The Week In Review: Sept. 9

Fab fire; inflection points; material world; IP sale; FD-SOI community; smart watch critics.

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By Mark LaPedus
SK HynixDRAM fab in China caught on fire. The fire caused one minor injury, but it did not impact the equipment, according to reports. SK Hynix will re-open the fab soon, according to reports.

Bob Halliday, Applied Materials’ CFO, gave a presentation at an analyst event, saying: “I think there’s probably more technology inflections going on right now than in years.”

The onslaught of next-generation technologies coming to the IC industry will bring demand for a host of new materials, according to SEMI.

ARM and Cadence Design Systems have signed a definitive agreement for the sale and transfer of Cadence’s display controller cores to ARM. Cadence’s family of high-resolution display processor and scaling coprocessor IP cores was co-developed in conjunction with ARM.

Advanced Wireless Semiconductor Company has selected Mentor Graphics’ Calibre nmDRC and nmLVS products as their golden signoff physical verification solution for GaAs ICs.

Designers using or thinking of moving to FD-SOI now have a LinkedIn group. The so-called FD-SOI Design Community is an open group.

Soitec announced the signing of a performance-warranty insurance contract with Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers. This contract will cover all concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules manufactured by Soitec.

Broadcom announced a definitive agreement to acquire LTE-related cell-phone chipset assets from affiliates of Renesas Electronics.

Silicon foundry vendor ams AG has invested more than €25m to create dedicated 3D IC production capacity at its wafer fabrication plant near Graz, Austria.

IMS Nanofabrication has formed a partnership with JEOL for the realization of alpha and beta electron multi-beam mask writers for the 10nm half-pitch node.

Microsoft has agreed to buy Nokia’s phone business.

Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Gear smart watch, making it the first major smartphone OEM to enter this swelling segment. However, for smart watches to become more than gimmicky accessories for smartphones, they will need new technologies to enable slimmer form factors and innovative displays, according to Lux Research.

While much attention with regard to IC packaging is on 3D stacking and integration technologies, there is another area of packaging that has quietly been flourishing during the past 15 years—the quad flat no-lead (QFN) package.

The U.S. added 976 megawatts (MW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity during the second quarter of 2013, up 24% quarter-over-quarter, according to NPD Solarbuzz. California also set a quarterly record for solar PV.