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Nanosheet FETs Drive Changes In Metrology And Inspection


In the Moore’s Law world, it has become a truism that smaller nodes lead to larger problems. As fabs turn to nanosheet transistors, it is becoming increasingly challenging to detect line-edge roughness and other defects due to the depths and opacities of these and other multi-layered structures. As a result, metrology is taking even more of a hybrid approach, with some well-known tools moving... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


The U.S. Congress approved the CHIPS Act, a mammoth bipartisan achievement the New York Times called “the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades.” As passed, the full package — now called the Chips and Science Act — contains $52 billion in direct assistance for the semiconductor industry, along with $24 billion in tax incentives. In addition, the bill c... » read more

Improving Yield With Machine Learning


Machine learning is becoming increasingly valuable in semiconductor manufacturing, where it is being used to improve yield and throughput. This is especially important in process control, where data sets are noisy. Neural networks can identify patterns that exceed human capability, or perform classification faster. Consequently, they are being deployed across a variety of manufacturing proce... » read more

E-beam’s Role Grows For Detecting IC Defects


The perpetual march toward smaller features, coupled with growing demand for better reliability over longer chip lifetimes, has elevated inspection from a relatively obscure but necessary technology into one of the most critical tools in fab and packaging houses. For years, inspection had been framed as a battle between e-beam and optical microscopy. Increasingly, though, other types of insp... » read more

The Race To Zero Defects In Auto ICs


Assembly houses are fine-tuning their methodologies and processes for automotive ICs, optimizing everything from inspection and metrology to data management in order to prevent escapes and reduce the number of costly returns. Today, assembly defects account for between 12% and 15% of semiconductor customer returns in the automotive chip market. As component counts in vehicles climb from the ... » read more

Deep Learning In Industrial Inspection


Deep learning is at the upper end of AI complexity, sifting through more data to achieve more accurate results. Charlie Zhu, vice president of R&D at CyberOptics, talks about how DL can be utilized with inspection to identify defects in chips that are not discernible by traditional computer vision algorithms, classifying multiple objects simultaneously from multiple angles and taking into accou... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Acquisitions & Investments California-based MaxLinear plans to acquire Taiwan-based Silicon Motion (SMI), in a cash and stock deal valued at about $3.8 billion. Silicon Motion’s NAND flash controller technology for solid state storage devices, will extend MaxLinear’s RF, analog, and mixed signal portfolio. ISMC will invest about $3 billion in a semiconductor plant in India’s south... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


It's earnings season, and despite widespread reports of capacity issues and shortages, the chip industry turned in relatively solid results across the board. Intel exceeded January guidance for Q1, reporting first-quarter GAAP revenue of $18.4 billion, a 7% year-over-year decrease, and a 1% decrease year-over-year on non-GAAP basis. Record revenue was achieved in the Network and Edge Group, ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Onshoring and the supply chain Efforts to patch up supply chain weaknesses by moving more manufacturing onshore in the United States and Europe are generating a lot of buzz. Morris Chang, TMSC's founder, described those moves as "a very expensive exercise in futility," during an interview with the Brookings Institution and Center for Strategic and International Studies, adding that it is like... » read more

Strategies For Faster Yield Ramps On 5nm Chips


Leading chipmakers TSMC and Samsung are producing 5nm devices in high volume production and TSMC is forging ahead with plans for first 3nm silicon by year end. But to meet such aggressive targets, engineers must identify defects and ramp yield faster than before. Getting a handle on EUV stochastic defects — non-repeating patterning defects such as microbridges, broken lines, or missing con... » read more

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