Four Foundries Back MRAM


Four major foundries plan to offer MRAM as an embedded memory solution by this year or next, setting the stage for what finally could prove to be a game-changer for this next-generation memory technology. GlobalFoundries, Samsung, TSMC and UMC plan to start offering spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (ST-MRAM or STT-MRAM) as an alternative or a replacement to NOR flash, possibly start... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Taiwan on Tuesday suffered a blackout after an accident occurred at a gas-fired plant, according to a report from Bloomberg. The outage, which lasted from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., impacted more than 6 million homes and disrupted some IC production on the island, according to the report. Taiwan’s president was criticized for the event, as the government plans to shutter the island’s nu... » 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

Blog Review: Aug. 9


Cadence's Paul McLellan digs into a recently discovered vulnerability in the Broadcom Wi-Fi chip used in many smartphones and why it should be a wakeup call for SoC designers. Mentor's Craig Armenti considers whether work-in-process design data management is an asset or a liability. Synopsys' Thomas M. Tuerke notes that in code, as in medicine, proper hygiene is should be treated as a con... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers UMC has generated sales from its recently-announced 14nm finFET technology. The foundry vendor also plans to enter the 22nm process technology market. UMC will join other players in the 22nm arena, such as GlobalFoundries, Intel and TSMC. “So we do have a plan to introduce our 22nm as well and it will be available around 2018,” said Jason Wang, the newly appointed co-president o... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 25


Metrology for the intelligence community The semiconductor industry continues to move full speed ahead with traditional chip scaling. There are several challenges in the arena. One of the big but lessor known challenges is metrology. Metrology, the science of characterizing and measuring films and structures, is becoming more complex, challenging and expensive at each node. Looking to solv... » read more

What’s After FinFETs?


Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it's still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next. The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab equipment ASML posted strong sales in the quarter and is apparently nearly sold out of scanners based on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, according to analysts. “ASML posted strong 2Q results and 2Q guidance, providing further evidence that demand remains high for semiconductor equipment,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, in a research note. “Demand d... » read more

5 Takeaways From Semicon


At the recent Semicon West trade show in San Francisco, there were a multitude of presentations on a number of subjects. The event, sponsored by SEMI, had presentations on the outlook for ICs, equipment and packaging. Clearly, though, the show is much smaller with fewer attendees, as compared to past years. Most of the big companies no longer have booths. Hardly any have press events or med... » read more

Foundries Accelerate Auto Efforts


Foundries are ramping up their efforts in automotive chip production in preparation for a surge in semiconductors used in assisted and autonomous driving. All of the major foundry vendors are scrambling to assemble the pieces and expand their process portfolios for automotive customers. The foundries are seeing a growing demand from automotive IC customers amid the push toward advanced drive... » read more

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