Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test

Global chip sales slump deepens; chipmakers’ data leakage issues; silicon wafer sales down; electronic system design sales up; Techcet wins CHIPS Act contract; Infineon breaks ground on German fab; new research center for SiC; winners of MITRE’s eCTF contest; new biosensing devices.


The global sales slump in semiconductors but may be stabilizing, according to a new report from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Worldwide sales of semiconductors fell 8.7% in Q1 2023 compared to the Q4 2022, and dropped 21.3% compared to the Q1 2022. Sales for the month of March 2023 increased 0.3% compared to February 2023. Meanwhile, SEMI reports worldwide silicon wafer shipments slipped 9.0% quarter-over-quarter for Q1 2023 and 11.3% from the same quarter last year.

Not all sectors are affected, however. The chip market is becoming highly segmented, and applications such as medical, automotive, industrial, and mil/aero are on different cycles than consumer electronics. The proof point is design tool revenue. The SEMI ESD Alliance reports Electronic System Design (ESD) industry revenue increased 11.3% in the Q4 2022 compared to Q4 2021. The four-quarter moving average, which compares the most recent four quarters to the prior four, rose 12.6%. 

Data leakage is becoming more difficult to stop or even trace as chips become increasingly complex and heterogeneous, and as more data is stored and utilized by chipmakers for other designs.

Techcet has been awarded a sole source contract from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/ CHIPS Program Office (CPO) for materials supply chain data and analysis to identify domestic supply chain gaps related to critical materials required in the manufacture of semiconductors (gases, chemical/liquid precursors, metals and substrates). The CHIPS Program Office will use this information in its analysis and review of grant/loan applicants. 

Infineon broke ground on its new plant in Dresden, Germany, for the manufacture of mixed signal and power ICs. The plant is designed to be among the most environmentally friendly manufacturing facilities of its kind, with production expected to start in 2026.

A new research center for silicon carbide semiconductors will be developed by Wolfspeed and ZF near Nuremberg, Germany, to improve system design, module structure, and production processes. The research center will support Wolfspeed’s SiC factory in Saarland.

TSMC reportedly is in talks with Infineon, NXP Semiconductors, and Robert Bosch GmbH to build a €10 billion fab in Germany, according to Bloomberg. The partners are seeking state investment subsidies from the EU to support the project.

Impact Nano, a Massachusetts-based startup that makes specialty chemicals for the semiconductor industry raised $32 million in funding from investors including Intel Capital and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Advantest announced it has completed its acquisition of PCB manufacturer Shin Puu Technology.


Infineon announced deals with Chinese suppliers SICC and TanKeBlue for 150mm SiC wafers and boules for the manufacture of SiC semiconductors for its manufacturing sites in Malaysia and Austria in an effort to diversify and stabilize its supply chain.

Micron chose 14 people to lead an advisory group to help guide the company’s $100 billion megafab in the town of Clay, N.Y.  Gov. Kathy Hochul and Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra announced the community engagement committee’s members to fulfill an agreement Micron and state leaders made in October, when Micron committed to the investment.

UMC announced that its 40nm RFSOI technology platform is ready for production of millimeter-wave (mmWave) front-end products for 5G wireless networks and applications, including smartphones, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) systems, and small-cell base stations.

SynopsysAnsys and Keysight released a 79 GHz mmWave design reference flow for the TSMC 16nm FinFET Compact Technology (16FFC). The design will be used for 79 GHz transceiver ICs for advanced autonomous systems.

TSMC certified Ansys’ multiphysics solutions for TSMC’s N2 process, including thermal self-heat effects for greater chip reliability and more optimized designs for TSMC’s nanosheet transistor structure.

Keysight joined the TSMC Open Innovation Platform (OIP) 3DFabric Alliance to accelerate 3D integrated circuit (IC) ecosystem innovation and readiness.


MITRE Engenuity announced the winners of its annual Embedded Capture the Flag (eCTF) competition aimed at developing embedded security systems. This year’s competitors designed and implemented a key fob system for a car door lock. The system needed to protect the car from unauthorized entry and prevent attacks such as replays and key fob cloning. Teams earned points by conducting successful attacks and by withstanding the attacks of other teams. This year’s top three finishers, in order, were Carnegie Melon University; University of California, Santa Cruz; and Purdue University.

Imec announced a joint partnership with Purdue University to jointly advance R&D in Indiana’s semiconductor sector. Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), imec will conduct research at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center while students, faculty and professionals will have an opportunity to work in Belgium, creating a new, trans-Atlantic partnership to increase complimentary knowledge and capabilities in semiconductors and microelectronics.

Paragraf, a manufacturer of graphene electronics using transfer-free graphene and standard semiconductor processes, acquired Cardea Bio, a producer of graphene-based biocompatible chips to research and develop a new generation of biosensing devices. 

Further reading

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

  • Nanoimprint Finally Finds its Footing
  • Assist Layers: The Unsung Heroes of EUV Lithography
  • Smarter Ways to Manufacture Chips

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

  • Using AI to Improve Metrology Tooling
  • What Data Center Chipmakers Can Learn from Automotive
  • Challenges in Photonics Testing

Upcoming events in the chip industry:

  • Voice Developer Conference – Created by test engineers for test engineers, May 8 – 10 (Santa Clara, CA)
  • ITF World 2023: Imec’s flagship event on semiconductor advances & deep-tech solutions, May 16 – 17, (Antwerp, Belgium)
  • ASMC 2023: Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference, May 1 – 4 (Saratoga SpringsNY)
  • International Memory Workshop, May 21 – 24 (Monterey, CA)
  • European Test Symposium, May 22 – 26 (Hybrid, Venice, Italy)
  • SEMICON Southeast Asia, May 23 – 25 (Penang)
  • ECTC: Electronic Components and Technology Conference, May 3 – Jun 2 (Orlando, Florida)

Leave a Reply

(Note: This name will be displayed publicly)