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Breaking The 2nm Barrier


Chipmakers continue to make advancements with transistor technologies at the latest process nodes, but the interconnects within these structures are struggling to keep pace. The chip industry is working on several technologies to solve the interconnect bottleneck, but many of those solutions are still in R&D and may not appear for some time — possibly not until 2nm, which is expected t... » read more

The Darker Side Of Hybrid Bonding


With semiconductors, it's often things everyone takes for granted that cause the biggest headaches, and that problem is compounded when something fundamental changes — such as bonding two chips together using a process aimed at maximizing performance. Case in point: CMP for backend of the line metallization in hybrid bonding. While this is a mature process, it doesn't easily translate for ... » read more

The Race To Much More Advanced Packaging


Momentum is building for copper hybrid bonding, a technology that could pave the way toward next-generation 2.5D and 3D packages. Foundries, equipment vendors, R&D organizations and others are developing copper hybrid bonding, which is a process that stacks and bonds dies using copper-to-copper interconnects in advanced packages. Still in R&D, hybrid bonding for packaging provides mo... » read more

The Chemistry Of Semiconductors


At each new process node, the chemistry of chip manufacturing has become much more complex than at previous nodes. But at 5nm and below, it's going to get orders of magnitude more complex. For the first few decades, the chemistry of chips was largely shielded from view for most of the industry. Caustic gases were relatively well understood because they are a potential health hazard, but the ... » read more

Big Changes In Tiny Interconnects


One of the fundamental components of a semiconductor, the interconnect, is undergoing radical changes as chips scale below 7nm. Some of the most pronounced shifts are occurring at the lowest metal layers. As more and smaller transistors are packed onto a die, and as more data is processed and moved both on and off a chip or across a package, the materials used to make those interconnects, th... » read more

New Trends In Wafer Bonding


Unable to scale horizontally, due to a combination of lithography delays and power constraints, manufacturers are stacking devices vertically. This has become essential as the proliferation of mobile devices drives demand for smaller circuit footprints, but the transition isn't always straightforward. Three-dimensional integration schemes take many forms, depending on the required interconne... » read more

What’s The Best Advanced Packaging Option?


As traditional chip designs become more unwieldy and expensive at each node, many IC vendors are exploring or pursuing alternative approaches using advanced packaging. The problem is there are too many advanced packaging options on the table already, and the list continues to grow. Moreover, each option has several tradeoffs and challenges, and all of them are still relatively expensive. ... » read more

The Race To Next-Gen 2.5D/3D Packages


Several companies are racing each other to develop a new class of 2.5D and 3D packages based on various next-generation interconnect technologies. Intel, TSMC and others are exploring or developing future packages based on one emerging interconnect scheme, called copper-to-copper hybrid bonding. This technology provides a way to stack advanced dies using copper connections at the chip level,... » read more

Outlook For Masks, Materials and Wafers


After a slowdown in the first half of 2019, chipmakers and equipment vendors face a cloudy outlook for the second half of this year, with a possible recovery in 2020. But what about other key technologies like materials, photomasks and silicon wafers? These are also critical for the semiconductor supply chain and are key indicators where the market is heading. In the first half of 2019, m... » read more

Cloudy Outlook Seen For IC Biz


After a slowdown in the first half of 2019, chipmakers and equipment vendors face a cloudy outlook for the second half of this year, with a possible recovery in 2020. Generally, the semiconductor industry began to see a slowdown starting in mid- to late-2018, which extended into the first half of 2019. During the first half of this year, memory and non-memory vendors were negatively impacted... » read more

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