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

Predictions: Manufacturing, Devices And Companies


Some predictions are just wishful thinking, but most of these are a lot more thoughtful. They project what needs to happen for various markets or products to become successful. Those far reaching predictions may not fully happen within 2018, but we give everyone the chance to note the progress made towards their predictions at the end of the year. (See Reflection On 2017: Design And EDA and Man... » read more

Data Buffering’s Role Grows


Data buffering is gaining ground as a way to speed up the processing of increasingly large quantities of data. In simple terms, a data buffer is an area of physical [getkc id="22" kc_name="memory"] storage that temporarily stores data while it is being moved from one place to another. This becomes increasingly necessary in data centers, autonomous vehicles, and for [getkc id="305" kc_name=... » read more

Machine Learning’s Growing Divide


[getkc id="305" kc_name="Machine learning"] is one of the hottest areas of development, but most of the attention so far has focused on the cloud, algorithms and GPUs. For the semiconductor industry, the real opportunity is in optimizing and packaging solutions into usable forms, such as within the automotive industry or for battery-operated consumer or [getkc id="76" kc_name="IoT"] products. ... » read more

A New Memory Contender?


Momentum is building for a new class of ferroelectric memories that could alter the next-generation memory landscape. Generally, ferroelectrics are associated with a memory type called ferroelectric RAMs (FRAMs). Rolled out by several vendors in the late 1990s, FRAMs are low-power, nonvolatile devices, but they are also limited to niche applications and unable to scale beyond 130nm. While... » read more

Foundry Challenges in 2018


The silicon foundry business is expected to see steady growth in 2018, but that growth will come with several challenges. On the leading edge, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are migrating from the 16nm/14nm to the 10nm/7nm logic nodes. Intel already has encountered some difficulties, as the chip giant recently pushed out the volume ramp of its new 10nm process from the second half ... » read more

Will Fab Tool Boom Cycle Last?


Fab equipment spending is on pace for a record year in 2017, and it now appears that momentum could continue into 2018. Fab tool vendors found themselves in the midst of an unexpected boom cycle in 2017, thanks to enormous demand for equipment in [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] and, to a lesser degree, [getkc id="93" kc_name="DRAM"]. In the logic/foundry business, however, equipment deman... » read more

The Next 5 Years Of Chip Technology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the future of scaling, the impact of variation, and the introduction of new materials and technologies, with Rick Gottscho, CTO of [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; Mark Dougherty, vice president of advanced module engineering at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"]; David Shortt, technical fellow at [getentity id="22876" co... » read more

Pushing DRAM’s Limits


If humans ever do create a genuinely self-aware artificial intelligence, it may well exhibit the frustration of waiting for data arrive. The access bandwidth of DRAM-based computer memory has improved by a factor of 20x over the past two decades. Capacity increased 128x during the same period. But latency improved only 1.3x, according to Kevin Chang, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon Universit... » read more

Shortages Hit Packaging Biz


Rising demand for chips is hitting the IC packaging supply chain, causing shortages of select manufacturing capacity, various package types, leadframes and even some equipment. Spot shortages for some IC packages began showing up earlier this year, but the problem has been growing and spreading since then. Supply imbalances reached a boiling point in the third and fourth quarters of this yea... » read more

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