Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

IEDM breakthroughs, TSMC in Arizona, Apple and China, KLA’s X-ray metrology


The more than 1,400 attendees at this week’s IEDM, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the transistor, were clearly focused on making the next 75 years of semiconductors even more remarkable than the last. Intel, Samsung, TSMC, STMicroelectronics, GlobalFoundries and imec announced breakthrough devices, materials, and even integration approaches. These included:

  • Intel showcased advancements in 3D packaging integration, demonstrating 3µm copper-copper hybrid bonds, far surpassing the performance of former 10µm-pitch bonds. Intel also demonstrated 2D GAA transistors that use a double gate structure to achieve near-ideal switching with low leakage. The company’s GaN on silicon (300mm) integration was used for with GaN nFET fabrication with record cutoff frequency of 680GHz.
  • Samsung developed what it claims is the smallest, most energy efficient nonvolatile memory, which requires 14mW for reading and 27mW for writing at a 54MB/sec data rate with a small size (30 mm2) and unlimited endurance. The magnetic tunnel junction device is based on a 14nm finFET architecture.
  • TSMC successfully integrated what it is claims is the first GAA (gate-all-around) MoS2 nFET, which features high Ion (410 µA/µm) at 40nm gate length using a 0.7nm channel.
  • Imec demonstrated a scalable, CMOS-compatible ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) with good initial and remnant polarization of 30 µC/cm² (1.8 MV/cm applied field) and endurance (1011 cycles). It features a 1nm TiO2 seed layer, lanthanum doped hafnium zirconate (La: HZO) ferroelectric and Nb2O5 cap layer.
  • CEA-Leti reported development of the first end-to-end, gesture-recognition solution for ultralow power implementation on silicon with an estimated always-on total power consumption of 0.41 μJ/frame. This breakthrough used low-power piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic transducers (pMUTs) to emit and sense ultrasonic signals.

OpenLight announced the general availability of the OpenLight PDK, which is ready to be used with the Synopsys photonic IC design solution. It includes indium phosphide (InP) active optical elements on-chip that can be directly used by Synopsys OptoCompiler and simulated with the Synopsys OptSim photonic simulator.

3D-Micromac AG entered into a joint-development partnership with SCHOTT to improve the processing performance of SCHOTT RealView high refractive index wafers used in manufacturing waveguides for next-generation augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets.

NeuReality raised $35 million in a Series A funding round led by Samsung Ventures, Cardumen Capital, Varana Capital, OurCrowd and XT Hi-Tech with participation from SK Hynix, Cleveland Avenue, Korean Investment Partners, StoneBridge, and Glory Ventures to bring AI accelerator chips to market.

TSMC is increasing its investment in Arizona, to $40 billion to construct two fabs, according to NikkeiAsia. Among the plant’s customers will be Apple, AMD, and Nvidia. Speaking at the Arizona installation ceremony, President Biden said, “American manufacturing is back, folks.”

Johannes Keppler, head of U.S. Field Operations for ASML, posted to LinkedIn that ASML is opening a new office in Phoenix to support TSMC’s new Arizona fab.

Imec and Rapidus, a newly founded semiconductor company in Japan, agreed to a long term collaboration. Rapidus plans to mass-produce chips with state-of-the-art 2nm technology in Japan in the latter half of this decade, with R&D support from imec. “International collaboration is crucial for Rapidus to achieve our planned goal for mass-production of 2-nanometer technology, and imec is an essential partner for such collaboration,” said Rapidus president Atsuyoshi Koike. “I am very excited to think that the day is approaching when Japan can once again play an active role in the semiconductor arena and contribute to the well-being of humanity by taking advantage of this long-desired opportunity. 

Apple supplier Foxconn says it is  restoring production capacity at its campus in central China, among other details in its monthly revenue report. Meanwhile, Apple has accelerated plans to shift some of its production outside China. It is telling suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly India and Vietnam, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Metrology & Test

KLA announced Axion T2000, an X-ray metrology system for advanced memory chip manufacturers. “Using transmissive X-ray technology, the Axion T2000 quickly generates a complete 3D visualization of high aspect ratio structures on the order of 100:1 or greater,” said Ahmad Khan, president of the Semiconductor Process Control business unit at KLA. “From the top to the very bottom of these extreme vertical features, Axion data facilitates tight control of critical parameters, such as width, shape, and tilt. Moreover, by measuring inline, the Axion reduces the cycle time required to solve critical yield and reliability issues during high volume production of memory chips.”

Advantest published a new IR Technical Briefing entitled, “Test needs and Solutions in the High-End SoC Semiconductor Market.”

Market Research

Global Top 10 foundries’ total revenue grew by 6% QoQ for Q3 2022, but the foundry industry’s revenue performance will enter a correction period in Q4, according to TrendForce. The top five foundries were led by TSMC, followed by Samsung, UMC, GlobalFoundries, and SMIC, with a collective global market share (in revenue terms) of 89.6%. TSMC saw its revenue rise by 11.1% QoQ to US$20.16 billion, and the corresponding market share expanded to 56.1%. The growth was mainly attributed to the ≤7nm nodes, whose share in the foundry’s revenue had kept climbing, reaching 54% in the third quarter.

Further reading

Check out our latest Test, Measurement & Analytics Newsletter for these highlights and more:

Read a special report on semiconductor investments, as well as imec’s prospects for microfluidics, in our Manufacturing, Packaging & Materials newsletter:

Upcoming events:

    • RISC-V Summit, Dec. 13-14 (San Jose, CA)
    • Semicon Japan, Dec. 14-16 (Tokyo)
    • Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS 2023), Jan. 8-11, 2023 (Half Moon Bay, CA)
    • First Annual Chiplet Summit, Jan. 24-26, 2023 (San Jose, CA)
    • SPIE Photonics West, Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2023 (San Francisco, CA)



Aiv says:

3nm copper-copper hybrid bonds need to be 3mu copper-copper hybrid bonds

Laura Peters says:

That’s right. We corrected it. Thank you.

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