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How To Compare Chips


Traditional metrics for semiconductors are becoming much less meaningful in the most advanced designs. The number of transistors packed into a square centimeter only matters if they can be utilized, and performance per watt is irrelevant if sufficient power cannot be delivered to all of the transistors. The consensus across the chip industry is that the cost per transistor is rising at each ... » read more

Hunting For Macro Defects: The Importance Of Bare Wafer Inspection


As logic and memory semiconductor devices approach the limits of Moore’s Law, the requirements for accuracy in layer transfer become increasingly stringent. One leading silicon wafer manufacturer estimates that 50% of epitaxial wafer supply for logic will be on nodes equal to or less than 7nm. This is up approximately 30% from earlier in the decade. To meet the demands of extreme ultraviol... » read more

Making 5G More Reliable


The rollout of 5G is a complex and monumental effort involving multiple separate systems that need to function flawlessly together in real-time, making it difficult to determine where problems might arise, or how and when to test for them. Investments in 5G have been underway for the better part of a decade, and the technology is considered the next huge growth opportunity for mobile devices... » read more

The Drive Toward More Predictive Maintenance


Maintenance is a critical behind-the-scenes activity that keeps manufacturing facilities running and data centers humming. But when not performed in a timely manner, it can result in damaged products or equipment, or significant system/equipment downtime. By shifting from scheduled maintenance to predictive maintenance, factories and electronic system owners can reap substantial benefits, in... » read more

Methods To Overcome Limited Labeled Data Sets In Machine Learning-Based Optical Critical Dimension Metrology


With the aggressive scaling of semiconductor devices, the increasing complexity of device structure coupled with tighter metrology error budget has driven up Optical Critical Dimension (OCD) time to solution to a critical point. Machine Learning (ML), thanks to its extremely fast turnaround, has been successfully applied in OCD metrology as an alternative solution to the conventional physical... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Regional Shifts Supply chains are moving away from China. Apple, Honda, and Mazda are in line to diversify their manufacturing across different regions, according to one report. Another report says Apple plans to manufacture some of its new iPhone 14s in India. Mexico wants to be part of U.S.’s drive to move chip manufacturing closer to home, hosting American financiers to discuss elect... » read more

Fan-Out Packaging Gets Competitive


Fan-out wafer-level packaging (FOWLP) is a key enabler in the industry shift from transistor scaling to system scaling and integration. The design fans out the chip interconnects through a redistribution layer instead of a substrate. Compared to flip-chip ball grid array (FCBGA) or wire bonds, it creates lower thermal resistance, a slimmer package, and potentially lower costs. Yet, if the h... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Government funding President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law on Tuesday, saying “America is back and leading the way.” That same day Micron touted a $40 billion investment through to 2030, which it expects will create 40,000 American jobs. “This legislation will enable Micron to grow domestic production of memory from less than 2% to up to 10% of the global market in t... » read more

Sky High: More Thoughts To Consider Before Transitioning To The Cloud


In our previous blog, I talked about the essential factors that a company must consider in leveraging cloud resources to accelerate their goals. The objective here is not just about putting some of the workload in the cloud; rather, it is about realizing the transformation adopting cloud technologies will bring about. In particular, it is more important to think of the cloud not only as a set o... » read more

Nanosheet FETs Drive Changes In Metrology And Inspection


In the Moore’s Law world, it has become a truism that smaller nodes lead to larger problems. As fabs turn to nanosheet transistors, it is becoming increasingly challenging to detect line-edge roughness and other defects due to the depths and opacities of these and other multi-layered structures. As a result, metrology is taking even more of a hybrid approach, with some well-known tools moving... » read more

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