The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Fab tool boom; EUV milestone; EUV resists; Minnesota foundry.

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Market research
SEMI has released its mid-year forecast at Semicon West. SEMI reported that worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment are projected to increase by 19.8% to a total of $49.4 billion in 2017, marking the first time that the semiconductor equipment market has exceeded the market high of $47.7 billion set in 2000. In 2018, 7.7% growth is expected, resulting in another record-breaking year ─ totaling $53.2 billion for the global semiconductor equipment market.

What was the general mood at Semicon West? “A bullish tone permeated the first day of Semicon West as semiconductor equipment companies noted demand strength from DRAM, NAND, and foundry customers, supporting good trends in 2H and likely through 2018,” according to Weston Twigg, an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, in a research note. “Companies indicated notable 2H upside from DRAM, likely as Samsung and Hynix complete expansions, while the 3D NAND build-out remains strong and foundry is improving to support the 7nm ramp at Samsung and TSMC.”

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total $401.4 billion in 2017, an increase of 16.8% from 2016, according to Gartner. This will be the first time semiconductor revenue has surpassed $400 billion. The market reached the $300 billion milestone seven years ago, in 2010, and surpassed $200 billion in 2000.

Fab equipment and materials
ASML has finally reached its goal for the power source in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography—it has achieved 250 Watts of power with sustained operations.

As expected, ASML is readying its next EUV lithography tool. The tool, dubbed NXE:3400B, has a numerical aperture of 0.33 and a 13nm resolution. Initially, the system will ship with a 140-watt source, enabling a throughput of 100 wafers an hour.

Over the years, though, chipmakers wanted a 250-watt EUV source to put EUV into mass production. At this week’s Semicon West trade show, though, ASML said it has achieved the 250-watt target for the power source within its own facility. “(The 250-watt power source) should be deployed early next year to customers,” said Michael Lercel, director of product marketing at ASML.

The 250-watt EUV power source will be integrated into a follow-on system, enabling 125 wafers an hour.

EUV is indeed making progress. “The initial imaging results off of these systems are well within spec,” he said.

Still, there are some challenges. Uptime, or tool availability, is one issue. “It’s improving in the field,” he added.

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ASML has expanded its Holistic Lithography efforts. The technology integrates a set of products that enables chipmakers to develop and control the production process at the 7nm/5nm logic and 16nm DRAM nodes. ASML’s EUV and 193nm immersion lithography systems are complemented by its new YieldStar 375F metrology system.

EUV resist developer Inpria has secured $23.5 million in Series B funding. This new financing was led by existing investor, Samsung Ventures, and included participation from Air Liquide, Applied Materials’ venture arm and Intel Capital. Photoresist supplier JSR also joined this round as a new investor.

Applied Materials has recognized 10 companies with ”Supplier of the Year Awards.” The awards reflect outstanding performance in several areas including quality, service, lead time, delivery, cost and sustainability.

SEMI has announced that Mike Allison, president of the Semiconductor Division at Edwards, and Daisuke Murata, president and CEO of Murata Machinery, were elected as new directors to the SEMI International board. Meanwhile, SEMI announced the recipients of the 2017 SEMI Awards for the Americas. In addition, SEMI honored four industry leaders for their accomplishments in developing standards for the electronics and related industries.

Chipmakers
Uniquify, a system-on-chip (SoC) fabless manufacturer and DDR memory system intellectual property (IP) provider, has joined GlobalFoundries’ 22nm FD-SOI partner program. Separately, GlobalFoundries and VeriSilicon have announced a collaboration to deliver the industry’s first single-chip IoT solution for next-generation low power wide area (LPWA) networks. Leveraging GF’s 22nm FD-SOI technology, the companies plan to develop intellectual property that could enable a complete cellular modem module on a single chip, including integrated baseband, power management, RF radio and front-end module combining both Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M capabilities. The new approach is expected to deliver significant improvements in power, area, and cost compared to current offerings.

SkyWater Technology Foundry has announced the formation of its board. The formation of the board comes following the creation of SkyWater in March 2017 as the result of the purchase of Cypress Minnesota, a 200mm semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Minn., from Cypress Semiconductor. The purchase was funded by Oxbow Industries, a Minnesota-based private-equity firm.



  • memister

    The big showstopper of EUV is the pellicle which cannot tolerate 250 W, along with the photon noise which requires doses to ever increase.