Wanted: Mask Equipment for Mature Nodes


Rising demand for chips at mature nodes is impacting the photomask supply chain, causing huge demand for trailing-edge masks and a shortfall of older mask equipment. The big issue is the equipment shortfall, which could impact customers on several fronts. Tool shortages could lead to longer mask turnaround times and delivery schedules for chips being developed at 90nm and above, which are bu... » read more

Machine Learning Invades IC Production


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and chip and photomask manufacturing technologies with Aki Fujimura, chief executive of D2S; Jerry Chen, business and ecosystem development manager at Nvidia; Noriaki Nakayamada, senior technologist at NuFlare; and Mikael Wahlsten, director and product area manager at Mycronic. What follows are excerpt... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab/mask manufacturing An alliance of companies have formed the Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing (CDLe). NuFlare, Mycronic and D2S have established the San Jose, Calif.-based center to advance the state-of-the-art in deep learning for its industry-specific applications. Imec.xpand, an early-stage and growth fund that is initiated by Imec, has closed its first fund at 11... » read more

What’s Missing In EUV?


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is expected to move into production at 7nm and/or 5nm, but as previously reported, there are some gaps in the arena. At one time, the power source was the big problem, but that appears to be solved in the near term. Now, a phenomenon called stochastic effects, or random variations, are the biggest challenge for EUV lithography. But at most events, th... » read more

Will Fab Tool Boom Cycle Last?


Fab equipment spending is on pace for a record year in 2017, and it now appears that momentum could continue into 2018. Fab tool vendors found themselves in the midst of an unexpected boom cycle in 2017, thanks to enormous demand for equipment in [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] and, to a lesser degree, [getkc id="93" kc_name="DRAM"]. In the logic/foundry business, however, equipment deman... » read more

Searching For EUV Mask Defects


Chipmakers hope to insert extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 7nm and/or 5nm, but several challenges need to be solved before this technology can be used in production. One lingering issue that is becoming more worrisome is how to find [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] mask defects. That isn't the only issue, of course. The industry continues to work on the power source and resists. Bu... » read more

Next-Gen Mask Writer Race Begins


Competition is heating up in the mask writer equipment business as two vendors—Intel/IMS and NuFlare—vie for position in the new and emerging multi-beam tool segment. Last year, Intel surprised the industry by acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a multi-beam e-beam mask writer equipment vendor. Also last year, IMS, now part of Intel, began shipping the world’s first multi-beam mask writer f... » read more

What’s After FinFETs?


Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it's still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next. The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 27


World’s brightest laser The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has set the unofficial record for the world’s brightest laser. Researchers have focused a laser at a brightness of 1 billion times greater than the surface of the sun. This feat was accomplished using the so-called Diocles Laser at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The laser has a combination of peak power and a repetition ra... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The NAND market is in flux. Not long ago, troubled Toshiba put its memory unit on the block. Finally, the company has selected a group to buy its memory business. The consortium includes the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, the Development Bank of Japan and Bain Capital. Rival SK Hynix is also part of the group. Others attempted to bid on the business, including Western Digita... » read more

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