GaN Versus Silicon For 5G


The global race to launch 5G mmWave frequencies could provide a long-anticipated market opportunity for gallium nitride (GaN) as an alternative to silicon. GaN is more power-efficient than silicon for 5G RF. In fact, GaN has been the heir apparent to silicon in 5G power amplifiers for years, especially when it comes to mmWave 5G networks. What makes it so attractive is its ability to efficie... » read more

Wanted: More Fab Tool Part Standards


As chipmakers ramp up the next wave of processes and grapple with how to reduce defect levels, they are encountering problems from an unlikely source—components inside of the fab equipment. Defects are unwanted deviations in chips, which impact yields and device performance. Typically, they are caused by an unforeseen glitch during the process flow. But a lesser-known problem involves defe... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tools Lam Research has rolled out two new tools for use in the production of 3D NAND. The first tool, called the VECTOR DT, is geared for backside deposition. The second system, the EOS GS, is a wet etch tool for film removal on backside and bevel. Designed to control the wafer bow in 3D NAND manufacturing, the VECTOR DT system is the latest addition to Lam’s plasma-enhanced chemical ... » read more

Using Better Data To Shorten Test Time


The combination of machine learning plus more sensors embedded into IC manufacturing equipment is creating new possibilities for more targeted testing and faster throughput for fabs and OSATs. The goal is to improve quality and reduce the cost of manufacturing complex chips, where time spent in manufacturing is ballooning at the most advanced nodes. As the number of transistors on a die incr... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Trade wars Talks between the United States and China continue to stall and the two nations are still embroiled in a trade war. So this week, U.S. President Donald Trump would like to impose a 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion list of China-based imports starting Sept. 1, according to a report from Reuters. This in turn will impact the electronics and IC industries. In response to the... » 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

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Deals Apple will pay $1 billion to buy Intel's smartphone modem unit. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will hire 2,200 Intel employees and acquire Intel's IP and equipment. The deal, expected to close in Q4, puts an end to Intel's attempts to win a piece of the smartphone market. But the chipmaker retains the right to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, including PCs, IoT de... » read more

Node Within A Node


Enough margin exists in manufacturing processes to carve out the equivalent of a full node of scaling, but shrinking that margin will require a collective push across the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain. Margin is built into manufacturing at various stages to ensure that chips are manufacturable and yield sufficiently. It can include everything from variation in how lines are... » read more

200mm Cools Off, But Not For Long


After years of acute shortages, 200mm fab capacity is finally loosening up, but the supply/demand picture could soon change with several challenges on the horizon. 200mm fabs are older facilities with more mature processes, although they still churn out a multitude of today’s critical chips, such as analog, MEMS, RF and others. From 2016 to 2018, booming demand for these and other chips ca... » read more

Big Shifts In Big Data


The big data market is in a state of upheaval as companies begin shifting their data strategies from "nothing" or "everything" in the cloud to a strategic mix, squeezing out middle-market players and changing what gets shared, how that data is used, and how best to secure it. This has broad implications for the whole semiconductor supply chain, because in many cases it paves the way for ... » read more

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