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Legacy Tools, New Tricks: Optical 3D Inspection


Stacking chips is making it far more difficult to find existing and latent defects, and to check for things like for things like die shift, leftover particles from other processes, co-planarity of bumps, and adhesion of different materials such as dielectrics. There are several main problems: Not everything is visible from a single angle, particularly when vertical structures are used; ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Some funding details are now available for the CHIPS Act in the U.S. The Biden Administration plans to spend the money in the following ways: $28 billion to establish domestic production of leading-edge logic and memory chips through grants, subsidized loans or loan guarantees; $10 billion to increase production of current-generation semiconductors and chips, and $11 billion for rese... » 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

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers, OEMs UMC plans to build a new fab next to its existing 300mm fab in Singapore. The new fab, called Fab12i P3, will manufacture wafers based on UMC’s 22nm/28nm processes. The planned investment for this project will be $5 billion. The first phase of this greenfield fab will have a monthly capacity of 30,000 wafers with production expected to commence in late 2024. To account fo... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tools A fire broke out this week within ASML’s factory in Berlin, Germany. The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured during this incident. The factory manufactures components for ASML’s lithography systems, including wafer tables and clamps, reticle chucks and mirror blocks. The fire took place on Jan. 3. On Jan. 7, ASML provided an update. "The manufacturing of DUV c... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers China’s Tsinghua Unigroup is in trouble. The group is the parent company of China’s YMTC, a 3D NAND supplier, and other chip ventures. It is close to moving into bankruptcy proceedings. Now, a consortium led by Alibaba has emerged as the frontrunner to take over Tsinghua Unigroup, according to a report from Bloomberg. That deal would keep the company afloat, the report said. ... » read more

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

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers Select foundries are beginning to ramp up their new 5nm processes with 3nm in R&D. There are already signs that the foundries have pushed out their 3nm production schedules. So, expect 7nm and 5nm to become long-running nodes. At 3nm, Samsung and TSMC are going in different directions. Samsung is developing a gate-all-around (GAA) technology called nanosheet FETs. TSMC will e... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Bloomberg has reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire Qualcomm for $70 per share or about $90 billion. Qualcomm is attempting to acquire NXP, but Broadcom has its sights on Qualcomm, not NXP. “We think AVGO would want to acquire QCOM assets not NXP,” said Amit Daryanani, an analyst with RBC. Samsung continues to reshuffle its management amid a plethora of changes at t... » read more

Fab Issues At 7nm And 5nm


The race toward the 7nm logic node officially kicked off in July, when IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung jointly rolled out what the companies claim are the industry’s first 7nm test chips with functional transistors. They're not alone, of course. Intel and TSMC also are racing separately to develop 7nm technology. And in the R&D labs, chipmakers also are working on technologies f... » read more

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