The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Driving FD-SOI; eye tracking; NI rollouts; CapEx record.

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Chipmakers
GlobalFoundries has announced that its 22nm FD-SOI technology platform has been certified to AEC-Q100 Grade 2 for production. As a part of the AEC-Q100 certification, devices must withstand reliability stress tests for an extended period of time and over a wide temperature range in order to achieve Grade 2 certification.

Presto Engineering has joined GlobalFoundries’ ecosystem of partners. Presto’s services include package development, test solutions implementation and production, qualification and supply chain management. As a partner with GlobalFoundries, Presto will provide its post-silicon engineering and production turnkey solutions based on GF’s technologies and services for customers.

Samsung updated its process roadmap, including the disclosure of a 3nm technology. Samsung also announced other processes.

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At this week’s Imec Technology Forum (ITF 2018), Imec and Unisantis announced plans to co-develop a 6T-SRAM cell process flow based on Unisantis’ vertical gate-all-around technology.

Unisantis’ technology is called the Surrounding Gate Transistor (SGT), which is produced using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. The process flow enables the development of an SGT 6T-SRAM cell with areas between 0.0184 and 0.0205-square- micrometer.

Geared for the 5nm node, SGT-based cells enable a 20% to 30% reduced area compared to horizontal gate-all-around FETs. “SGTs have all the advantages of horizontal gate-all-around transistors, allowing a near-perfect electrostatic control of the transistor channel,” said Fujio Masuoka, director and chief technology officer of Unisantis. “But because the channel is a vertical pillar, the concept has the potential for a significant area reduction compared to horizontal nanowire-based transistors.”

Dan Mocuta, director of the Logic Device and Integration department at Imec, said: “In a concerted effort and using the tools and expertise available in house, the Imec and Unisantis engineers were able to design and are well on their way to fabricating these record-scaled SRAM cells.’’

In addition, Imec also rolled out a new wireless eye-tracking technology.

The technology is based on electro-oculography (EOG), which is an ophthalmology technique used to examine eyes and record eye movements. Imec’s EOG technology can be used in AR/VR applications to navigate interfaces and menus quickly by the user’s eye gestures, eliminating the need for cumbersome hand controllers.

It is integrated into a standard pair of eyeglasses. And it utilizes five dry-contact electrodes mounted on a standard pair of eyeglasses.

The technology can improve both augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) experiences. On top of that, the technology is aimed for clinical research on neurodegenerative diseases. Eye movement analysis has been increasingly used in studies on neurological disorders, resulting in scientific evidence that eye movements are affected by neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, even at an early stage.

Imec’s EOG technology (Source: Imec)

Fab tools
In a blog, Applied Materials talks about the role of chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) technology in semiconductor chip production.

Lam Research has been included among the top 10 companies that have made the biggest jump on the 2018 Fortune 500, Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the top 500 U.S. public and private companies, based on total revenue for their most recent fiscal year. Lam moved up 86 places to #354 and is included on the Fortune 500 Biggest Jumps list.

Test
National Instruments (NI) has released its InstrumentStudio software for NI’s PXI modular instruments. InstrumentStudio improves the interactive use model for modular instruments. It makes debugging while running tests more intuitive. It is geared for engineers in the aerospace, automotive and semiconductor sectors.

In addition, NI has announced the release of LabVIEW 2018. Engineers can now speed up their development times with LabVIEW 2018. Users can take advantage of new tools that simplify system integration processes. Meanwhile, NI rolled out the NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS) III, the newest solution for preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers. NI ELVIS III delivers a platform designed to meet the specific needs of university engineering education.

Meanwhile, NI announced its so-called FlexLogger configuration-based data-logging software for validation test. FlexLogger helps automotive test departments capture accurate data to verify system functionality in real-world conditions and comply with strict government regulations.

Market research
Semiconductor capital spending is forecast to exceed $100 billion for the first time in 2018, according to IC Insights. “IC Insights has raised its expectations for 2018 capital spending by six percentage points to a 14% increase,” according to the firm.



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