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Angstrom-Level Measurements With AFMs


Competition is heating up in the atomic force microscopy (AFM) market, where several vendors are shipping new AFM systems that address various metrology challenges in packaging, semiconductors and other fields. AFM, a small but growing field that has been under the radar, involves a standalone system that provides surface measurements on structures down to the angstrom level. (1 angstrom = 0... » read more

The Great Quantum Computing Race


Quantum computing is heating up, as a growing number of entities race to benchmark, stabilize, and ultimately commercialize this technology. As of July 2021, a group from China appears to have taken the lead in terms of raw performance, but Google, IBM, Intel and other quantum computer developers aren’t far behind. All of that could change overnight, though. At this point, it's too early t... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs More delays and product woes at Intel. “INTC disclosed that it is delaying the launch of its next-generation Xeon server processor Sapphire Rapids (10nm) from the end of this year to 1Q22 due to additional validation needed for the chip,” said John Vinh, an analyst at KeyBanc, in a research note. “Production is expected to begin in 1Q22, with the ramp expected to begi... » read more

Bumps Vs. Hybrid Bonding For Advanced Packaging


Advanced packaging continues to gain steam, but now customers must decide whether to design their next high-end packages using existing interconnect schemes or move to a next-generation, higher-density technology called copper hybrid bonding. The decision is far from simple, and in some cases both technologies may be used. Each technology adds new capabilities in next-generation advanced pac... » read more

The Increasingly Uneven Race To 3nm/2nm


Several chipmakers and fabless design houses are racing against each other to develop processes and chips at the next logic nodes in 3nm and 2nm, but putting these technologies into mass production is proving both expensive and difficult. It's also beginning to raise questions about just how quickly those new nodes will be needed and why. Migrating to the next nodes does boost performance an... » read more

New Transistor Structures At 3nm/2nm


Several foundries continue to develop new processes based on next-generation gate-all-around transistors, including more advanced high-mobility versions, but bringing these technologies into production is going to be difficult and expensive. Intel, Samsung, TSMC and others are laying the groundwork for the transition from today’s finFET transistors to new gate-all-around field-effect trans... » read more

Bonding Issues For Multi-Chip Packages


The rising cost and complexity of developing chips at the most advanced nodes is forcing many chipmakers to begin breaking up that chip into multiple parts, not all of which require leading edge nodes. The challenge is how to put those disaggregated pieces back together. When a complex system is integrated monolithically — on a single piece of silicon — the final product is a compromise ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Trade and government The U.S. continues to tighten its export controls for hi-tech, including a move to restrict fab technologies that enable 5nm chip production. The U.S. Department of Commerce has imposed controls on six more technologies, bringing the total to 37. They include: hybrid additive manufacturing/computer controlled tools; computational lithography software designed for EUV masks... » read more

Much Smarter Manufacturing


Smart manufacturing is undergoing some fundamental changes as more sensors are integrated across fabs to generate more usable data, and as AI/ML systems are deployed to sift through that data and identify patterns and anomalies more quickly. The concept of smart manufacturing — also referred to as Industrie 4.0 in Europe, for the fourth industrial revolution — emerged from the World Econ... » read more

The Race To Much More Advanced Packaging


Momentum is building for copper hybrid bonding, a technology that could pave the way toward next-generation 2.5D and 3D packages. Foundries, equipment vendors, R&D organizations and others are developing copper hybrid bonding, which is a process that stacks and bonds dies using copper-to-copper interconnects in advanced packages. Still in R&D, hybrid bonding for packaging provides mo... » read more

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