Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Global IC slump deepens, but startup money keeps flowing; US/China chip war expands; AI/ML implemented on MCU; ferroelectric HEMT; Quantum computing developments; DARPA seeks input on quantum/logic computers.


Global semiconductor sales decreased 5.2% month-to-month in January, according to a new report by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). For the year, worldwide chip sales are down 18.5%, with the largest drop in sales by China at 31.6%, followed by the Asia Pacific region at 19.5%, and the Americas at 12.4%.

Despite the contraction, companies are increasing investments in manufacturing facilities, equipment, and personnel in anticipation of renewed global growth. The global semiconductor processing equipment market, for example, is projected to reach $122.8 billion by 2030, up from $81.9 billion last year, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts. In addition, the discrete semiconductor market is expected to grow to $41.9 billion by 2032, a 6% CAGR, according to a new market forecast by Brainy Insights.

TrendForce predicts the value of the SiC market in 2023 will surpass $2.2 billion, a 41.4% rise in year-over-year growth.

The market for semiconductor lithography materials is forecast to dip slightly in 2023, declining 2%, which is consistent with a downward trends in the overall semiconductor market according to Techcet’s most recent report. The firm forecasts a resumption of growth, reaching 9.4% in 2024.

In anticipation of expected growth, investors continue to pour money into the chip industry, with 132 companies raising more than $4.5 billion in February for expansions and new facilities. TSMC announced plans to recruit 6,000 engineers in 2023. Renesas and  Tata Consultancy Services will open a joint innovation center in Bengaluru and Hyderabad to develop next-generation semiconductors. And Draper will be opening a new office in Odon, Indiana, to serve customers in the defense sector with a focus on microelectronics, strategic weapons, hypersonic weapons, and technology protection.

Tower Semiconductor and Teramount announced a collaboration to develop scalable silicon photonics packaging solutions that allow the connection of a high number of optical fibers to silicon chips for high-bandwidth datacom and telecom applications.

The U.S.-China chip rivalry is spilling over into other nations. Shoring up its influence on China’s neighbors, the U.S. Commerce Dept. will sign a memorandum of understanding with India to map the semiconductor supply chain together and identify opportunities for joint ventures and technology partnerships, Reuters reported. The Dutch government also has announced its own restrictions on exports of semiconductor technology to China following the United States’ lead on trade sanctions. The sanctions continue to impact China’s technology sector, with imports slumping 27% in the first two months of 2023.

For its part, China continues to invest heavily in domestic chip manufacturing to counter U.S.-led restrictions. Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) received an injection of 49 billion yuan ($7 billion) from state-backed investors, according to the South China Morning Post, as well as 12.9 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) from the state-owned National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, Bloomberg reported.

In other news reported by The Financial Times, China refuses to process the paperwork confirming the transfer of Arm China to a new SoftBank Vision Fund entity as Arm seeks to separate itself from China’s chip sector. Such paperwork typically takes 10 days to complete. “China does not want to lose Arm at this juncture,” said a Chinese official. “The chip war between the U.S. and China continues to escalate, and Arm is a must-have ally for China’s chip industry.”


Meanwhile, NI acquired SET GmbH, a German company, to accelerate development of power semiconductor reliability testing and aerospace and defense test systems.

Coherent Logix received an $85 million investment from Atlas Credit Partners for the development of high-performance, low power systems-on-chip (SoCs) and advanced development tools for the embedded systems market.


proteanTecs joined the Intel Foundry Services (IFS) Accelerator IP Alliance.

PDF Solutions and Voltaic announced a collaboration to work with battery manufacturers to rapidly improve yield, reduce cost, and accelerate new factory ramp-ups. By combining PDF Solutions’ Exensio Process Control and Manufacturing Analytics platform with Voltaiq’s Enterprise Battery Intelligence platform, customers can fully characterize battery quality earlier in the production process and improve related manufacturing parameters.

DARPA is seeking input on advanced hybrid quantum/classical computer systems through its Advanced Research Concept (ARC) project called Imagining Practical Applications for a Quantum Tomorrow (IMPAQT).


A new type of reconfigurable ferroelectric high-electron mobility transistor (HEMT) has been demonstrated by researchers at The University of Michigan that could shrink communications devices on smartphones with lower energy consumption and higher gain.

Researchers at UC Irvine and other universities have developed a novel framework for mapping neural networks onto heterogenous MPSoCs.

In quantum computing developments, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a new method for housing spinning electrons as qubits in a carbon-based tubular nanomaterial that achieved record-long coherence times, and HRL Laboratories published the first demonstration of universal control of encoded spin qubits using a novel silicon-based qubit device architecture to trap single electrons in quantum dots.

Further reading

Check out our March Test, Measurement & Analytics newsletter for these highlights and more:

  • Metrology Strategies for 2nm Processes
  • Test Challenges Mount as Demands for Reliability Increase
  • Standards: The Next Step for Silicon Photonics

See our Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials newsletter for these feature articles:

  • The Path To Known Good Interconnects
  • Managing Thermal-Induced Stress In Chips
  • Devices And Transistors For The Next 75 Years
  • 2D Semiconductor Materials Creep Toward Manufacturing

Upcoming events in the chip industry:

  • IMAPS: Device Packaging Conference (DPC), Mar. 13 – 16 (Fountain Hills, AZ)
  • International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS), Mar. 26 – 30 (Monterey, CA)
  • International Symposium on Physical Design (ISPD), Mar. 26 – 29 (online)

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