Chip Industry Week In Review

31 U.S. tech hubs; new restrictions hit NVIDIA, ASML; Cadence DSPs; Rambus memory controller; Infineon ion trap; Intel high-NA EUV plans; Advantest’s self-heating auto chip fix; prismatic batteries; Ansys simulation AI; Renesas inductive position sensor.


By Susan Rambo, Karen Heyman, and Liz Allan

The Biden-Harris administration designated 31 Tech Hubs across the U.S. this week, focused on industries including autonomous systems, quantum computing, biotechnology, precision medicine, clean energy advancement, and semiconductor manufacturing. The Department of Commerce (DOC) also launched its second Tech Hubs Notice of Funding Opportunity.

NVIDIA said new U.S. export curbs on the sale of its high-end AI chips to China went into effect this week — earlier than expected — because regulators moved up the deadline.

Global silicon wafer shipment growth is expected to bounce back in 2024, after a decline this year, according to SEMI’s annual silicon shipment forecast, which projects a 14% decline in 2023, to 12,512 million square inches (MSI) from the record high of 14,565 MSI in 2022. SEMI predicts shipments will bounce back next year as wafer and semiconductor demand recovers and inventory levels normalize.

Q4 contract prices for mobile DRAM are poised to see an increased quarterly rise of 13% to 18%, reports TrendForce. NAND flash is also rising, with contract prices of eMMC and UFS expected to climb by approximately 10% to 15% in the same quarter.

Quick links to more news:

Design and Power
Manufacturing and Test
Automotive and Batteries
Security, Data, and Connectivity
Pervasive Computing and AI
Top In-Depth Reports This Week

Design and Power

Cadence expanded its Tensilica HiFi and Vision DSP families with four DSPs based on the recently announced Tensilica Xtensa LX8 processor platform. The expanded portfolio includes the Tensilica HiFi 1s DSP and HiFi 5s DSP for audio/voice, lightweight imaging, and AI applications, and the Tensilica Vision 110 DSP and Vision 130 DSP for image sensor, camera, radar, and lidar applications.

Rambus announced the availability its 9.6 Gbps HBM3 memory controller IP portfolio for AI/ML and other advanced data center workloads. The IP supports future evolution of the HBM3 memory standard with up to 9.6 Gbps data rates and enables memory throughput of over 1.2 TB/s.

Ansys will be adding more AI capability to its AI portfolio with the upcoming release of its Ansys SimAI and Ansys AI+. The SimAI will enable design teams to complete complex simulation scenarios in minutes — after training the SimAI. The Ansys AI will extend AI enhancements to existing products.

Movellus announced the availability of its Aeonic Generate Clock Generation Module (CGM) on TSMC’s 3nm process. Aeonic Generate CGMs support multi-GHz applications while operating on the core voltage supply. End applications range from ultra-low power edge AI devices and cloud data centers.

Infineon handed over a wafer of its silicon-based quantum computing ion trap to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Wednesday. It is the first commercially available ion trap, said Andreas Urschitz, Infineon’s chief marketing officer, during Infineon’s OktoberTech event. Because it is based on silicon, the ion trap can be mass produced using existing manufacturing technology. It’s still early days for this technology. Currently, Infineon is working on the third generation of the technology, which can trap 20 ions. The goal is to trap at least 1,000.

Fig. 1: The Computer History Museum’s Dan Spicer and Gretta Stimson show an early-version wafer of Infineon’s silicon-based quantum computing ion trap. Source: Semiconductor Engineering/Susan Rambo

Infineon also completed its acquisition of GaN Systems, which will enable the company to develop more GaN-based products. It now has a total of 450 GaN experts and more than 350 GaN patent families. Infineon also opened a new laboratory for developing quantum electronics and AI algorithms for detecting variances in power systems.

Researchers from the Virgo Consortium’s FLAMINGO project used the supercomputer to create a digital twin of the universe to run a suite of hydrodynamical simulations for cosmology and galaxy cluster physics.

Atom Computing created a 1,225-site atomic array, currently populated with 1,180 qubits, in its next-gen quantum computing platform, which it claimed was the first time a company has crossed the 1,000-qubit threshold for a universal gate-based system.

Manufacturing and Test

Intel announced enhancements to its existing technology development facilities at the Gordon Moore Park campus in Hillsboro, Oregon. Planned upgrades include the world’s first high-NA EUV lithography tool.

Negotiations to merge Western Digital’s semiconductor memory business and Japan’s Kioxia were terminated, after the merger failed to secure approval from SK Hynix, an indirect shareholder in Kioxia, Nikkei Asia reported.

China’s SMIC relied on equipment from ASML to manufacture an advanced processor for a Chinese smartphone, which alarmed the U.S., according to Bloomberg. In response, the U.S. has been tightening restrictions on shipments of lithography equipment to China, which in turn is creating waves in the Netherlands. Several Dutch lawmakers challenged the Netherlands’ Trade Minister over whether the U.S. has acted correctly in unilaterally imposing new rules regulating the export to China of another chipmaking machine made by ASML, according to Reuters. China, meanwhile, is stepping up spending to replace Western-made technology with domestic alternatives, per Reuters.

UC San Diego (UCSD) is looking to collaborate with high-quality institutions in India for research programs. “This is India’s century,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

Advantest announced a new Active Thermal Control option for its M4841 high-volume device handler. ATC 2.0 provides dynamic regulation of temperature fluctuations caused by automotive ICs self-heating during test, helping to ensure more accurate production test of up to 16 advanced SoCs in parallel with higher throughput and shorter test times.

PCI-SIG announced the availability of PCI-SIG Authorized Test Labs, providing PCIe testing and a process for members to become an official testing lab.

Automotive and Batteries

The California DMV suspended Cruise’s autonomous vehicle (AV) deployment and driverless testing permits, effective immediately, and provided the steps Cruise needs to take before the permits are reinstated. “Based upon the performance of the vehicles, the Department determines the manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is accepting applications for a $40 million grant program for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology. The program, “Saving Lives with Connectivity: Accelerating V2X Deployment,” will focus on safety, mobility, and efficiency.

The power device market for power supply units (PSUs) is expected to grow 7.8% CAGR between 2022 and 2028, driven by a trend toward PSUs with  48V output, reports Yole. The camera module market is expected to rise 4.8% for the same period. Slow mobile shipments kept the figure low but increased demand for automotive cameras drove an increase.

Stellantis will invest €1.5 billion euro (US$1.6B) to acquire about 20% of China-based new energy vehicle (NEV) maker Leapmotor. The companies will form a 51/49 Stellantis-led joint venture, Leapmotor International, giving Stellantis exclusive rights to export, sell, and manufacture Leapmotor products outside Greater China.

Honda and General Motors ended their partnership to develop affordable electric vehicles (EVs) after “extensive studies and analysis,” reports the Detroit Free Press.

Stellantis and Orano will establish a joint venture for recycling end-of-life EV batteries and scrap from gigafactories in Europe and North America, enabling Stellantis to secure access to cobalt, nickel, and lithium.

Samsung SDI will supply prismatic batteries for Hyundai’s EVs in Europe for seven years, starting in 2026. The maximized energy density P6 batteries will be manufactured at Samsung’s Hungary plant for Hyundai supplies.

EV truck maker Tevva and Canada-based EV startup ElectraMeccanica called off merger plans. Tevva, meanwhile, is re-engaging with other investors and public companies looking to merge.

EVs featured strongly at the Japan Mobility Show, with U.S. startup Ample demonstrating its battery swapping approach at Mitsubishi Fuso’s booth, reports AP News. Lexus, which has been slow to jump into the EV market, debuted its next-gen BEV concept, featuring a modular structure formed through gigacasting — a process originally created for Tesla that uses giant reusable molds to speed up production — and prismatic batteries that can double the range of BEVs.

Fig. 2: Lexus LF-ZC next-gen BEV. Source: Lexus 

Ironically, while Japan is one of the fastest-growing major markets for passenger vehicles, BEV sales accounted for just 2% of total passenger vehicle sales in the country in H1 2023, reports Counterpoint.

Also at the show, Shinnosuke Hayashi, DENSO president and COO, announced initiatives to evolve from “a Tier 1 supplier that supports the auto industry” to “a Tier 1 supplier that supports a mobility-centered society.” The company will invest about 500 billion yen (US$3.3B) by 2030, tripling the scale of the business from the current level by 2035. To do so, it must ensure stable procurement of materials and will forge strategic partnerships with various companies.

Infineon announced its TRAVEO T2G Cluster family of automotive microcontrollers (MCU) with a new graphic engine, featuring new smart rendering technology for automotive graphics applications and heads-up display systems.

Security, Data, and Connectivity

A combination of regression and security testing, called security regression testing, ensures that changes made to a system do not harm its security. Researchers at University of Innsbruck presented a systematic classification of available approaches.

A Germany-based research consortium, the HEP project, was able to define, design, and manufacture a prototypical security chip within two years. Their hardware security module (HSM) provides a crypto accelerator, tamper-resistant security functions, and more.

Infineon extended its AIROC portfolio with a Wi-Fi 6/6E and Bluetooth 5.4 solution, delivering secured, reliable connectivity plus advanced ultra-low power Bluetooth ideal for smart home, industrial, wearable, and other small form-factor IoT applications.

DARPA’s Intrinsic Cognitive Security (ICS) program seeks proposals to secure mixed reality (MR) equipment from attack. “Formal methods have not been widely used to protect MR users, but the cognitive engineering field provides principles to help formulate models and guarantees.”

CISA updated its guidance to address vulnerabilities affecting Cisco’s Internetworking Operating System XE Software Web User Interface, and issued other alerts.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is inviting teams of college and university students to enter its CyberForce Competition, led by Argonne National Laboratory, on Nov. 4. The event allows students to take lessons learned in the classroom or lab and apply them in a high-stakes scenario that simulates a workplace experience.

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded FABRIC project completed the installation of its TeraCore network infrastructure connection, a ring that spans the continental U.S. and boasts data transmission speeds of 1.2 Terabits per second (Tbps), or one trillion bits per second.

Google announced its South Pacific Connect initiative, to drop two new transpacific subsea cables to help improve digital connectivity in the Pacific.  The cables are called Honomoana — connecting the U.S. and Australia to French Polynesia — and Tabua — connecting the U.S. and Australia to Fiji.

Meta is going through a data center construction slowdown, reducing spending by $3 billion over the same quarter last year, but construction probably will pick up next year, reports Data Center Dynamics.

Pervasive Computing and AI

Expedera opened its newest R&D center in Singapore, aiming to accelerate the development of its AI Inference IP and related technologies and services. The company has four other centers focused on edge AI inference, located in Santa Clara (USA), Bath (UK), Shanghai, Taipei, and Singapore.

Renesas released an inductive position sensor (IPS) technology, consisting of copper coils etched on a printed circuit board (PCB) to detect the position of a metallic target, for highly accurate motor position sensor ICs for robotics, industrial, and medical applications.

Cadence Molecular Sciences and Pfizer agreed to extend and expand access to Cadence products and programming toolkits for advanced molecular design.

Infineon launched its XENSIV Sleep Quality Service, which can be integrated into end devices to provide information for intelligent management of adaptive lighting, heating, cooling, air quality, and more.

MLCommons, the leading AI benchmarking organization, announced the creation of the AI Safety (AIS) working group. The AIS will develop a platform and pool of tests from many contributors to support AI safety benchmarks for diverse use cases. The AIS working group’s initial participation includes academic and industry experts, including Anthropic, Coactive AI, Google, Inflection, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, OpenAI, and Qualcomm.

At its Snapdragon Summit event, Qualcomm announced its X Elite platform featuring the Oryon CPU, which the company claims is capable of running generative AI models with over 13 billion parameters on-device and with 4.5 times faster AI processing power than competitors.

Infineon will pilot Archetype AI’s “Large Behavior Model” (LBM), a foundation model for Physical AI that can uncover the hidden patterns of behavior in unstructured sensor data and blend real-time sensor data with natural language to create a living view of the world.

Plastic Fischer adopted solutions from Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio to help scale its operations, reducing plastic waste in rivers so it doesn’t pollute oceans, and to support the digital transformation of its product development and lifecycle management.

Top In-Depth Reports This Week

3DHI (heterogeneous integration of 3D ICs) adds a new axis of complexity to the leading edge of chip design. There are many more things to go wrong, from mechanical problems to deadlocks in the networks-on-chip.

The semiconductor industry has greatly simplified analysis by consolidating around a small number of models and abstractions, but that capability is breaking down both at the implementation level and at the system level. Systems companies want to model the whole system. Model creation will be a big challenge in the future and automating the creation of models will be critical.

In the 3D world, where NAND has hundreds of layers and packages come in intricate stacks, fresh graduates and veteran engineers alike are being confronted with design challenges that require a rethinking of both classic designs and traditional workflows, but without breaking the laws of physics.

In chip design, to handle an explosion in data, designers need to rely on DSP techniques for high-speed SerDes, but continuous performance improvements are needed in SerDes, PCIe, NRZ, and PAM4.

Experts discuss navigating EDA vendor cloud options and weigh in on the challenges and costs of working with multi-vendor tools in cloud environments.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

Event Date Location
ICCAD 2023: International Conference on Computer-Aided Design Oct 29 – Nov 2 San Francisco Security Trainings and Conference Netherlands 2023 Oct 30 – Nov 3 The Hague, Netherlands
MEMS and Sensors Executive Conference 2023 Nov 6 – 8 Phoenix, AZ
RISC-V Summit North America 2023 Nov 7 – 8 Santa Clara, CA
ITF Japan (Imec) Nov 9 Tokyo, Japan
ITF towards NETZERO (Imec and SEMI) Nov 14 Munich, Germany
SEMICON Europa Nov 14 – 17 Munich, Germany
Digital Safety Conference 2023 Nov 14 – 15 Detroit, MI
Ansys IDEAS 2023 Digital Forum Nov 30 Online
IEEE IEDM 2023 Dec 9 – 13 San Francisco, CA
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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