China’s Electric Car Ambitions


China, the world’s largest car market, is also leading the charge in the electric vehicle business. But with little or no fanfare, China also wants to dominate the critical ecosystem for battery-electric vehicles and hybrids. In fact, the nation is already the world’s largest producer of batteries for electric vehicles. And it also controls a sizable part of the supply chain, such as the... » read more

Cobalt Shortages Ahead


Rapid growth of electric vehicles is creating an enormous demand for cobalt, causing tight supply, high prices and supply chain issues for this critical material. Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal and one of the key materials used in lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, notebook PCs, battery-electric cars and hybrids. It also is used in alloys and semiconductors. And while the IC industry co... » read more

Next-Gen Memory Ramping Up


The next-generation memory market is heating up as vendors ramp a number of new technologies, but there are some challenges in bringing these products into the mainstream. For years, the industry has been working on a variety of memory technologies, including carbon nanotube RAM, FRAM, MRAM, phase-change memory and ReRAM. Some are shipping, while others are in R&D. Each memory type is di... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 10


Ruthenium interconnects Imec has developed a process to enable ruthenium (Ru) interconnects in chips at 5nm and beyond. Ru is one of several candidates to replace traditional copper as the interconnect material in chips. The interconnects, which reside on the top of the transistor, consist of tiny copper wiring schemes that transfer electrical signals from one transistor to another. The int... » read more

What’s On Display


Displays provide the window between consumers and the information universe. There is no place like CES, held recently in Las Vegas, to see the most exciting new and future displays. Beyond traditional technologies like television, displays also featured prominently in many of the big trends at the show: AI (Artificial Intelligence), automotive, virtual reality, IoT (Internet of Things) and conn... » read more

A New Memory Contender?


Momentum is building for a new class of ferroelectric memories that could alter the next-generation memory landscape. Generally, ferroelectrics are associated with a memory type called ferroelectric RAMs (FRAMs). Rolled out by several vendors in the late 1990s, FRAMs are low-power, nonvolatile devices, but they are also limited to niche applications and unable to scale beyond 130nm. While... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


Altium released the latest version of its PCB design suite. Improvements include a new interface and an upgrade to 64-bit architecture combined with multi-threaded task optimizations. Other additions include a new BoM rule checker and length tuning and pin-swapping in the user-guided routing engine. Creonic announced a new line of IP for 5G forward error correction. The product line covers t... » read more

What Happened To ReRAM?


Resistive RAM (ReRAM), one of a handful of next-generation memories under development, is finally gaining traction after years of setbacks. Fujitsu and Panasonic are jointly ramping up a second-generation ReRAM device. In addition, Crossbar is sampling a 40nm ReRAM technology, which is being made on a foundry basis by China’s SMIC. And not to be outdone, TSMC and UMC recently put ReRAM on ... » read more

What’s Next For NOR Flash?


The flash memory market is the tale two of cities. Today, NAND and NOR are the two main flash memory types. Over the years, the NAND flash market has exploded. Targeted for data storage, NAND flash has moved into flash cards, solid-state storage drives (SSDs) and other products. The excitement for NAND continues to mount, as the technology is moving from planar to a 3D structure. In fact, 3D... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Intel has announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete its previously-announced fab in Chandler, Ariz. The fab was announced several years ago, but Intel delayed the plant in 2014. Now, the plant, dubbed Fab 42, is moving forward again. Targeted for 7nm technology, Fab 42 will be completed in 3 to 4 years and will create approximately 3,000 jobs. The announcement was m... » read more

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