Materials, Magnetism & Quantum Physics


For the past half-century, chipmakers have been following the same roadmap for improving performance in chips and reducing the cost of chips. That has proven tremendously effective in reducing costs and packing computing into a smaller space, allowing people to carry around what used to be a multi-million-dollar mainframe in their pocket. That approach is beginning to lose momentum. It's ge... » read more

Big Trouble At 3nm


As chipmakers begin to ramp up 10nm/7nm technologies in the market, vendors are also gearing up for the development of a next-generation transistor type at 3nm. Some have announced specific plans at 3nm, but the transition to this node is expected to be a long and bumpy one, filled with a slew of technical and cost challenges. For example, the design cost for a 3nm chip could exceed an eye-p... » read more

New Transistor Types Vs. Packaging


Plans are being formulated for the rollout of multiple types of gate-all-around FETs and literally dozens of advanced packaging options. The question now is which ones will achieve critical mass, because there aren't enough chips in the world to support all of them profitably. FinFETs, which were first introduced by Intel at 22nm, are running out of steam. While they will survive 10/7nm, and... » 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

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Cleanliness is a good thing. In the fab, it's also a very profitable thing. According to a report from Research and Markets, the wafer cleaning systems market will grow more than 6%. The research house notes, however, that the rate of growth is slowing. GlobalFoundries began volume production of its 180nm ultra-high-voltage process for industrial and power applications. The base platform sta... » read more

200mm Fab Crunch


Growing demand for analog, MEMS and RF chips continues to cause acute shortages for both 200mm fab capacity and equipment, and it shows no sign of letting up. Today, 200mm fab capacity is tight with a similar situation projected for the second half of 2018 and perhaps well into 2019. In fact, 2018 will likely represent the third consecutive year that 200mm fab capacity will be tight. The sam... » read more

RF SOI Wars Begin


Several foundries are expanding their fab capacities for RF SOI processes amid huge demand and shortages of this technology for smartphones. A number of foundries are increasing their 200mm RF SOI fab capacities to meet soaring demand. Then, GlobalFoundries, TowerJazz, TSMC and UMC are expanding or bringing up RF SOI processes in 300mm fabs in an apparent race to garner the first wave of RF ... » read more

OSAT Consolidation Continues


Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and Siliconware Precision Industries Ltd. (SPIL) are beginning the process of uniting the two companies, which are among the largest outsourced semiconductor assembly and testing contractors in the world. For now, the companies will continue to operate separately, while their shares are traded under the ASX symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. ASE I... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers As reported, Intel is struggling at 10nm. Intel already has encountered some difficulties, as the chip giant late last year pushed out the volume ramp of its new 10nm process from the second half of 2017 to the first part of 2018, according to analysts. Intel continues to struggle with 10nm, and has delayed the volume ramp again, according to multiple reports. During its earnings... » read more

Design Rule Complexity Rising


Variation, edge placement error, and a variety of other issues at new process geometries are forcing chipmakers and EDA vendors to confront a growing volume of increasingly complex, and sometimes interconnected design rules to ensure chips are manufacturable. The number of rules has increased to the point where it's impossible to manually keep track of all of them, and that has led to new pr... » read more

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