Wanted: Mask Equipment for Mature Nodes


Rising demand for chips at mature nodes is impacting the photomask supply chain, causing huge demand for trailing-edge masks and a shortfall of older mask equipment. The big issue is the equipment shortfall, which could impact customers on several fronts. Tool shortages could lead to longer mask turnaround times and delivery schedules for chips being developed at 90nm and above, which are bu... » read more

200mm Fab Crunch


Growing demand for analog, MEMS and RF chips continues to cause acute shortages for both 200mm fab capacity and equipment, and it shows no sign of letting up. Today, 200mm fab capacity is tight with a similar situation projected for the second half of 2018 and perhaps well into 2019. In fact, 2018 will likely represent the third consecutive year that 200mm fab capacity will be tight. The sam... » read more

RF SOI Wars Begin


Several foundries are expanding their fab capacities for RF SOI processes amid huge demand and shortages of this technology for smartphones. A number of foundries are increasing their 200mm RF SOI fab capacities to meet soaring demand. Then, GlobalFoundries, TowerJazz, TSMC and UMC are expanding or bringing up RF SOI processes in 300mm fabs in an apparent race to garner the first wave of RF ... » read more

Get Ready For Integrated Silicon Photonics


Long-haul communications and data centers are huge buyers of photonics components, and that is leading to rapid advances in the technology and opening new markets and opportunities. The industry has to adapt to meet the demands being placed on it and solve the bottlenecks in the design, development and fabrication of integrated silicon photonics. "Look at the networking bandwidth used across... » read more

Shortages Hit Packaging Biz


Rising demand for chips is hitting the IC packaging supply chain, causing shortages of select manufacturing capacity, various package types, leadframes and even some equipment. Spot shortages for some IC packages began showing up earlier this year, but the problem has been growing and spreading since then. Supply imbalances reached a boiling point in the third and fourth quarters of this yea... » read more

China: Fab Boom or Bust?


China’s semiconductor industry continues to expand at a frenetic pace. At present there are nearly two dozen new fab projects in China. Whether all these fab projects get off the ground is not entirely clear because the dynamics in China remain fluid. What is clear is the motivation behind this building frenzy—China is trying to reduce its huge trade imbalance in ICs. The country continu... » read more

System Bits: Nov. 29


Qubit device fabbed in standard CMOS In a major step toward commercialization of quantum computing, Leti, an institute of CEA Tech, along with Inac, a fundamental research division of CEA, and the University of Grenoble Alpes have achieved the first demonstration of a quantum-dot-based spin qubit using a device fabricated on a 300-mm CMOS fab line. Maud Vinet, Leti’s advanced CMOS manager... » read more

5 Takeaways From Semicon


As usual, the recent Semicon West trade show was a busy, if not an overwhelming, event. The event, which took place in San Francisco in early July, featured presentations on the usual subjects in the semiconductor and IC-equipment sectors. There were sessions on 200mm, next-generation processes, transistors, lithography, MEMS and many others. In no particular order, here are my five ta... » read more

200mm Equipment Shortfall


A surge in demand for consumer electronics, communications ICs, sensors and other products has created a shortage in 200mm fab capacity that shows no signs of abating. None of these chips need to be manufactured using the most advanced processes, and there have been enough tweaks to processes at established nodes to eke even more out of existing processes. But that has left chipmakers strugg... » read more

The Trouble With MEMS


The advent of the Internet of Things will open up a slew of new opportunities for MEMS-based sensors, but chipmakers are proceeding cautiously. There are a number of reasons for that restraint. Microelectromechanical systems are difficult to design, manufacture and test, which initially fueled optimism in the MEMS ecosystem that this market would command the same kinds of premiums that analo... » read more

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