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

5nm Vs. 3nm


Foundry vendors are readying the next wave of advanced processes, but their customers will face a myriad of confusing options—including whether to develop chips at 5nm, wait until 3nm, or opt for something in between. The path to 5nm is well-defined compared with 3nm. After that, the landscape becomes more convoluted because foundries are adding half-node processes to the mix, such as 6nm ... » read more

Sidestepping Moore’s Law


Calvin Cheung, vice president of engineering at ASE, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about advanced packaging, the challenges involved with the technology, and the implications for Moore’s Law. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What are some of the big issues with IC packaging today? Cheung: Moore’s Law is slowing down, but transistor scaling will co... » read more

The Precision Knob


Precision used to be a goal, but increasingly it is being used as a tool. This is true for processing and algorithms, where less precision can greatly improve both performance and battery life. And it is true in manufacturing, where more precision can help minimize the growing impact of variation. Moreover, being able to dial precision up or down can help engineers see the impact on a system... » read more

Using Sensor Data To Improve Yield And Uptime


Semiconductor equipment vendors are starting to add more sensors into their tools in an effort to improve fab uptime and wafer yield, and to reduce cost of ownership and chip failures. Massive amounts of data gleaned from those tools is expected to provide far more detail than in the past about multiple types and sources of variation, including when and where that variation occurred and how,... » read more

Adaptation In A Volatile Era


2018 has been a volatile year by almost any measure, and the global electronics industry was at the center of the action. Soaring memory prices and tech stock valuations drove eye-popping growth in the first half, with Samsung solidifying its position as the world’s largest chipmaker and Apple briefly topping $1 trillion of market capitalization. Fast forward to the second half of the year an... » read more

Process Variation And Aging


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss design reliability and circuit aging with João Geada, chief technologist for the semiconductor business unit at ANSYS; Hany Elhak, product management director, simulation and characterization in the custom IC and PCB group at Cadence; Christoph Sohrmann, advanced physical verification at Fraunhofer EAS; and Naseer Khan, vice president of sales at M... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Tariffs The United States and China are in the midst of a trade war. New data shows that tariffs on imported Chinese products now cost the technology industry an additional $1 billion per month, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Nearly 70% of tariffs paid by the hi-tech industry come from the $200 billion product list enacted Sep. 24. Tariffs on CTA-identified tech pro... » read more

Foundries See Growth, New Issues In 2019


The silicon foundry business is poised for growth in 2019, although the industry faces several challenges across a number of market segments next year. Generally, foundry vendors saw steady growth in 2018, but many are ending the year on a sour note. Weak demand for Apple’s new iPhone XR and a downturn in the cryptocurrency market have impacted several IC suppliers and foundries, causing t... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers GlobalFoundries has announced that its advanced silicon-germanium (SiGe) offering is available for prototyping on 300mm wafers. GF’s SiGe technology has been shipping on its 200mm production line in Burlington, Vt. The technology, a 90nm SiGe process, is moving to 300mm wafers at GF’s Fab 10 facility in East Fishkill, N.Y. The SiGe technology is called 9HP. “The increasing ... » read more

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