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

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

Single Vs. Multi-Patterning EUV


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography finally is moving into production, but foundry customers now must decide whether to implement their designs using EUV-based single patterning at 7nm, or whether to wait and instead deploy EUV multiple patterning at 5nm. Each patterning scheme has unique challenges, making that decision more difficult than it might appear. Targeted for 7nm, single pattern... » read more

Unsticking Moore’s Law


Sanjay Natarajan, corporate vice president at Applied Materials with responsibility for transistor, interconnect and memory solutions, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about variation, Moore's Law, the impact of new materials such as cobalt, and different memory architectures and approaches. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Reliability is becoming more of an... » read more

Planarization Challenges At 7nm And Beyond


Dan Sullivan, executive director of semiconductor technology at Brewer Science, digs into the challenges of planarizing a thin film on a wafer for etch and optical control. The problem becomes more difficult at advanced nodes because the films are thinner. https://youtu.be/iNA6EGpoYZU     _________________________________ See more tech talk videos here   » read more

Digging Deep Into High Aspect Ratio Process Control For Memory Technology


By Mark Shirey and Janay Camp Data is an integral part of our lives. Contrary to the past, where files had to be removed periodically to free up storage space, we now assume that our data will never be deleted. Why risk deleting the wrong file? Just keep them! This new approach consumes a lot of memory, and intensifies the demand for storage. Two of the main workhorses of the memory segment ... » read more

Cryogenic Etch Re-Emerges


After years in R&D, a technology called cryogenic etch is re-emerging as a possible option for production as the industry faces new challenges in memory and logic. Cryogenic etch removes materials in devices with high aspect ratios at cold temperatures, although it has always been a challenging process. Cryogenic etch is difficult to control and it requires specialized cryogenic gases in... » read more

Variation’s Long, Twisty Tail Worsens At 7/5nm


Variation is becoming a bigger challenge at each new node, but not just for obvious reasons and not always from the usual sources. Nevertheless, dealing with these issues takes additional time and resources, and it can affect the performance and reliability of those chips throughout their lifetimes. At a high level, variation historically was viewed as a mismatch between what design teams in... » read more

Where Is Selective Deposition?


For years, the industry has been working on an advanced technology called area-selective deposition for chip production at 5nm and beyond. Area-selective deposition, an advanced self-aligned patterning technique, is still in R&D amid a slew of challenges with the technology. But the more advanced forms of technology are beginning to make some progress, possibly inching closer from the la... » read more

Etch Techniques for Next-Generation Storage-Class Memory


Chipmakers make abundant use of two very different functional classes of memory in their products. For operational use (main/primary memory) where speed is critical, DRAM and SRAM are employed, whereas for long-term storage, flash memory – in particular NAND – provides the high capacity at low cost needed. For both classes, efforts to improve speed, capacity, and power usage are ongoing. To... » read more

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