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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs Intel wants $9.7 billion in subsidies for use in building a leading-edge fab in Europe, according to a report from Reuters. As reported, in March, Intel re-entered the foundry business, positioning itself against Samsung and TSMC at the leading edge, and against a multitude of foundries working at older nodes. Eighteen members of the European Union recently launched an ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Government policy At one point, there was a school of thought that the Biden administration would relax the current tariffs and export controls in regards to China. So far, the Biden administration hasn’t changed any of the previous policies and is doubling down on those efforts. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) this week added seven Chinese supercomput... » read more

AI In Inspection, Metrology, And Test


AI/ML is creeping into multiple processes within the fab and packaging houses, although not necessarily for the purpose it was originally intended. The chip industry is just beginning to learn where AI makes sense and where it doesn't. In general, AI works best as a tool in the hands of someone with deep domain expertise. AI can do certain things well, particularly when it comes to pattern m... » read more

What Goes Wrong In Advanced Packages


Advanced packaging may be the best way forward for massive improvements in performance, lower power, and different form factors, but it adds a whole new set of issues that were much better understood when Moore's Law and the ITRS roadmap created a semi-standardized path forward for the chip industry. Different advanced packaging options — system-in-package, fan-outs, 2.5D, 3D-IC — have a... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs Micron will cease development of 3D XPoint, a next-generation memory technology. Micron also plans to sell a fab that produces 3D XPoint chips. For some time, Intel and Micron have co-developed 3D XPoint, which is based on phase-change memory technology. Intel sells solid-state storage drives (SSDs) using 3D XPoint. In a fab located in Utah, Micron is producing this memo... » read more

Hunting For Open Defects In Advanced Packages


Catching all defects in chip packaging is becoming more difficult, requiring a mix of electrical tests, metrology screening, and various types of inspection. And the more critical the application for these chips, the greater the effort and the cost. Latent open defects continue to be the bane of test, quality, and reliability engineering. Open defects in packages occur at the chip-to-substra... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Government policy For the last four years, the U.S. and China have been embroiled in a trade war, especially on the technology front. The U.S. has implemented a number of export control measures and tariffs in the arena. But there might be a thawing in the tense relationship between the two superpowers. “Reports surfaced Thursday indicating the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA)... » read more

Making Sure AI/ML Works In Test Systems


Artificial intelligence/machine learning is being utilized increasingly to find patterns and outlier data in chip manufacturing and test, improving the overall yield and reliability of end devices. But there are too many variables and unknowns to reliably predict how a chip will behave in the field using just AI. Today, every AI use case — whether a self-driving car or an industrial sortin... » read more

Part Average Tests For Auto ICs Not Good Enough


Part Average Testing (PAT) has long been used in automotive. For some semiconductor technologies it remains viable, while for others it is no longer good enough. Automakers are bracing for chips developed at advanced process nodes with much trepidation. Tight control of their supply chains and a reliance upon mature electronic processes so far have enabled them to increase electronic compone... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs A severe winter storm has hit many parts of the United States, including Texas. In Austin, utility providers are prioritizing service to residential areas. As a result, electricity and natural gas providers have temporarily suspended service to Austin’s semiconductor manufacturers, including Samsung and NXP. "Due to the recent blackouts in Texas, Samsung Austin Semicon... » read more

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