Next Challenge: Parts Per Quadrillion


Requirements for purity of the materials used in semiconductor manufacturing are being pushed to unprecedented — and increasingly unprovable — levels as demand for reliability in chips over increasingly longer lifetimes continues to rise. And while this may seem like a remote problem for many parts of the supply chain, it can affect everything from availability of materials needed to make t... » read more

Advanced Materials For High-Temperature Process Integration


From the last several lithography nodes, in the 14 to 10nm range, to the latest nodes, in the 7 to 5nm range, the requirements for patterning and image transfer materials have increased dramatically. One of the key pinch points is the tradeoff between planarization and the high-temperature stability required from carbon films used in patterning and post-patterning process integration. Patter... » read more

Co-Design For The AI Era


Welcome to the second piece in our blog series examining how the computing industry can work in new ways to enable the AI Era. In our first blog, my colleague Ellie Yieh described the enormous opportunities and challenges facing the industry as we enter a new decade, and she offered a path for accelerating innovation—from materials to systems—based on a “New Playbook” for driving im... » read more

Silicon Carbide’s Superpowers


As we enter a new computing era driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), demand is growing for more energy-efficient chips. In this context, we usually think about Moore’s Law and reducing the size of transistors. However, advances in power semiconductors are not governed by node size reduction. Silicon power switches, such as MOSFETs and IGBTs, ar... » read more

System Bits: July 10


Light waves run on silicon-based chips Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Nano Institute and Singapore University of Technology and Design collaborated on manipulating light waves on silicon-based microchips to keep coherent data as it travels thousands of miles on fiber-optic cables. Such waves—whether a tsunami or a photonic packet of information—are known as solitons. The... » 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

Multifunctional Materials Enable Single-Layer Temporary Bonding And Debonding


Many new wafer-level packaging (WLP) technologies involve the processing of thin wafers that must be mechanically supported during the manufacturing flow. These technologies include fan-out wafer-level packaging (FOWLP), fan-in wafer-level chip-scale packaging (FI-WLCSP), 3-D FOWLP, 2.5-D integration with interposer technology, and true 3-D IC integration using through-silicon via (TSV) interco... » read more

A Different Kind Of Material World


The semiconductor manufacturing world is poised for big change, and the driver will be materials. Materials always have been a critical factor in semiconductors. Silicon is so important that an entire region of California is named after it. Rare earths have raised fears about nationalistic monopolies. And the shift from aluminum to copper interconnects at 130nm caused one of the most painful... » read more

Using Sensor Data To Improve Yield And Uptime


Semiconductor equipment vendors are starting to add more sensors into their tools in an effort to improve fab uptime and wafer yield, and to reduce cost of ownership and chip failures. Massive amounts of data gleaned from those tools is expected to provide far more detail than in the past about multiple types and sources of variation, including when and where that variation occurred and how,... » read more

Reliability Becomes The Top Concern In Automotive


Reliability is emerging as the top priority across the hottest growth markets for semiconductors, including automotive, industrial and cloud-based computing. But instead of replacing chips every two to four years, some of those devices are expected to survive for up to 20 years, even with higher usage in sometimes extreme environmental conditions. This shift in priorities has broad ramificat... » read more

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