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Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test


Global semiconductor sales hit $45.5 billion during the month of November 2022, according to SIA’s January announcement. Year-over-year sales increased in November in the Americas (5.2%), Europe (4.5%), and Japan (1.2%), but decreased in Asia Pacific/rest of world (-13.9%) and China (-21.2%). Month-to-month sales were down across all regions. The United States, Mexico and Canada vowed to... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


The head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jennifer Homendy, voiced concern about the impact of heavier electric vehicles (EVs) will have in crashes with smaller cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs). Homendy compared the weight of the GMC Hummer and the Ford F-150’s EV to ICE version and found the EVs are 2,000 to 6,000 pounds heavier. The extra weight in EVs is... » read more

Screening For Silent Data Errors


Engineers are beginning to understand the causes of silent data errors (SDEs) and the data center failures they cause, both of which can be reduced by increasing test coverage and boosting inspection on critical layers. Silent data errors are so named because if engineers don’t look for them, then they don’t know they exist. Unlike other kinds of faulty behaviors, these errors also can c... » read more

Systematic Yield Issues Now Top Priority At Advanced Nodes


Systematic yield issues are supplanting random defects as the dominant concern in semiconductor manufacturing at the most advanced process nodes, requiring more time, effort, and cost to achieve sufficient yield. Yield is the ultimate hush hush topic in semiconductor manufacturing, but it's also the most critical because it determines how many chips can be profitably sold. "At older nodes, b... » read more

Adopting Predictive Maintenance On Fab Tools


Predictive maintenance, based on more and better sensor data from semiconductor manufacturing equipment, can reduce downtime in the fab and ultimately cut costs compared with regularly scheduled maintenance. But implementing this approach is non-trivial, and it can be disruptive to well-honed processes and flows. Not performing maintenance quickly enough can result in damage to wafers or the... » read more

Next Steps For Improving Yield


Chipmakers are ramping new tools and methodologies to achieve sufficient yield faster, despite smaller device dimensions, a growing number of systematic defects, immense data volumes, and massive competitive pressure. Whether a 3nm process is ramping, or a 28nm process is being tuned, the focus is on reducing defectivity. The challenge is to rapidly identify indicators that can improve yield... » read more

Chip Industry Earnings: A Mixed Bag


Editor's Note: Updated the week of Oct. 31 and Nov. 7 for additional earnings releases. Although most companies reported revenue growth, this latest round of chip industry earnings releases reflected a few major themes: Lower future quarter guidance to varying degrees, due to the recent U.S. export restrictions related to China; Negative impact of the inflationary environment on corn... » read more

Why Silent Data Errors Are So Hard To Find


Cloud service providers have traced the source of silent data errors to defects in CPUs — as many as 1,000 parts per million — which produce faulty results only occasionally and under certain micro-architectural conditions. That makes them extremely hard to find. Silent data errors (SDEs) are random defects produced in manufacturing, not a design bug or software error. Those defects gene... » read more

Enabling Test Strategies For 2.5D, 3D Stacked ICs


Improved testability, coupled with more tests at more insertion points, are emerging as key strategies for creating reliable, heterogeneous 2.5D and 3D designs with sufficient yield.  Many changes need to fall into place to make side-by-side 2.5D and 3D stacking approaches cost-effective, particularly for companies looking to integrate chiplets from different vendors. Today, nearly all of t... » 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

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