Top Stories For 2018


Each year, I look back to see what articles people like to read. The first thing that has amazed me each year at Semiconductor Engineering is that what should be a strong bias towards articles published early in the year never seems to play out. The same is true this year. More than half of the top articles were published after July. The second thing that remains constant is that people love... » read more

Fab Equipment Challenges For 2019


After a period of record growth, the semiconductor equipment industry is facing a slowdown in 2019, in addition to several technical challenges that still need to be resolved. Generally, the equipment industry saw enormous demand in 2017, and the momentum extended into the first part of 2018. But then the memory market began deteriorating in the middle of this year, causing both DRAM and NAND ... » read more

5 Observations From Intel’s Event


Not long ago, Intel hosted its “Architecture Day,” where top executives from the chip giant revealed the company’s latest products and next-generation technologies. The company also discussed its strategy. To be sure, it’s a critical time for Intel. In June, Brian Krzanich was forced out as chief executive and the company is still looking for a permanent CEO. Plus, Intel has delayed it... » read more

What’s Changing In Memory


As emerging big data and artificial intelligence (AI) applications, including machine learning, drive innovations across many industries, the issue of how to advance memory technologies to meet evolving computing requirements presents several challenges for the industry. The mainstream memory technologies, DRAM and NAND flash, have long been reliable industry workhorses, each optimized for s... » read more

What’s The Outlook for Memory?


What a difference a year makes in the memory business. At this time last year, the industry was in the midst of a boom cycle for both NAND and DRAM. More specifically, there was huge demand for 3D NAND. Then, starting in the first quarter of 2018, the NAND market began to decline and it continues to fall. And now, the DRAM market is also falling off the cliff. So, it’s time to take a q... » read more

3D NAND: Challenges Beyond 96-Layer Memory Arrays


Unlike scaling practices in 2D NAND technology, the direct way to reduce bit costs and increase chip density in 3D NAND is by adding layers. In 2013, Samsung shipped the first V-NAND product using 24 layers and MLC [1]. Five years later, in 2018, vendors of 3D-NAND have all announced production plans for 96-Layer NAND using TLC [2]. According to recent news reports, vendors are already working ... » read more

Digging Deep Into High Aspect Ratio Process Control For Memory Technology


By Mark Shirey and Janay Camp Data is an integral part of our lives. Contrary to the past, where files had to be removed periodically to free up storage space, we now assume that our data will never be deleted. Why risk deleting the wrong file? Just keep them! This new approach consumes a lot of memory, and intensifies the demand for storage. Two of the main workhorses of the memory segment ... » read more

Cryogenic Etch Re-Emerges


After years in R&D, a technology called cryogenic etch is re-emerging as a possible option for production as the industry faces new challenges in memory and logic. Cryogenic etch removes materials in devices with high aspect ratios at cold temperatures, although it has always been a challenging process. Cryogenic etch is difficult to control and it requires specialized cryogenic gases in... » read more

3D NAND Flash Wars Begin


3D NAND suppliers are gearing up for a new battle amid a period of price and competitive pressures, racing each other to the next technology generations. Competition is intensifying as a new player enters the 3D NAND market—China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC). Backed by billions of dollars in funding from the Chinese government, YMTC recently introduced its first 3D NAND techn... » read more

Modeling Semiconductor Process Variation


3D semiconductors, 3D NAND Flash, FinFETS and other advanced devices are bringing tremendous opportunities to the semiconductor industry. Unfortunately, these devices are also bringing new design, process and production problems. Process variability has been a major contributor to production delays as feature sizes have decreased and process complexity has increased. Virtual fabrication is a co... » read more

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