Four Foundries Back MRAM


Four major foundries plan to offer MRAM as an embedded memory solution by this year or next, setting the stage for what finally could prove to be a game-changer for this next-generation memory technology. GlobalFoundries, Samsung, TSMC and UMC plan to start offering spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (ST-MRAM or STT-MRAM) as an alternative or a replacement to NOR flash, possibly start... » read more

Why Fabs Worry About Tool Parts


Achieving high yields with acceptable costs is becoming much more difficult as chipmakers migrate to next-generation 3D NAND and finFET devices—but not just because of rising complexity or lithography issues. To fabricate an advanced logic chip, for example, a wafer moves from one piece of equipment to another in what amounts to 1,000 process steps or more in a fab. Any glitch with the equ... » read more

What Is Spin Torque MRAM?


The memory market is going in several different directions at once. On one front, the traditional memory types, such as DRAM and flash, remain the workhorse technologies. Then, several vendors are readying the next-generation memory types. As part of an ongoing series, Semiconductor Engineering will explore where the new and traditional memory technologies are heading. For this segment, P... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Lam Research held an analyst event this week. The company indicated that the industry is in the midst of a memory boom, including both DRAM and 3D NAND. According to Amit Daryanani, an analyst with RBC, here was one of the big takeaways at the event: “The memory spend portion of WFE is more sustainable than previously assumed due to end-market drivers such as big data, automation, ... » read more

Blog Review: Aug. 9


Cadence's Paul McLellan digs into a recently discovered vulnerability in the Broadcom Wi-Fi chip used in many smartphones and why it should be a wakeup call for SoC designers. Mentor's Craig Armenti considers whether work-in-process design data management is an asset or a liability. Synopsys' Thomas M. Tuerke notes that in code, as in medicine, proper hygiene is should be treated as a con... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Aug. 8


Ferroelectric films Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) is creating a buzz again. For years, FRAMs have been shipping for embedded applications, although the technology has taken a backseat to MRAM, phase-change and ReRAM. Using a ferroelectric capacitor to store data, FRAM is a nonvolatile memory with unlimited endurance. FRAM is faster than EEPROM and flash. FRAM performs an over-write function in ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The situation between Toshiba and its fab partner, Western Digital (WD), has gone from bad to worse. As reported, troubled Toshiba recently selected a group to buy its memory business. The consortium includes the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, the Development Bank of Japan and Bain Capital. Rival SK Hynix is also part of the group. WD attempted but failed to buy the unit, an... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers UMC has generated sales from its recently-announced 14nm finFET technology. The foundry vendor also plans to enter the 22nm process technology market. UMC will join other players in the 22nm arena, such as GlobalFoundries, Intel and TSMC. “So we do have a plan to introduce our 22nm as well and it will be available around 2018,” said Jason Wang, the newly appointed co-president o... » read more

What’s After FinFETs?


Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it's still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next. The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process ... » read more

5 Takeaways From Semicon


At the recent Semicon West trade show in San Francisco, there were a multitude of presentations on a number of subjects. The event, sponsored by SEMI, had presentations on the outlook for ICs, equipment and packaging. Clearly, though, the show is much smaller with fewer attendees, as compared to past years. Most of the big companies no longer have booths. Hardly any have press events or med... » read more

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