What’s Next in 3D NAND?


In 2018, the industry needs to keep a close eye on 3D NAND as the vendor base is in the midst of some major changes. The changes involve several partnerships, including the Toshiba/Western Digital and Intel/Micron duos. It also impacts the other 3D NAND players, namely Samsung and SK Hynix. But first, demand for NAND flash memory remains robust due to the onslaught of data in systems. ... » read more

E-beam Inspection Makes Inroads


E-beam inspection is gaining traction in critical areas in fab production as it is becoming more difficult to find tiny defects with traditional methods at advanced nodes. Applied Materials, ASML/HMI and others are developing new e-beam inspection tools and/or techniques to solve some of the more difficult defect issues in the fab. [gettech id="31057" t_name="E-beam"] inspection is one of tw... » read more

Will Fab Tool Boom Cycle Last?


Fab equipment spending is on pace for a record year in 2017, and it now appears that momentum could continue into 2018. Fab tool vendors found themselves in the midst of an unexpected boom cycle in 2017, thanks to enormous demand for equipment in [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] and, to a lesser degree, [getkc id="93" kc_name="DRAM"]. In the logic/foundry business, however, equipment deman... » read more

The Next 5 Years Of Chip Technology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the future of scaling, the impact of variation, and the introduction of new materials and technologies, with Rick Gottscho, CTO of [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; Mark Dougherty, vice president of advanced module engineering at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"]; David Shortt, technical fellow at [getentity id="22876" co... » 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

More Volatility Ahead


The entire semiconductor industry had a wild ride on the stock market this week, plunging on Wednesday and recovering on Thursday. This is just a sign of things to come. The cause of this week's volatility can be tied directly to a Morgan Stanley report, which said that NAND prices have peaked and will begin dropping at the beginning of 2018 because supply has caught up with demand. The repo... » read more

Controlling Uniformity At The Edge


Chipmakers want every part of the wafer to produce, or yield, good die. Advances in process technologies over the years have just about made this a reality, even as feature dimensions continue to shrink and devices grow ever more complex. Now, the last frontier is improving yields at the edge of the wafer – the outer 10 mm or so – where chemical, physical, and even thermal discontinuitie... » read more

Memory Test Challenges, Opportunities


The semiconductor capital equipment market is on fire, and the memory chip test equipment sector is no different. But it is getting much more difficult on the memory side. Memory test vendors are contending with next-generation devices, such as 3D NAND flash memories, HBM2 chips, low-power double-data-rate DRAMs, graphics DRAMs, phase-change memories, magnetoresistive RAMs, and resistive RAM... » read more

Why Fabs Worry About Tool Parts


Achieving high yields with acceptable costs is becoming much more difficult as chipmakers migrate to next-generation 3D NAND and finFET devices—but not just because of rising complexity or lithography issues. To fabricate an advanced logic chip, for example, a wafer moves from one piece of equipment to another in what amounts to 1,000 process steps or more in a fab. Any glitch with the equ... » read more

Memory Market: More Than ASPs At Risk


By Adrienne Downey and Jim Feldhan In June 2016, the memory market emerged from its slump after reversing its 12-month ASP decline. Since then, we’ve seen a strong rebound for ASPs in both DRAM and NAND. Contributing to this recovery was the increasing demand in memory content per device across all end markets combined with a more controlled capital investment over the past several years.... » read more

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