest of the information in the model.

EPFL engineers executed a logic operation by connecting two chips that use ions, rather than electrons, to process data. The breakthrough is a step toward nanofluidic-based neuromorphic computing and helps solve the von Neumann bottleneck.

Global smartphone shipments are predicted to rebound slightly by 3% year over year in 2024 to reach 1.2 billion units, reports Counterpoint. The premium segment is expected to grow 17% YoY due to Apple and Huawei. Meanwhile, global XR headset shipments dropped 19% YoY in 2023. “While we expect the market to grow slowly, OEMs will likely enter just to be part of the game, as XR is viewed by many as an eventual potential successor to smartphones,” the report said.

Vanderbilt University is establishing a college dedicated to computing, AI, and data science, and the University of South Florida is launching a college focused on AI, cybersecurity, and computing.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers described how to extract precious metals from electronic waste using a process powered by electrochemical liquid-liquid extraction, or e-LLE.

​Researchers from CEA-Leti and other European and Canadian institutes demonstrated vascularization of organoids on a microfluidic chip. Organoids are a 3D assembly of self-organizing cells capable of partially mimicking characteristics of an organ or tissue. Vascularization is needed to transport nutrients and oxygen so the tissue or organ grows.

NTU Singapore scientists developed a chip device that can directly isolate blood plasma from a tube of blood in 30 minutes.

In-Depth Reports

More new stories by the Semiconductor Engineering team this week:

  • V2X Security Is Multi-Faceted, And Not All There: Experts discuss Vehicle-To-Everything (V2X) technology and potential security issues.
  • Early STEM Education Key To Growing Future Chip Workforce: Community outreach and partnerships can drive interest in STEM subjects and chip jobs among children, parents, and teachers.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

Event Date Location
International Semiconductor Executive Summit Apr 2 – 3 Scottsdale, Arizona
Siemens User2User Apr 3 – 4 Santa Clara, CA
Embedded World Apr 9 – 11 Nuremberg, Germany
IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS) Apr 14 – 18 Dallas, Texas
CadenceLive Silicon Valley Apr 17 Santa Clara, CA
CHIPS for America: Execute For Global Success Apr 17 Virtual or Washington D.C.
CHIPS R&D National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP) Advanced Packaging Summit Apr 18 – 19 Hybrid Virtual and In-Person at NASA Ames Conference Center in Moffett Field, California
IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC) Apr 21 – 24 Denver, Colorado
MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit Apr 22 – 26 Seattle, Washington
IEEE VLSI Test Symposium Apr 22 – 24 Tempe, AZ
All Upcoming Events

Upcoming webinars are here.

Further Reading and Newsletters

Read the latest special reports and top stories, or check out the latest newsletters:

Systems and Design
Low Power-High Performance
Test, Measurement and Analytics
Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials
Automotive, Security and Pervasive Computing



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