Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test

imec’s compute roadmap; U.S. targets Huawei; India-U.S. task force; China-Bolivia deal; Bruker uncorks white-light interferometry systems; Samsung quantifies sustainability; McKinsey identifies fab construction issues in U.S.; stacked LEDs.


Imec released its semiconductor roadmap, which calls for doubling compute power every six months to handle the data explosion and new data-intensive problems. Imec named five walls (scaling, memory, power, sustainability, cost) that need to be dismantled. The roadmap (below) stretches from 7nm to 0.2nm (2 angstroms) by 2036, and includes four generations of gate-all-around FETs followed by three generations of complementary FETs. Of special note: context-aware interconnects.

Source: ImecSource: IMEC

The Biden administration is considering entirely cutting off Huawei from U.S. suppliers over national-security concerns by tightening export controls targeting the firm, according to the Wall Street Journal. U.S. companies have been restricted from licensing 5G-related technology, but could gain permission from the U.S. government to license older technology to Huawei. Qualcomm has retained permission to license 4G chips to Huawei since 2020. Now it looks like the U.S. government may no longer be approving export licenses for 4G, WiFi 6 and 7, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud technology, and high-performance computing, according to Reuters.

The U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) are forming a private-sector task force of industry, government, and academic stakeholders to foster collaboration between the two countries in the semiconductor industry. The task force will assess the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem in India and suggest new opportunities. India designs more than 2,000 chips a year with more than 20,000 engineers working on chip design and verification, but manufacturing chips has eluded the country.

LUMI, one of Europe’s pre-exascale supercomputers, is now online, available to European scientists. LUMI (Large Unified Modern Infrastructure) is one of the supercomputers planned under the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) project. The supercomputer has 10,240 AMD M1250X GPUs. The LUMI Consortium hosts the supercomputer, which is located in EuroHPC’s CSC data center in Kajaani, Finland. Member countries are Finland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A Chinese consortium, led by Chinese battery company Contemporary Amperex Technology (Catl), won the bid to help the Bolivian state-owned lithium company develop its lithium reserves into batteries. The Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) signed agreements with the consortium Chinese company CATL BRUNP & CMOC (CBC), to work together on refining and selling Bolivia’s lithium resources, which are the largest reserves known.


Wolfspeed proposes to build a 200mm silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuit fab in Saarland, Germany, that will cater to the European Union’s automotive, industrial, and energy sectors. The 200mm fab will be the largest in the world, says Wolfspeed. The company also plans to build an R&D center on the 35-acre (14-hectare) site. The project, part of a collaboration within the IPCEI for Microelectronics and Communication Technologies, hinges on state aid approval from the European Commission. The EU still must approve the plans. SiC can reduce the power use in electric vehicles, making them more energy efficient, which increases their range.

Samsung added a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantify the product carbon footprint of its semiconductor products. The independent certification company DNV has verified the quality of the LCA. The LCA will help Samsung customers calculate their own carbon footprint. More about the LCA

Cadence’s 3D-IC hybrid bonding reference flow is now certified for UMC’s chip stacking technologies.

Rapidus, Japan’s state-backed semiconductor company, will need $54 billion to produce advanced logic chips by 2027, according to a report in Reuters.

Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), along with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and university partners, launched the JUMP 2.0 Consortium, a new program in which 7 U.S. university research centers work on cognition and AI, intelligent sensing, distributed computing, comms and connectivity, intelligent memory and storage, advanced monolithic and heterogenous integration, and high-performance energy-efficient devices. “We are at an inflection point in the evolution of computing systems and technologies,” said Roman Caudillo, Intel-SRC assignee and JUMP 2.0 Director in a release. “The JUMP 2.0 program will be a key component in identifying and forging the best path forward by driving public-private investment for disruptive innovation in microelectronics systems at scale.”

Promex Industries added a Finetech Fineplacer sigma advanced sub-micron bonder to its die-bonding service. The Fineplacer has sub-micron placement accuracy and a 450 mm x 150 mm working area. Bonding forces go up to 1,000 N.


Advantest inked a deal to acquire Shin Puu Technology Co., Ltd., a Taiwan-based supplier of printed circuit boards. Advantest says that Shin Puu’s manufacturing capability will complement another company it acquired in 2021, R&D Altanova, which makes consumable test interface boards, substrates, and interconnects for high-end applications. The deal requires regulatory approvals.

Bruker released two new white-light interferometry (WLI) systems, the ContourX-1000 and NPFLEX-1000 optical profilometers. These machines automate areal measurements of surface texture and roughness, which means finding defects faster.

Market Research

A report from CSET (the Center for Security and Emerging Technology), a think tank from Georgetown University, found that U.S. investors put money into Chinese AI companies. Looking at Crunchbase data from 2015 to 2021, the researchers identified 167 U.S. investors that made 401 investments in Chinese AI companies. That amounted to 17% of the 2,299 global investment transactions.

India’s smartphone shipments dropped 9% YoY in 2022, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

McKinsey issued a report identifying semiconductor fab construction challenges in the United States. Among them are shortage of construction workers, a greater need for sustainability, supply chain complexity, the need for federal and local incentives, and delivering projects on time and on budget.


MIT researchers found that stacking LEDs, instead of placing them side by side, produces higher resolution displays that can enable virtual reality. So instead of a patchwork of LEDs, they created multi-color vertical pixels.

Stanford University scientists say they have figured out what causes failures in lithium-ion batteries. That’s a first step in improving reliability of these batteries, which will be needed to power cars and billions of electronic devices.

Business News

Semiconductor Engineering released its comprehensive Startup Funding Annual Report & Analysis: 2022, including in-depth analysis of where the money went, where it came from, and the reasons behind those investments.

The latest quarterly revenue reports for the chip industry show continued strength among foundries, softening in consumer, and continued uncertainty throughout first half of 2023.

Further reading

And check out a special report on good interconnects and other stories in our latest Manufacturing, Packaging & Materials newsletter:

Read our Test, Measurement & Analytics Newsletter for these highlights and more:

Upcoming events:

  • ISS Europe, Feb. 15 – 16 (Vienna, Austria)
  • 2023 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2023), Feb. 19 – 23 (San Francisco, CA)
  • SPIE Advanced Lithography + Patterning, Feb. 26 – March 2 (San Jose, CA)
  • iMAPS Device Packaging, March 13 – 16 (Fountain Hills, Arizona)

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