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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Chip industry revenue growth; DRAM pricing; casFETs; proteanTecs $50M funding; Brooks sells chip group; new pattern inspector; Mexico’s southern build-out.

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Markets

Worldwide semiconductor industry revenue is expected to grow 17.3% in 2021, compared with 10.8% in 2020, according to a new IDC report. Segment breakdown is as follows:

Semiconductor area 2021 Expected Revenue Growth
Source: IDC
5G 128.0%
Mobile phone 28.5%
Game consoles 34.0%
Smart Home 20.0%
Wearables 21.0%
Automotive 22.8%
Notebook 11.8%
x86 Server 24.6%
Overall: Worldwide 17.3%

“Semiconductor wafer prices increased in 1H21 and IDC expects increases to continue for the rest of 2021 due to material costs and opportunity cost in mature process technologies. Overall, IDC predicts the semiconductor market to reach $600 billion by 2025 – representing a CAGR of 5.3% through the forecast period. This is higher than the typical 3-4% mature growth seen historically,” according to the report.

August billings for North America-based semi equipment manufacturers were $3.65 billion (three-month average basis) SEMI said, which is “5.4% lower than final July 2021 billings of $3.86 billion and 37.6% higher than August 2020 billings of $2.65 billion.”

Rare earth prices are expected to rise amid tensions between the U.S. and China. The materials are essential in a variety of electronic products.

TrendForce predicts DRAM average selling prices will decrease in Q4, and DRAM products that are currently in oversupply may experience price drops of more than 5% compared with Q3. The firm predicted overall DRAM ASPs likely will decline by about 3% to 8% in Q4 compared to Q3.

Funding, M&A

Industry stakeholders logged into a virtual White House meeting this week to lobby to fund the CHIPS Act, which calls for $52 billion in federal investments to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Attendees included senior executives from Intel, General Motors, Ford, Siemens, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and two dozen or so other companies.

At the meeting, the U.S. Commerce Department requested information from “all parts of the supply chain – producers, consumers, and intermediaries – to voluntarily share information about inventories, demand, and delivery dynamics. The goal of the RFI is to understand and quantify where bottlenecks may exist.” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo called on business leaders to respond to the information request in the next 45 days, according to a White House statement.

ProteanTecs announced a $50 million extension to its Growth Equity Round. Investors included Koch Disruptive Technologies, MediaTek, Advantest, Porsche SE, and Allied Group.

Brooks Automation is selling its semiconductor solutions group to Thomas H. Lee Partners for $3.0 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022.

Materion Corp. has entered into an agreement to buy H.C. Starck Solutions’ electronic materials business for $380 million.

Products & Certifications

Synopsys’ PrimeLib Unified Library Characterization and Validation Solution was certified by Samsung Foundry at 5nm, 4nm and 3nm process technologies.

KLA debuted its new laser scanning patterned wafer inspector. The Voyager 1035 uses deep learning algorithms to segregate defects of interest.

Capacity

Mexico is considering building semiconductor manufacturing facilities in its southern states, where water is more available. Additionally, the U.S. and Mexico have established a working group for the development of batteries for electric vehicles.

GaN Systems inked a deal with BMW to provide enough capacity for a number of applications, including on-board chargers, DC/DC converters, and traction inverters.

Intel is breaking ground on two fabs in Arizona. The price tag: $20 billion.

TEL completed construction of its Miyagi Technology Innovation Center.

Greener Electronics

TSMC has committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

CEA-Leti warns of an “unsustainable increase in power use” in a paper presented at September’s European Solid-State Device Research Conference, challenging the industry to “collaboratively tackle the data deluge with greener electronics.”

Academic News

Purdue University’s Elmore Family School of ECE plans to offer a new graduate-level concentration focused on semiconductors and microelectronics for those pursuing the MS ECE degree, starting January 2022. According to the release, “This new MS degree will be the only interdisciplinary MS degree focused entirely on the area of semiconductors and microelectronics offered at any of the top-10 ranked Engineering Colleges in the country.”

In other university news, Purdue is developing a casFET, or cascade field-effect transistor, technology that “does not require band-to-band tunneling. Because of this, semiconductor designers could be able to develop faster-switching and more energy-efficient transistors,” according to Tillmann Kubis, Research Assistant Professor of ECE.

SLAC and Stanford researchers have developed a new technique to get complex semiconductors to assemble themselves. Rather than manipulating materials one layer at time, we’re just throwing the ions into a pot of water and letting the ions assemble the way they want to assemble. We can make grams of this stuff, and we know where the atoms are in the crystals. This level of precision allows me to know what the interfaces between the layers really look like, which is important for determining the material’s electronic structure – how its electrons behave,” said Hemamala Karunadasa, Stanford Professor and leader of the research team.

Semiconductor Engineering’s Latest

And in case you missed last week’s Manufacturing, Packaging & Materials newsletter, check out the special report on System-In-Package, the rush toward silicon carbide, and other next-gen materials being researched for a variety of IC applications. Also included is a DRAM Tech Talk, discussing the impact of shrinking features and increasing density, including variation, thermal effects and aging, as well as effects such as micro-loading and DRAM stacking.

Get a sneak peek at the Technical Paper page Semiconductor Engineering is building. We’re in the process of gathering content for a Technical Papers page for all technologies related to the chip industry. If you have a recent published paper that is relevant to the Semiconductor Engineering audience and would like it to be highlighted on the site, please send a link to linda@semi-mags.com. We do not typically publish entire papers, but we do link to proper sources. This page will not include company-specific white papers.

Upcoming Events

Strategic Materials Conference, Sept. 27-29
eBeam Initiative’s Annual Photomask Technology meeting, Sept. 28
SPIE Photomask Technology & EUV Lithography Digital Forum, Sept. 27- Oct. 1
International Test Conference, Oct. 10 – 15
Find even more chip industry events here.



1 comments

SUHAIMI SELIMAN says:

SSD MEMORY…
THE PHOTON MAY AVOID THE ON STATE COZ IT MAY ATTRACT THE ELECTRON IN THE SUBTRATE TOWARDS IT or NEUTRALISE IT AS BIPOLAR TRANSISTOR THEORY. THE SUPPLY TERMINALS ZEROING THE PN JUNCTION BARRIER POTENTIAL .THUS NO WRITE / SAVE.THE FLOATING GATE or CHARGE TRAP MAY CONSIST ELECTRON FROM THE SUBTRATE.

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