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The Week In Review: Oct. 25, 2013

Semiconductor Research Corporation launched the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology (SSB) research program on hybrid bio-semiconductor systems to provide insights and opportunities for future information and communication technologies. The program will initially fund research at six universities: MIT, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Yale, Georgia Tech, Brigham Young and the University of Washington. Approximately $2.25M will be invested by SRC-GRC for Phase 1 research.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $975.3 million in orders worldwide in September 2013 (three-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.97, according to the September EMDS Book-to-Bill Report published today by SEMI.   A book-to-bill of 0.97 means that $97 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month. The three-month average of worldwide bookings in September 2013 was $975.3 million. The bookings figure is 8.3 percent lower than the final August 2013 level of $1.06 billion, and is 6.8   percent higher than the September 2012 order level of $912.8 million. The three-month average of worldwide billings in September 2013 was $1.01 billion. The billings figure is 7.1 percent lower than the final August 2013 level of $1.08 billion, and is 13.6 percent lower than the September 2012 billings level of $1.16 billion.

Mentor Graphics Corporation announced its new Mentor Embedded Hypervisor product for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, telematics, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and instrumentation. The Mentor Embedded Hypervisor is a small footprint Type 1 hypervisor developed specifically for embedded applications and intelligent connected devices. With the Mentor Embedded Hypervisor, developers can create high-performance systems that integrate and consolidate applications on multicore processors and make use of the ARM TrustZone. Development of new systems can be accelerated by reusing existing proprietary software and protecting intellectual property while incorporating Linux to leverage the open source ecosystem.

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. announced results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2013. Cadence reported third quarter 2013 revenue of $367 million, compared to revenue of $339 million reported for the same period in 2012. On a GAAP basis, Cadence recognized net income of $39 million, or $0.13 per share on a diluted basis, in the third quarter of 2013, compared to net income of $59 million, or $0.21 per share on a diluted basis, in the same period in 2012.

Researchers and physicians at Johns Hopkins University will collaborate with the nanoelectronics R&D center imec to advance silicon applications in healthcare, beginning with development of a device to enable a broad range of clinical tests. Imec and Johns Hopkins University hope to develop the next generation of “lab on a chip” concepts based on imec technology. The idea is that such a disposable chip could be loaded with a sample of blood, saliva or urine and then quickly analyzed using a smartphone, tablet or computer, making diagnostic testing faster and easier for applications such as disease monitoring and management, disease surveillance, rural health care and clinical trials.

A new Department of Energy grant will fund research to advance an additive manufacturing technique for fabricating three-dimensional (3D) nanoscale structures from a variety of materials. Using high-speed, thermally-energized jets to deliver both precursor materials and inert gas, the research will focus on dramatically accelerating growth, improving the purity and increasing the aspect ratio of the 3D structures. Known as focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID), the technique delivers a tightly-focused beam of high energy electrons and an energetic jet of thermally excited precursor gases – both confined to the same spot on a substrate. Secondary electrons generated when the electron beam strikes the substrate cause decomposition of the precursor molecules, forming nanoscale 3D structures whose size, shape and location can be precisely controlled. This gas-jet assisted FEBID technique allows fabrication of high-purity nanoscale structures using a wide range of materials and combination of materials.

Despite a drop in global television unit demand in 2013, the semiconductor market for TVs is forecast to increase by an estimated seven percent to $13.1 billion, according to data presented in IC Insights’ upcoming IC Market Drivers 2014 report. Technologies such as wireless video connections, networking interfaces, multi-format decoders and LED backlighting have boosted the average semiconductor content in TV sets even as global TV unit shipments are forecast to decline by an estimated three percent in 2013, according to the report. IC Insights projects that total global semiconductor revenue for televisions will grow 12 percent to $14.7 billion in 2014 due to an uptick in new TV sales in advance of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  Between 2012 and 2017, the semiconductor market for DTVs is forecast to grow at a healthy pace of 10 percent percent annually, increasing to $19.8 billion at the end of the forecast period.

CEA-Leti, Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT and three European companies — IPDiA, Picosun and SENTECH Instruments — have launched a project to industrialize 3D integrated capacitors with world-record density. The two-year, EC-funded PICS project is designed to develop a disruptive technology through the development of innovative ALD materials and tools that results in a new world record for integrated capacitor densities (over 500nF/mm2) combined with higher breakdown voltages. It will strengthen the SME partners’ position in several markets, such as automotive, medical and lighting, by offering an even higher integration level and more miniaturization.

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