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The Quest For Curvilinear Photomasks


The semiconductor industry is making noticeable progress on the development of advanced curvilinear photomasks, a technology that has broad implications for chip designs at the most advanced nodes and the ability to manufacture those chips faster and cheaper. The question now is when will this technology move beyond its niche-oriented status and ramp up into high-volume manufacturing. For ye... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Government policy At one point, there was a school of thought that the Biden administration would relax the current tariffs and export controls in regards to China. So far, the Biden administration hasn’t changed any of the previous policies and is doubling down on those efforts. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) this week added seven Chinese supercomput... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers Intel has re-entered the foundry business after a failed attempt several years ago. In its new efforts, Intel is establishing a new standalone business unit called Intel Foundry Services. As part of those efforts, Intel has announced plans to build two new fabs in Arizona. This build-out represents an investment of approximately $20 billion. “INTC hosted a strategy update with ... » read more

EUV Pellicles Finally Ready


After a period of delays, EUV pellicles are emerging and becoming a requirement in high-volume production of critical chips. At the same time, the pellicle landscape for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is changing. ASML, the sole supplier of EUV pellicles, is transferring the assembly and distribution of these products to Mitsui. Others are also developing pellicles for EUV, a next-gen... » read more

Chasing After Carbon Nanotube FETs


Carbon nanotube transistors are finally making progress for potential use in advanced logic chips after nearly a quarter century in R&D. The question now is whether they will move out of the lab and into the fab. Several government agencies, companies, foundries, and universities over the years have been developing, and are now making advancements with carbon nanotube field-effect transi... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Government policy For the last four years, the U.S. and China have been embroiled in a trade war, especially on the technology front. The U.S. has implemented a number of export control measures and tariffs in the arena. But there might be a thawing in the tense relationship between the two superpowers. “Reports surfaced Thursday indicating the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA)... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: March 8


Two-beam EUV lithography At the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography conference, Nikon gave a presentation on a two-beam extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology. Still in the conceptual phase, Nikon’s so-called EUV Projection Optical Wafer Exposure Ruling Machine, or EUV Power Machine, is designed for the 1nm node or so. The proposed system has a minimum resolution of 10nm for lines ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs A severe winter storm has hit many parts of the United States, including Texas. In Austin, utility providers are prioritizing service to residential areas. As a result, electricity and natural gas providers have temporarily suspended service to Austin’s semiconductor manufacturers, including Samsung and NXP. "Due to the recent blackouts in Texas, Samsung Austin Semicon... » read more

Breaking The 2nm Barrier


Chipmakers continue to make advancements with transistor technologies at the latest process nodes, but the interconnects within these structures are struggling to keep pace. The chip industry is working on several technologies to solve the interconnect bottleneck, but many of those solutions are still in R&D and may not appear for some time — possibly not until 2nm, which is expected t... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers The U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and several chip executives have sent a joint letter to President Biden, urging the administration to include substantial funding for semiconductor manufacturing and research in the U.S. As reported, the share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity in the U.S. has decreased from 37% in 1990 to 12% today. “Semiconductors pow... » read more

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