X-ray Inspection In The Semiconductor Industry


With the ever-present pressure to produce more efficient devices with more power, the sizes of the structures and electrical connections in the production of chips have become smaller and smaller. In addition, the sheer number of these connections in a given unit area have also increased in a spectacular way. At the heart of all X-ray inspection, whether it is manual or fully automated metrolog... » read more

Closing The Test And Metrology Gap In 3D-IC Packages


The industry is investing in more precise and productive inspection and testing to enable advanced packages and eventually, 3D ICs. The next generations of aerospace, automotive, smartphone, and wearable tech most likely will be powered by multiple layers of intricately connected silicon, a stark departure from the planar landscapes of traditional integrated circuits. These 3D-ICs, compos... » read more

New Insights Into IC Process Defectivity


Finding critical defects in manufacturing is becoming more difficult due to tighter design margins, new processes, and shorter process windows. Process marginality and parametric outliers used to be problematic at each new node, but now they are persistent problems at several nodes and in advanced packaging, where there may be a mix of different technologies. In addition, there are more proc... » read more

Streamlining Failure Analysis Of Chips


Experts at the Table: Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss how increasing complexity in semiconductor and packaging technology is driving shifts in failure analysis methods, with Frank Chen, director of applications and product management at Bruker Nano Surfaces & Metrology; Mike McIntyre, director of product management in the Enterprise Business Unit at Onto Innovation; Kamran Hak... » read more

Manual X-ray Inspection


Increased density in advanced node chips and advanced packaging offers a way to greatly improve performance and reduce power, but it also makes it harder to inspect these devices for real and latent defects. Higher density can lead to scattering of light, and heterogeneous integration in a package means it’s not always possible to see through all materials equally. Chris Rand, product line ma... » read more

SiC Growth For EVs Is Stressing Manufacturing


The electrification of vehicles is fueling demand for silicon carbide power ICs, but it also is creating challenges in finding and identifying defects in those chips. Coinciding with this is a growing awareness about just how immature SiC technology is and how much work still needs to be done — and how quickly that has to happen. Automakers are pushing heavily into electric vehicles, and t... » read more

Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test


Applied Materials sued its Chinese-owned rival, Mattson, over an alleged 14-month effort to steal valuable trade secrets, reports Bloomberg. In court filing, Applied Materials claimed that Mattson engaged in a spree of employee-poaching and covertly transferring semiconductor equipment designs. Global semiconductor materials revenue grew 8.9% to $72.7 billion in 2022, surpassing the previous... » read more

3D Structures Challenge Wire Bond Inspection


Adding more layers in packages is making it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to inspect wire bonds that are deep within the different layers. Wire bonds may seem like old technology, but it remains the bonding approach of choice for a broad swath of applications. This is particularly evident in automotive, industrial, and many consumer applications, where the majority of chips are not de... » read more

Metrology Strategies For 2nm Processes


Metrology and wafer inspection processes are changing to keep up with evolving and new device applications. While fab floors still have plenty of OCD tools, ellipsometers, and CD-SEMs, new systems are taking on the increasingly 3D nature of structures and the new materials they incorporate. For instance, processes like hybrid bonding, 3D NAND flash devices, and nanosheet FETs are pushing the bo... » read more

Standards: The Next Step For Silicon Photonics


Testing silicon photonics is becoming more critical and more complicated as the technology is used in new applications ranging from medicine to cryptography, lidar, and quantum computing, but how to do that in a way that is both consistent and predictable is still unresolved. For the past three decades, photonics largely has been an enabler for high-speed communications, a lucrative market t... » read more

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