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Defect Reduction At 7/5nm


Darin Collins, director of metrology at Brewer Science, talks about the cause of defects at advanced nodes and how material purity increasingly plays a role in overall quality and yield. » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Applied Materials has launched a suite of products that will enable cobalt metallization schemes for contacts and interconnects in chips at advanced nodes. The products from Applied enable a complete cobalt fill process. The tools include CMP, CVD, PVD and RTP systems. At advanced nodes, cobalt promises to reduce unwanted resistance in the critical parts of a chip. Cobalt is bein... » read more

IIoT And Predictive Maintenance


It’s every production line manager’s nightmare—some machinery breaks down, stopping production on the factory floor. In a fab, if just one piece of semiconductor manufacturing equipment goes down and is out of service for hours, wafer fabrication can grind to a halt. Such shutdowns are expensive, especially if the plant is operating on a 24-hour schedule to meet demand. One selling poi... » read more

Variation Spreads At 10/7nm


Variation between different manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly troublesome as chipmakers push to 10/7nm and beyond. Process variation is a well-known phenomenon at advanced nodes. But some of that is actually due to variations in equipment—sometimes the exact same model from the same vendor. Normally this would fall well below the radar of the semiconductor industry. But as t... » read more

Using Data To Improve Yield


Semiconductor manufacturers are always looking for an edge to improve operating efficiency and to increase yields on chip lots. For some, the answers include big data analytics, as well as technology to move that data around more quickly. Chipmakers, board assemblers, and related businesses are turning to the Internet of Things, especially [getkc id="78" kc_name="Industrial IoT"] technology... » read more

Smart Manufacturing Gains Momentum


Smart manufacturing is gaining traction as a way of addressing increased market fragmentation while still leveraging economies of scale. The goal is to add a level of flexibility into manufacturing processes that until recently was considered impossible. Although the approach makes sense in theory, real-world implementation is proving far from consistent. Sometimes referred to as Industr... » read more

Fab Tool Biz Faces Challenges In 2017


After experiencing a gradual recovery and positive growth in 2016, the semiconductor equipment industry sees a mixed picture as well as some uncertainty in 2017. In the near term, though, business is robust. Several chipmakers started to place a sizeable number of fab tool orders in the latter part of 2016, particularly in three areas—3D NAND, logic and foundry. Now, after buying the in... » read more

Advanced Packaging Requires Better Yield


Whether Moore's Laws truly ends, or whether the semiconductor industry reaches into the Angstrom world after 3nm—the semiconductor industry dislikes fractions—advanced packaging increasingly will dominate semiconductor designs. Apple already is on board with its iPhone 7, using TSMC's fan-out approach. And all of the major foundries and OSATs are lining up with a long list of capabilitie... » read more

Politics And (Low) Power


This week the entire semiconductor market woke up with a severe political hangover. Aside from the initial shock of the election results themselves, the winning platform of "America First" could have far-reaching implications for an industry that has spent decades optimizing a global supply chain the way it has finely tuned other processes to reduce the cost per transistor. There are many un... » read more

Grappling With Manufacturing Data


As complexity goes up with each new process node, so does the amount of data that is generated, from initial GDSII to photomasks, manufacturing, yield and post-silicon validation. But what happens to that data, and what gets shared, remain a point of contention among companies across the semiconductor ecosystem. The problem is that to speed up the entire design through manufacturing process,... » read more

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