Scramble For The White Space


Chipmakers are pushing to utilize more of the unused portion of a design for different functions, reducing margin in the rest of the chip to more clearly define that white space. White space typically is used to relieve back-end routing congestion before all of the silicon area is used up. But a significant amount of space still remain unused. That provides an opportunity for inserting monit... » read more

Better Inspection, Higher Yield


Wafers can be inspected for large, obvious defects, or for small, subtle ones. The former is referred to as macro-inspection, while the latter is micro-inspection. These processes use different machines with different capital and operating costs, and they might look like competing approaches with different economic returns. In fact, they are complementary tactics that can be balanced within an ... » read more

Measuring Reflective Surfaces


Manufacturers are adopting automated optical inspection (AOI) systems based on phase shift profilometry (PSP) for applications in advanced packaging processes. Many of these processes use front end-like techniques to create connections among die within a package and from the packaged die to the outside world. The technique offers fast, precise measurements of the 10µm to 100µm features that a... » read more

Using Fab Sensors To Reduce Auto Defects


The semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem has begun collaborating on ways to effectively use wafer data to meet the stringent quality and reliability requirements for automotive ICs. Silicon manufacturing companies are now leveraging equipment and inspection monitors to proactively identify impactful defects prior to electrical test. Using machine learning techniques, they combine the monitor ... » read more

Challenges In Stacking, Shrinking And Inspecting Next-Gen Chips


Rick Gottscho, CTO of Lam Research, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss memory and equipment scaling, new market demands, and changes in manufacturing being driven by cost, new technologies, and the application of machine learning. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: We have a lot of different memory technologies coming to market. What's the impact of that? ... » read more

Making Chips At 3nm And Beyond


Select foundries are beginning to ramp up their new 5nm processes with 3nm in R&D. The big question is what comes after that. Work is well underway for the 2nm node and beyond, but there are numerous challenges as well as some uncertainty on the horizon. There already are signs that the foundries have pushed out their 3nm production schedules by a few months due to various technical issu... » read more

The Convergence Of Advanced Packaging And SMT


One statement is almost always true in the electronics industry: smaller is better. The relentless demand for electronic systems that pack more computing power and functionality into less space has driven the development of new processes and designs since the invention of the integrated circuit. In recent years that drive has taken a new direction, literally, as manufacturers have discovered th... » read more

How And Where ML Is Being Used In IC Manufacturing


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the issues and challenges with machine learning in semiconductor manufacturing with Kurt Ronse, director of the advanced lithography program at Imec; Yudong Hao, senior director of marketing at Onto Innovation; Romain Roux, data scientist at Mycronic; and Aki Fujimura, chief executive of D2S. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. Part one ... » read more

Inspection And Metrology Of Micro LED Technology


Micro LEDs developed using Rohinni’s technology can be deployed in consumer electronics devices, automotive applications and outdoor signage, among other applications. The disruptive technology enables products that are brighter, thinner, lighter and more dynamic that those currently on the market, with lower power consumption than LCD or OLED. Rohinni needed an inspection and metrology so... » read more

Finding Defects In IC Packages


Several equipment makers are ramping up new inspection equipment to address the growing defect challenges in IC packaging. At one time, finding defects in packaging was relatively straightforward. But as packaging becomes more complex, and as it is used in markets where reliability is critical, finding defects is both more difficult and more important. This has prompted the development of a ... » read more

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