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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Massive fab construction across the U.S.; new construction in India; Chinese investment restrictions.

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President Biden signed an executive order on Sept. 15, limiting foreign investments in U.S. technology by “competitor or adversarial nations” that are deemed a threat to national security. In the past, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) largely limited its actions to the sale of U.S. companies. The new directive expands that to include investments involving “U.S. supply chains that may have national security implications, including those outside of the defense industrial base,” and those that could affect domestic technological leadership in areas such as microelectronics, AI, biotech, bio-manufacturing, quantum computing, advanced clean energy, and climate adaptation technologies.

Fab construction explodes

Groundbreaking and investments continue at a rapid pace following the passage of the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act.

On Sept. 12, Micron broke ground on its fab in Boise, Idaho, with the first DRAM wafer starts slated for 2025.

That same day, ASML held a ceremony to mark the new $200 million expansion of its existing Wilton, Conn., facility.

At the groundbreaking of Intel’s “Silicon Heartland” fab in Ohio on Sept. 9, President Biden delivered remarks about semiconductor industry accomplishments due to the CHIPS and Science Act. He cited Intel, Micron, GlobalFoundries, Qualcomm, and Wolfspeed investments by name.

Also on Sept. 9, Wolfspeed announced it will build a new, multi-billion-dollar materials manufacturing facility in Chatham County, N.C.

Taiwan’s GlobalWafers expects to start construction in November of its new $5 billion plant in Texas. The fab will produce 300mm wafers. It will be the first silicon wafer facility to be built in the United States in more than two decades, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Around the globe

Foxconn and Vedanta will invest $19.5 billion in one of the first chipmaking factories in India. “India’s own Silicon Valley is a step closer now,” said Anil Agarwal, Vedanta’s chairman.

Also in India, Lam Research opened a Center for Engineering in Bengaluru. The new lab will focus on R&D, engineering, and testing of wafer fabrication hardware and software for next-generation DRAM, NAND, and logic technologies.

Shanghai is styling itself as China’s Semiconductor Highland, with the city now accounting for one quarter of the China’s semiconductor value output and employing 40% of the country’s chip talent.

TEL released an integrated stakeholder report, which outlines its medium- to long-term profit targets and corporate value enhancement goals. It reported ¥2T revenues in fiscal 2022 with a target of ¥3T by 2027. TEL’’s sustainable development goals include a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions by fiscal 2031 versus 2019.

UMC and Avalanche Technology announced the immediate availability of a new high-reliability persistent SRAM (P-SRAM), a nonvolatile memory devices that will be fabricated using UMC’s 22nm process technology.

SkyWater will manufacture chips that tech startups can use to develop new nanotechnology and semiconductor devices through a cooperative R&D agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Google.

Equipment and materials

Advantest rolled out the Advantest ACS Solution Store, an online platform for access to ACS real-time data infrastructure solutions and software applications.

TSMC and Nvidia are developing silicon photonics technology called COUPE (compact universal photonic engine), which will combine multiple GPUs.

Apple aims to be the first company to use an updated version of TSMC’s 3nm technology next year, for some of its iPhones and Mac computers, according to one report.

Henkel acquired the Thermal Management Materials business of Nanoramic (formerly FastCAP Systems), which develops thermal interface materials (TIMs) based on carbon nanotubes. In addition, Henkel announced the commercialization of its latest semiconductor-grade capillary underfill (CUF) formulation for advanced packaging applications. The material, Loctite EccobondUF 9000AG, enables advanced flip-chip assembly.

Market research

Techcet expects total 2022 IC electroplating revenues to grow 8.1% to reach $1,019 million by year end, with a projected CAGR of 7.2% through 2026. “A key growth driver for the electroplating market includes increases in interconnect layers in next generation advanced logic device nodes,” states Karey Holland, Techcet’s chief strategist.

Chinese investment is on pace to reach about $880 million this year, the second-highest level in at least a dozen years, according Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank.  Chinese companies represented about 75% of those covered in this latest chip industry startup funding report.

Further Reading

Check out articles in the latest Test, Measurement & Analytics newsletter and Manufacturing, Packaging & Materials newsletter for these highlights and more:

o Making 5G More Reliable
o Improving Redistribution Layers For Fan-Out Packages And SiPs
o The High Price of Smaller Features
o Enabling Test Strategies For 2.5D, 3D Stacked ICs
o The Drive Toward More Predictive Maintenance
o How to Compare Chips

Upcoming Events:

o SPIE Photonics Industry Summit, Sept. 21 (Washington, D.C.)
o SPIE Photomask Technology/Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography, Sept. 25 – 29 (Monterey, CA)
o International Test Conference, Sept. 25 – 30 (Anaheim, CA)
o 55th International Symposium on Microelectronics, Oct. 3 – 6 (Boston, MA)
o Semicon China, Oct. 5-7 (Shanghai, China)
o SEMI Pacific Northwest Forum, Nov. 3 (Beaverton, OR)



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