Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test

Japan and U.S. joint IC roadmap; China-South Korea cooperation; new fabs in India on hold; CHIPS Act; NAND flash revenue plummets; new inspection tools; EUV stochastics and yield; moving etch processes into HVM.


Japanese and American trade officials announced a joint roadmap for cooperation in strengthening global semiconductor supply chains by advancing Japan-U.S. collaboration with emerging and developing countries in the Indo-Pacific.

China and South Korea agreed to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on semiconductor industry supply chains with a focus on the supply of key raw materials and ensuring a predictable business environment for South Korean companies, reports Reuters.

Plans for the development of new chip making fabs in India have been placed on hold due to a lack of technology partners for Vedanta and Foxxcon, and a takeover of ISMC by Intel, reports Reuters. The combined investments of these stalled projects total more than $22 billion.

Total NAND flash revenue fell 16.1% QoQ in 1Q23 as demand continues to decline, according to a new report from Trendforce. Despite companies slashing prices to boost sales, volume growth was just 2.1% in the quarter, even with a 15% drop in ASPs, leading to a total revenue decline of approximately $8 billion.

The global market for semiconductor test related products shows long term growth following downturns in 2022 and 2023, according to the latest report from Yole Group.  The probe card market dropped 0.5% in 2022 with long-term growth of 5.8% CAGR reaching $3.17 billion by 2028.

Security is becoming a big issue for AI/ML chips and tools due to the fast moving and fluid nature of the burgeoning industry, a lack of standards, changing algorithms and architectures, and ill-defined metrics.

Device makers are employing faster plasma etch processes despite the necessity of finer process control. Modeling can help speed the ramp from etch process of record to high volume manufacturing.

Synopsys and Arm are strengthening their partnership to enable faster time-to-market of SoC designs at leading-edge nodes to 2nm, including introduction of the Arm Total Compute Solutions 2023 (TCS23) platform. The platform is designed to address multi-die system challenges associated with integrating Arm Cortex-X4 and Cortex-A520 CPUs as well as Immeortalis-G720 and Mali-G720 GPUs.

Determining which stochastic defects actually will impact yield is one of the great challenges of EUV lithography. New methods and models can assist with lot disposition, process control decisions, and error budgets.

GlobalFoundries announced its advanced manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, has been accredited by The U.S. Department of Defense as a Category 1A Trusted Supplier with the ability to manufacture secure semiconductors for a range of critical aerospace and defense applications.

TEL announced the company has been recognized in Japan as a DX-certified business operator under the Digital Transformation (DX) Certification initiative established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Samsung has launched a global design competition in collaboration with the design and architecture magazine Dezeen that challenges entrants to propose creative ideas for reusing, recycling and upcycling old Samsung devices and their materials.

PDF Solutions announced its 2023 Users Conference will be held in Santa Clara, CA, Oct. 24-26.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a summary of public comments solicited to inform the design of, and requirements for, potential Manufacturing USA institute(s) that would strengthen the semiconductor and microelectronics innovation ecosystem in such areas as design, fabrication, advanced test, assembly, and packaging capabilities.


Canadian AI design startup Tenstorrent announced it is partnering with LG Electronics to build RISC-V chips, AI and Video Codec Chiplets to power smart TVs, automotive products and data centers.

DIC Corp. announced the acquisition of Quebec-based PCAS Canada, which manufactures and sells polymers used in photoresists for semiconductor photolithography.

Onsemi and Vitesco Technologies announced a long-term supply agreement worth $1.9 billion for silicon carbide (SiC) products to power Vitesco electrification technologies.

Siemens and SPIL announced a joint collaboration to deliver a 3D verification workflow for fan-out wafer-level packaging.

Photonics chip startup Lightmatter raised $154 million in Series C funding for the development of its photonics-enabled products aimed at the AI chip market.


Nordson Test & Inspection will introduce its Quadra 7 Pro manual X-ray inspection system at Semicon China later this month. X-ray equipment, which has seen limited use in the past, is becoming increasingly important in fabs and packaging houses for advanced packaging, which makes it impossible to observe what’s happening inside the package once it is sealed. The system comes with two brightness and resolution modes.

Bruker uncorked an automated bioAFM, which allows it to quantify forces for individual molecules. The machine can generate more than 250,000 force curves per day.

Achieving a practically unbreakable security system against cybercrime is becoming more difficult to achieve as annual costs of cybercrime is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years from about $8 trillion today to more than $210 trillion by 2025.

Renesas released a slew of new products for motor control applications, including home appliance, industrial equipment and building/office automation. Thirty-five new devices from three MCU groups broadens the company’s motor control offerings.

Researchers from NIST and KLA improved the accuracy of scanning electron microscope (SEM) measurements. The joint research project measures beam tilt using a conical frustrum array, which form images that are highly sensitive to beam tilt, to an accuracy of less than one milliradian, or five hundredths of a degree.

Further reading

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

  • Etch Processes Push Toward Higher Selectivity, Cost Control
  • Challenges Grow for Creating Smaller Bumps for Flip Chips
  • Managing Yield with EUV Lithography and Stochastics

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

  • How Metrology Tool Stack Up to 3D NAND Devices
  • Pinpointing Timing Delays Can Improve Chip Reliability
  • 3D Structures Change Wire Bond Inspection
  • Optimizing Scan Test for Complex ICs

Upcoming events in the chip industry:

  • SW Test 2023, June 5 – 7 (Carlsbad, CA)
  • RISC-V Summit Europe, June 5 – 9 (Barcelona)
  • 2023 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, June 5 – 9 (Online)
  • Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium-RFIC 2023, June 11 – 19 (San Diego, CA)

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