Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test

U.S. pressures Japan and Netherlands; Samsung mass produces 1Tb V-NAND; ASE breaks ground in Malaysia; IBM’s 433-qubit processor.


U.S. President Joe Biden appears ready to increase pressure on Japan and the Netherlands to help block the flow of advanced chip technology to China, where it can be used to develop cutting-edge weapons. “You will see Japan and Netherlands follow our lead,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC.

Japan plans to budget ¥350 billion ($2.38 billion) in a research collaboration with the U.S. to develop and mass produce advanced semiconductors with circuit line widths of 2 nanometers by the latter half of the decade.

NVIDIA is offering a new advanced chip in China that meets recent export control rules. The  A800 chip represents the first reported effort by a U.S. semiconductor company to create advanced processors for China that follow new U.S. trade rules. NVIDIA has said export limitations could cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Counterpoint Research’s Jeff Fieldhack told MSNBC it will take years for Apple to diversify its factories in China.

Lawmakers continue to pressure Apple regarding the possible use of YMTC memory chips in iPhones, according to an analysis in the New York Times. Apple warned that its sales would fall short of expectations because a key iPhone factory in China was shut down by a coronavirus outbreak.

Alibaba, Biren, and other Chinese chip designers must modify their advanced chip designs to cut back on processing speeds in order to avoid recently imposed U.S. sanctions on semiconductor exports to China, according to the Financial Times.


Samsung has begun mass producing a 1-terabit (Tb) triple-level cell (TLC) eighth-generation vertical NAND (V-NAND) with the industry’s highest bit density. At 1Tb, the new V-NAND also features the highest storage capacity to date, enabling larger storage space in next-generation servers. Based on the Toggle DDR 5.0 interface, the latest NAND flash standard, the V-NAND features an I/O speed of up to 2.4 Gb/s, a 1.2X boost over the previous generation.

SK Hynix has begun shipping a low-power double-data-rate LPDDR5X chip based on high-k metal gate technology that reduces power consumption by 25% compared to the previous generation. Operating voltage is 1.01V to 1.12V.

Intel uncorked its Xeon CPU/GPU Max Series, previously known by the code names Sapphire Rapids HBM and Ponte Vecchio, an x86-based processor with HBM. The Max Series GPU features more than 100 billion transistors in a 47-tile package, with up to 128 GB of HBM.

ASE broke ground on a new chip assembly and testing facility in Penang, Malaysia. The new facility at ASE Malaysia (ASEM) will comprise two buildings (Plants 4 and 5) with an area of 982,000 square feet, located in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.

TSMC plans to build a semiconductor plant north of Phoenix, beside another chip factory that the company announced in 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal. The investment is expected to be about $12 billion, which is comparable to its former commitment, according to the report.

TSMC announced the Open Innovation Platform (OIP) 3DFabric Alliance to accelerate 3D IC ecosystem innovation and readiness. Partners include Synopsys, Siemens EDA, Cadence, Ansys, Arm, Samsung Memory, Amkor, ASE, Advantest, and Teradyne, among others.

Fig. 1: The ecosystem of the OIP: The 3DFabric Alliance. Source: TSMC

IBM unveiled a 433-qubit quantum processor. The Osprey processor has the largest qubit count of any IBM quantum processor, more than tripling the 127 qubits on the Eagle processor unveiled in 2021.

MediaTek debuted a smartphone application processor series built on TSMC‘s second-generation 4nm process technology, and expects smartphones powered by the new chips to hit the market by the end of 2022.

Eliyan announced the close of its Series A $40M funding round, and the successful tapeout of its chiplet interconnect technology on TSMC’s 5nm process.

LA Semiconductor purchased onsemi’s fab in Pocatello, Idaho. “LA Semiconductor will run the fab as a pure-play, contract manufacturing foundry, with a long-term wafer supply agreement in place, continuing to provide wafers to our partners onsemi,” said Mike Ward, founder, president and CEO of LA Semiconductor. The fab produces 1.5 to 0.35µm analog CMOS, BCD, advanced discrete, and custom technologies.

Reliance Industries and HCL reportedly plan to buy a 26% to 51% share of the International Semiconductors Consortium (ISMC). The total investment estimated from both firms is likely to exceed Rs 4,000 crore ($500-600 million).

Atomica announced a $30 million Series C financing, which allows Atomica to expand its foundry capabilities, advance MEMS technologies, and support domestic production of biochips, sensors, and photonic circuits.

UMC launched the Supply Chain Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Initiative. By providing tools and resources for measuring and managing emissions, UMC aims to assist 500 suppliers in completing their GHG inventories, striving towards its goal of 20% reduction in supply chain emissions by 2030.


Vijay Thangamariappan, R&D engineer at Advantest, explains how to develop models for automating optical inspection, using a multi-thousand pin socket as an example for how machine learning has helped reduce the return rate due to defects from 2% down to zero.

TESCAN announced a 4D-scanning transmission electron microscope (4D-STEM). The TENSOR 4D-STEM provides multimodal, high contrast, high-resolution 2D & 3D characterization of functional (engineered) materials at the nanoscale.

Our latest Test, Measurement & Analytics Newsletter is out, featuring fresh looks at the industry:

Market Research

Global silicon wafer shipments are projected to increase 4.8% year-over-year in 2022 to a record high of nearly 14,700 millions of square inches (MSI), SEMI reported in its annual silicon shipment forecast. The growth is expected to temper in 2023 due to challenging macroeconomic conditions but is forecast to rebound in the years that follow on strong demand for semiconductors used in data center, automotive and industrial applications.

SEMI appointed Patricia MacLeod, director of marketing and communications at Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE); Katherine Dei Cas, senior vice president and global head of delivery systems and services at EMD Electronics; and John McLaughlin, global ESG leader and Ann Arbor site lead at KLA, to the SEMI Foundation Board of Trustees.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) offered its perspective on NIST’s National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program and what additional policies will be needed.

Purdue University and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) will soon launch a dual-degree master’s program in semiconductors as part of a newly signed agreement to cooperate in education and research in semiconductors and microelectronics.

By modifying an existing AFM technique for identifying defects, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method that can simultaneously locate individual electrical flaws in multiple microcircuits on the same chip.

A paper published in the Journal of Optical Microsystems has demonstrated a power-efficient component for the demultiplexing operation by physically moving a suspended silicon ring resonator in a photonic integrated circuit.

Further reading

Check out our Manufacturing, Packaging, & Materials newsletters for these highlights and more:

Upcoming events:

  • The Era of Chiplets and Heterogeneous Integration: Challenges and Emerging Solutions to Support 2.5D and 3D Advanced Packaging, Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. PST.
  • International Supercomputing Conference SC22, Nov. 12-18 (Dallas, TX)
  • Electronica 2022, Nov. 15-18 (Munich, Germany)
  • Semicon Europa, Nov. 15-18 (Munich, Germany)
  • Materials Research Society, Nov. 27-Dec. 2 (Boston, MA)
  • Memory Technology Symposium, Nov. 29-30 (Virtual)
  • Nepcon South China, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 (Shanghai, China)
  • IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, Dec. 3-7 (San Francisco, CA)
  • First Annual Chiplet Summit, Jan. 24-26, 2023 (San Jose, CA)

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