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Adopting Predictive Maintenance On Fab Tools


Predictive maintenance, based on more and better sensor data from semiconductor manufacturing equipment, can reduce downtime in the fab and ultimately cut costs compared with regularly scheduled maintenance. But implementing this approach is non-trivial, and it can be disruptive to well-honed processes and flows. Not performing maintenance quickly enough can result in damage to wafers or the... » read more

Removing Barriers For End-To-End Analytics


Parties are coming together, generating guidelines for sharing data from IC design and manufacturing through end of life, setting the stage for true end-to-end analytics. While the promise of big data analytics is well understood, data sharing through the semiconductor supply chain has been stymied by an inability to link together data sources throughout the lifecycle of a chip, package, or ... » read more

Shortages Spark Novel Component Lifecycle Solutions


The semiconductor industry’s supply chain problems are prompting some innovative solutions and workarounds, and while they don't solve all problems, they are improving efficiency and extending equipment lifetimes. The shortages, which affect everything from the chips used in automotive, IoT, and consumer ICs to the equipment used to manufacture and test them — span global supply lines. T... » read more

China Accelerates Foundry, Power Semi Efforts


China has unveiled several initiatives to advance its domestic semiconductor industry, including a new and massive fab expansion campaign in the foundry, gallium-nitride (GaN), and silicon carbide (SiC) markets. The nation is making a big push into what it calls “third-generation semiconductors,” which is a misnomer. The term actually refers to two existing and common power semiconductor... » read more

Fabs Drive Deeper Into Machine Learning


Advanced machine learning is beginning to make inroads into yield enhancement methodology as fabs and equipment makers seek to identify defectivity patterns in wafer images with greater accuracy and speed. Each month a wafer fabrication factory produces tens of millions of wafer-level images from inspection, metrology, and test. Engineers must analyze that data to improve yield and to reject... » read more

China Speeds Up Advanced Chip Development


China is accelerating its efforts to advance its domestic semiconductor industry, amid ongoing trade tensions with the West, in hopes of becoming more self-sufficient. The country is still behind in IC technology and is nowhere close to being self-reliant, but it is making noticeable progress. Until recently, China’s domestic chipmakers were stuck with mature foundry processes with no pres... » read more

China’s Foundry Biz Takes Big Leap Forward


China continues to advance its foundry industry with huge investments in new fabs and technology, despite trade tensions and a slowdown in the IC market. China has the most fab projects in the world, with 30 new facilities or lines in construction or on the drawing board, according to data from SEMI’s World Fab Forecast Report. Of those, 13 fabs are targeted for the foundry market, accordi... » 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

Improving Optical Overlay And Measurement


By Adam Ge and Shimon Levi Patterning challenges for the semiconductor industry are growing as the number of multi-patterned layers being used in the 10nm and beyond nodes increase. Patterning requires highly accurate overlay which has always been an issue, but with the added complexities of multi-patterning, smaller dimensions and subsequent tightening overlay error budget, it is now a majo... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tool vendors In the wafer fab equipment (WFE) rankings, Applied Materials was the leader in terms of market share in 2016, according to Gartner. For WFE, Lam Research jumped from fourth place in 2015 to second place in the rankings in 2016, according to Gartner. ASML was third, followed by TEL. Meanwhile, VLSI Research recently released its ranking for both front-end and backend equipment.... » read more

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