Wanted: More Fab Tool Part Standards


As chipmakers ramp up the next wave of processes and grapple with how to reduce defect levels, they are encountering problems from an unlikely source—components inside of the fab equipment. Defects are unwanted deviations in chips, which impact yields and device performance. Typically, they are caused by an unforeseen glitch during the process flow. But a lesser-known problem involves defe... » read more

Process Window Optimization


David Fried, vice president of computational products at Lam Research, examines increasing process variation and interactions between various types of variation, why different approaches are necessary to improve yield and continue scaling. » read more

Using Better Data To Shorten Test Time


The combination of machine learning plus more sensors embedded into IC manufacturing equipment is creating new possibilities for more targeted testing and faster throughput for fabs and OSATs. The goal is to improve quality and reduce the cost of manufacturing complex chips, where time spent in manufacturing is ballooning at the most advanced nodes. As the number of transistors on a die incr... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Deals Apple will pay $1 billion to buy Intel's smartphone modem unit. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will hire 2,200 Intel employees and acquire Intel's IP and equipment. The deal, expected to close in Q4, puts an end to Intel's attempts to win a piece of the smartphone market. But the chipmaker retains the right to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, including PCs, IoT de... » read more

Node Within A Node


Enough margin exists in manufacturing processes to carve out the equivalent of a full node of scaling, but shrinking that margin will require a collective push across the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain. Margin is built into manufacturing at various stages to ensure that chips are manufacturable and yield sufficiently. It can include everything from variation in how lines are... » read more

Changes In Smart Manufacturing


Tom Salmon, vice president of collaborative technology platforms at SEMI, talks with Semiconductor Engineering about what’s changing in smart manufacturing, the impact of more data and AI, what the ROI looks like for these kinds of investments, and how that affects overall equipment efficiency. While the biggest bang will come from advanced nodes, it also is targeted at advanced packaging. » read more

Factoring Reliability Into Chip Manufacturing


Making chips that can last two decades is possible, even if it's developed at advanced process nodes and is subject to extreme environmental conditions, such as under the hood of a car or on top of a light pole. But doing that at the same price point as chips that go into consumer electronics, which are designed to last two to four years, is a massively complex challenge. Until a couple of y... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Market research In the second quarter of 2019, TrendForce said that the top-5 foundry rankings remained identical with that of last year. But sixth to tenth place showed some changes. Who is up or down in what is a tough business climate? Global fab equipment spending will rebound in 2020, growing 20% to $58.4 billion after dropping 19% to $48.4 billion in 2019, according to SEMI. However, ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Trade wars The trade war between the United States and China is escalating and it is here to stay. Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at think tank Hoover Institution, said the United States is at a crossroads with China. It could define America’s security and the international order for decades to come. Here’s the latest blog on trade tensions between the U.S. and China. “Tensions ... » read more

Controlling Variability And Cost At 3nm And Beyond


Richard Gottscho, executive vice president and CTO of Lam Research, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about how to utilize more data from sensors in manufacturing equipment, the migration to new process nodes, and advancements in ALE and materials that could have a big impact on controlling costs. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: As more sensors are added int... » read more

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