Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers In its latest move to cut costs and focus on its core business, GlobalFoundries (GF) has announced plans to jettison its U.S. photomask operations in Burlington, Vt., but the foundry vendor will maintain a stake in its joint venture mask unit. Under the plan, Toppan Photomasks will acquire certain assets of GF’s Burlington photomask facility. “GF is transferring its mask tool... » read more

Advanced Patterning Techniques For 3D NAND Devices


By Yu De Chen and Jacky Huang Driven by Moore’s law, memory and logic semiconductor manufacturers pursue higher transistor density to improve product cost and performance [1]. In NAND Flash technologies, this has led to the market dominance of 3D structures instead of 2D planar devices. Device density can be linearly increased by increasing stack layer counts in a 3D NAND device [2]. At th... » read more

SiC Demand Growing Faster Than Supply


The silicon carbide (SiC) industry is in the midst of a major expansion campaign, but suppliers are struggling to meet potential demand for SiC power devices and wafers in the market. In just one example of the expansion efforts, Cree plans to invest up to $1 billion to increase its SiC fab and wafer capacities. As part of the plan, Cree is developing the world’s first 200mm (8-inch) SiC f... » read more

3D NAND Race Faces Huge Tech And Cost Challenges


Amid the ongoing memory downturn, 3D NAND suppliers continue to race each other to the next technology generations with several challenges and a possible shakeout ahead. Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix and the Toshiba-Western Digital duo are developing 3D NAND products at the next nodes on the roadmap, but the status of two others, Intel and China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), is les... » read more

Electric Cars Gain Traction, But Challenges Remain


Battery-powered electric vehicles are expected to reach a milestone in terms of shipments in 2019, but the technology faces several significant hurdles to gain wider adoption in the market. Limited driving range, high costs, battery issues, and a spotty charging infrastructure are the main challenges for battery electric vehicles (BEVs). In addition, there are issues with various power semic... » read more

3D NAND Metrology Challenges Growing


3D NAND vendors face several challenges to scale their devices to the next level, but one manufacturing technology stands out as much more difficult at each turn—metrology. Metrology, the art of measuring and characterizing structures, is used to pinpoint problems and ensure yields for all chip types. In the case of 3D NAND, the metrology tools are becoming more expensive at each iteration... » read more

3D NAND Flash Wars Begin


3D NAND suppliers are gearing up for a new battle amid a period of price and competitive pressures, racing each other to the next technology generations. Competition is intensifying as a new player enters the 3D NAND market—China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC). Backed by billions of dollars in funding from the Chinese government, YMTC recently introduced its first 3D NAND techn... » read more

Progress And Chaos On Road To Autonomy


Progress in the development of fully autonomous vehicles is incremental and slow, but not for lack of effort. Research and development in self-driving cars is under way all around the globe, from the biggest automotive manufacturers and their Tier 1 suppliers to companies not traditionally involved in the automotive industry. Add to that fleets of startups working on sensor technologies and ... » read more

Nodes Vs. Nodelets


Foundries are flooding the market with new nodes and different process options at existing nodes, spreading confusion and creating a variety of challenges for chipmakers. There are full-node processes, such as 10nm and 7nm, with 5nm and 3nm in R&D. But there also is an increasing number of half-nodes or "node-lets" being introduced, including 12nm, 11nm, 8nm, 6nm and 4nm. Node-lets ar... » read more

Wirebond Technology Rolls On


Several years ago, many predicted the demise of an older interconnect packaging technology called wire bonding, prompting the need for more advanced packaging types. Those predictions were wrong. The semiconductor industry today uses several advanced packaging types, but wire bonding has been reinvented over the years and remains the workhorse in packaging. For example, Advanced Semiconducto... » read more

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