Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers TSMC posted mixed results for the second quarter. It also presented a mixed outlook for the third quarter, according to various reports. TSMC and Samsung are in the midst of a foundry battle at 7nm and 5nm. “TSMC raised its 2019 capex outlook to over $11B, up from prior guidance of $10B-$11B. The increased capex is to support 5nm and 7nm ramps, with accelerated 5G investment a... » read more

China’s Latest Goal—More DRAMs


China is once again making a concerted effort to get its domestic DRAM industry off the ground. Past efforts have fallen short or failed. This time around, it’s unclear if China will succeed, but the industry should pay close attention here. So why would China want to play a bigger role in the tough and competitive DRAM business? For one thing, the U.S. and China are in the midst of a t... » read more

200mm Cools Off, But Not For Long


After years of acute shortages, 200mm fab capacity is finally loosening up, but the supply/demand picture could soon change with several challenges on the horizon. 200mm fabs are older facilities with more mature processes, although they still churn out a multitude of today’s critical chips, such as analog, MEMS, RF and others. From 2016 to 2018, booming demand for these and other chips ca... » read more

Challenges Grow For 5G Packages And Modules


The shift to 5G wireless networks is driving a need for new IC packages and modules in smartphones and other systems, but this move is turning out to be harder than it looks. For one thing, the IC packages and RF modules for 5G phones are more complex and expensive than today's devices, and that gap will grow significantly in the second phase of 5G. In addition, 5G devices will require an as... » read more

Applied Buys Kokusai For $2.2B


Applied Materials has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kokusai Electric for $2.2 billion in cash from investment firm KKR. For years, Kokusai Electric was a subsidiary of Hitachi. It sells epitaxial, thermal processing and other equipment. Then, as part of a complex business deal, KKR in 2017 acquired the semiconductor equipment business of Hitachi Kokusai Electric from Hitachi. ... » read more

5nm Vs. 3nm


Foundry vendors are readying the next wave of advanced processes, but their customers will face a myriad of confusing options—including whether to develop chips at 5nm, wait until 3nm, or opt for something in between. The path to 5nm is well-defined compared with 3nm. After that, the landscape becomes more convoluted because foundries are adding half-node processes to the mix, such as 6nm ... » read more

What’s Next In Advanced Packaging


Packaging houses are readying the next wave of advanced IC packages, hoping to gain a bigger foothold in the race to develop next-generation chip designs. At a recent event, ASE, Leti/STMicroelectronics, TSMC and others described some of their new and advanced IC packaging technologies, which involve various product categories, such as 2.5D, 3D and fan-out. Some new packaging technologies ar... » read more

Sidestepping Moore’s Law


Calvin Cheung, vice president of engineering at ASE, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about advanced packaging, the challenges involved with the technology, and the implications for Moore’s Law. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What are some of the big issues with IC packaging today? Cheung: Moore’s Law is slowing down, but transistor scaling will co... » read more

Waiting For Chiplet Interfaces


There aren't many success stories related to chiplets today for a very simple reason—there are few standard interfaces defined for how to connect them. In fact, the only way to use them is to control both sides of the interface with a proprietary interface and protocol. The one exception is the definition of HBM2, which enables large quantities of third-party DRAM to be connected to a logi... » read more

CEO Outlook: It Gets Much Harder From Here


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss what's changing across the semiconductor industry with Wally Rhines, CEO emeritus at Mentor, a Siemens Business; Jack Harding, president and CEO of eSilicon; John Kibarian, president and CEO of PDF Solutions; and John Chong, vice president of product and business development for Kionix. What follows are excerpts of that discussion, which was held in... » read more

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