China Speeds Up Advanced Chip Development


China is accelerating its efforts to advance its domestic semiconductor industry, amid ongoing trade tensions with the West, in hopes of becoming more self-sufficient. The country is still behind in IC technology and is nowhere close to being self-reliant, but it is making noticeable progress. Until recently, China’s domestic chipmakers were stuck with mature foundry processes with no pres... » read more

Latest IC Outlook: More Uncertainty


So far in 2020, it’s been a difficult period in the semiconductor industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and other issues. And heading into the second half of 2020, the industry faces more challenges, if not uncertainty, in the market. Many segments in the semiconductor industry face some headwinds, but there might be some positive news in the equipment business. To be sure,... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers Select foundries are beginning to ramp up their new 5nm processes with 3nm in R&D. There are already signs that the foundries have pushed out their 3nm production schedules. So, expect 7nm and 5nm to become long-running nodes. At 3nm, Samsung and TSMC are going in different directions. Samsung is developing a gate-all-around (GAA) technology called nanosheet FETs. TSMC will e... » read more

2020 IC Outlook: Uncertainty


After a downturn in 2019, the semiconductor and equipment industries looked promising at the start of 2020. In 2019, the downturn was primarily due to the memory markets, namely DRAM and NAND. Both DRAM and NAND saw lackluster demand and falling prices last year. At the start of 2020, though, the memory markets were beginning to recover. Unlike memory, the logic and foundry markets were s... » read more

DRAM Scaling Challenges Grow


DRAM makers are pushing into the next phase of scaling, but they are facing several challenges as the memory technology approaches its physical limit. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. There are efforts in R&D to extend the technology, and ultimate... » read more

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

Manufacturing Bits: July 10


Semicon West It’s Semicon West time again. Here’s the first wave of announcements at the event: Applied Materials has unveiled a pair of tools aimed at accelerating the industry adoption for new memories. First, Applied rolled out the Endura Clover MRAM PVD system. The system is an integrated platform for MRAM devices. Second, the company introduced the Endura Impulse PVD platform for P... » 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

Impact Of U.S.-China Trade War


The trade war between the United States and China is escalating and it is here to stay. Last year, the Trump administration started the trade war with China for basically two reasons. First, China has a massive trade surplus with the U.S. Second, U.S. companies have been the subject of IP theft in China, which has largely gone unchecked, according to the Trump administration. Many disagre... » read more

Controlling IC Manufacturing Processes For Yield


Equipment and tools vendors are starting to focus on data as a means of improving yield, adding more sensors and analysis capabilities into the manufacturing flow to circumvent problems in real time. How much this will impact the cost of developing complex chips at leading-edge nodes, and in 2.5D and 3D-IC packages, remains to be seen. But the race to both generate data during manufacturing ... » read more

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