Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

TSMC, Bosch, Infineon, NXP team up; CHIPS Act’s 1-year anniversary; Biden tightens bans on China; SK Hynix showcases 321-layer NAND; GAA metrology; SiC growth for EVs; generative AI for test; chiplets deep-dive report.


TSMC, Bosch, Infineon, and NXP will jointly invest in the European Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (ESMC), in Dresden, Germany, to provide advanced semiconductor manufacturing services. ESMC marks a significant step toward construction of a 300mm fab, which is expected to have a monthly production capacity of 40,000 300mm (12-inch) wafers on TSMC’s 28/22nm planar CMOS and 16/12nm finFET process technology.

Aug. 9 marked the one-year anniversary of the signing of the CHIPS and Science Act, with the White House producing a fact sheet of related statistics and landmark legislation. President Biden said in commemoration, “In the year since I signed this legislation into law, companies have announced over $166 billion to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to the United States.”

Less optimistically, Revelio Labs analyzed how long it takes to hire for semiconductor positions, which can be twice the national average for similar positions in other fields. In their talk, “Resilient NationMITRE points out that private industry invests approximately five times more than the U.S. government in research and development.

President Biden banned new American investment in key technology industries that could be used to enhance Beijing’s military capabilities. The order will prohibit venture capital and private equity firms from pumping more money into Chinese efforts to develop semiconductors and other microelectronics, quantum computers, and certain artificial intelligence applications, as reported by the New York Times.

The Economist cautioned this will lead to more tangled and opaque supply chains.

SIA commented on the ban: “We hope the final rules allow U.S. chip firms to compete on a level-playing field and access key global markets, including China, to promote the long-term strength of the U.S. semiconductor industry and our ability to out-innovate global competitors.”

SK Hynix showcased its 321-layer NAND, the industry’s first NAND with more than 300 layers. It plans to start mass production from the first half of 2025.

SE’s new eBook takes a deep dive into designing, manufacturing, and testing Chiplets.

Samsung and Caltech settled Caltech’s patent lawsuit that accused the South Korean company of violating its patent rights in Wi-Fi technology. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, per Reuters.

Intel announced the 4th Gen Intel Xeon scalable processor with Intel vRAN, is now available for commercial deployment. The company said it is the world’s first virtualized radio access network (vRAN) processor with fully integrated acceleration.

Startup EdgeQ is looking to capitalize on the boom in 5G private networks, which are smaller, more user-specific alternatives to traditional telecom networks. EdgeQ’s first chipset is now in production by TSMC. Shipments to customers, including Vodafone, Dell and other networking equipment providers, are starting this year, according to Nikkei Asia.

The UCIe Consortium announced the UCIe 1.1 Specification, which extends reliability mechanisms to more protocols and supports broader usage models, including automotive, predicative failure, and health monitoring. It is fully backward compatible with the UCIe 1.0. The consortium also established a new automotive working group.

Market Research

SIA announced worldwide sales of semiconductors totaled $124.5 billion during the second quarter of 2023, an increase of 4.7% over the first quarter of 2023 but 17.3% less than the second quarter of 2022. Global sales for the month of June 2023 were $41.5 billion, an increase of 1.7% compared to the previous month.

TECHCET said the semiconductor sputtering target market will contract to US$1.29 billion this year due to the industry-wide slowdown and lower wafer starts.

Test and Metrology

Market opportunities are driving demand for better ways to reduce defects in silicon carbide power ICs. SE takes an in-depth look at how SiC growth for EVs is stressing manufacturing.

The chip industry is pushing the boundaries of innovation with the evolution of finFETs to gate-all-around FETS at the 3nm node and beyond, but it also is adding significant new metrology challenges.

There are big changes in movement of critical data from the lab to fab, including using generative AI for test.


DARPA’s new Synthetic Quantum Nanostructures (SynQuaNon) progam seeks to develop synthetic metamaterials to enable enhanced functionalities and novel capabilities for quantum information science. The program will explore new manmade materials, such as metamaterials, nano patterned structures, and quantum heterostructures, that allow for higher operating temperatures to significantly reduce size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements.

NIST validated a new approach to measuring extremely low gas pressures called CAVS, for cold atom vacuum standard. NIST researchers demonstrated this new technique can reliably measure the low vacuum pressures — a trillionth of the Earth’s sea-level atmospheric pressure and below — that will be required for future chip manufacturing and next-generation science.

Researchers from Chiba University developed a way to slice diamond into thin wafers. The laser-based slicing technique can be used to cleanly slice a diamond along the optimal crystallographic plane, producing smooth wafers.

Further Reading

Read our Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials newsletter for these highlights and more:

See our latest Test, Measurement & Analytics newsletter for these feature articles and more:

Upcoming events in the chip industry:

  • SPIE Optics + Photonics 2023, Aug 20 – 24 (San Diego, CA)
  • Hot Chips 2023, Aug 27 – 29 (Hybrid/Stanford University)
  • NVMTS 2023: Non-Volatile Memory Technology Symposium, Aug 30 – Sept 1 (Leuven, Belgium)
  • Semicon Taiwan, Sept 6 – 8 (Taipei, Taiwan)
  • MES and Industry 4.0, Sept 7 – 8 (Porto, Portugal)
  • Strategic Materials Conference (SMC 2023), Oct 2 – 4 (San Jose, CA)

Click here for upcoming webinars.

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