The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Who will buy Toshiba’s memory business? In the latest of what is becoming a confusing saga, Toshiba has signed a deal to sell its memory unit to a group led by Bain Capital. The Bain-led consortium will hold a 49.9% stake in the memory unit, while Toshiba will hold 40.2% and Japan’s Hoya will own 9.9%. Other members in the group include Apple, Dell, Kingston, and Seagate. In add... » read more

Etching Technology Advances


Let’s get really, really small. That directive from leading semiconductor companies and their customers is forcing the whole semiconductor supply chain to come up with new ways to design and manufacture ever-shrinking dimensions for chips. The current push is to 10nm and 7nm, but R&D into 5nm and 3nm is already underway. To put this in perspective, there are roughly two silicon atom... » read more

Can We Measure Next-Gen FinFETs?


After ramping up their respective 16nm/14nm finFET processes, chipmakers are moving towards 10nm and/or 7nm, with 5nm in R&D. But as they move down the process roadmap, they will face a new set of fab challenges. In addition to lithography and interconnects, there is metrology. Metrology, the science of measurements, is used to characterize tiny films and structures. It helps to boost yi... » read more

Mask Maker Worries Grow


Photomasks are becoming more complex and expensive at each node, thereby creating a number of challenges on several fronts. For one thing, the features on the [getkc id="265" kc_name="photomask"] are becoming smaller and more complex at each node. Second, the number of masks per mask-set are increasing as a result of multiple patterning. Third, it costs more to build and equip a new mask fab... » read more

Atomic Layer Etch Heats Up


The atomic layer etch (ALE) market is starting to heat up as chipmakers push to 10nm and beyond. ALE is a promising next-generation etch technology that has been in R&D for the last several years, but until now there has been little or no need to use it. Unlike conventional etch tools, which remove materials on a continuous basis, ALE promises to selectively and precisely remove targete... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tool vendors In terms of sales for 2015, Applied Materials retained the No. 1 position in the wafer fab equipment (WFE) market with 1.3% growth last year, according to Garnter. Lam Research experienced the strongest growth of the top 10 vendors in 2015, moving into the No. 2 position. In the rankings, Lam jumped ahead of ASML and TEL. ASML was in third place, followed in order by TEL, KLA-... » read more