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Blog review April 7, 2014

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Pete Singer reveals the lineup of presenters for Session 1 of The ConFab, to be held June 22-25 in Las Vegas, and provides summaries of their talks. Speakers will be Vijay Ullal, COO, Fairchild Semiconductor; Dave Anderson, President and CEO, Novati Technologies; Gopal Rao, Senior Director Business Development, SEMATECH; Adrian Maynes, Program Manager, F450C; and Bill McClean, President, IC Insights.

Phil Garrou blogs about a variety of diverse issues this week, including GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ potential purchase of IBM’s semiconductor business, Altera’s separate deals with Intel and TSMC, why FinFET could be more expensive that more conventional CMOS strategies, as view by Handle Jones of IBS, and a new joint development program between ASE and Inotera focused on 3D IC packaging.

The Week in Review: March 28, 2014

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Altera Corporation and Intel Corporation announced their collaboration on the development of multi-die devices that leverage Intel’s package and assembly capabilities and Altera’s leading-edge programmable logic technology. The collaboration is an extension of the foundry relationship between Altera and Intel, in which Intel is manufacturing Altera’s Stratix 10 FPGAs and SoCs using the 14nm Tri-Gate process. Altera’s work with Intel will enable the development of multi-die devices that efficiently integrates monolithic 14nm Stratix 10 FPGAs and SoCs with other advanced components, which may include DRAM, SRAM, ASICs, processors and analog components, in a single package.

Samsung introduced a new lineup of flip chip LED packages and modules offering enhanced design flexibility and a high degree of reliability. The new offerings, for use in leading-edge LED lighting such as LED bulbs, MR/PAR and downlights, will be available in the market during the second quarter of this year. Samsung’s new flip chip (FC) LED package and flip chip on module (FCOM) solutions feature highly efficient and versatile LED structures, created by flipping over blue LED chips and adhering phosphor film to each of them. Unlike conventional LED packages that dispense phosphor and then place a plastic mold over each chip, Samsung’s FC package technology can produce LED packages down to a chip-scale size without any mold, enabling more compact lighting fixture designs.

eInfochips, a semiconductor and product engineering company, this week launched design services for chips based on 16nm geometry. The comprehensive suite of services includes Netlist to GDSII, Sign-off, and Design for Testability. eInfochips is one of the few engineering services companies in the world capable of delivering 16nm chip designs which reduce a chip’s power consumption by half, while improving performance by one-third over 28nm technology.

SEMATECH announced this week that Particle Measuring Systems has joined SEMATECH to advance the development of nanoscale particle removal processes and cleaning technologies for next-generation wafers and devices. This collaboration will address many of the profound changes taking place in the semiconductor industry that are impacting fundamental aspects of process and equipment design, including integration of new materials and process technology for sub-20nm node manufacturing, next-generation lithography requirements.

CEA-Leti will demonstrate its new prototype for wireless high data rate Li-Fi (light fidelity) transmission at Light + Building 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany, March 30-April 4. The technology employs the high-frequency modulation capabilities of light-emitting diode (LED) engines used in commercial lighting. It achieves throughputs of up to 10Mb/s at a range of three meters, suitable for HD video streaming or Internet browsing, using light power of less than 1,000 lumens and with direct or even indirect lighting. With this first proof of concept and its expertise in RF communications, Leti forecasts data transmission rates in excess of 100Mb/s with traditional lighting based on LED lamps using this technology approach and without altering the high-performance lighting characteristics.

Solid State Watch: February 14-20, 2014

Friday, February 21st, 2014
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Blog review February 10, 2014

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Dick James of ChipWorks blogs that when Intel launched their Haswell series chips last June, they stated that the high-end systems would have embedded DRAM, as a separate chip in the package. “It took us a while to track down a couple of laptops with the requisite Haswell version, but we did and now we have a few images that show it’s a very different structure from the other e-DRAMs that we’ve seen,” he notes.

Phil Garrou continues his look at the 2013 Georgia Tech Interposer Conference, focusing on presentations from Amkor and GlobalFoundries. He writes that Ron Huemoeller of Amkor projects that in the high end silicon will dominate; in the mid-end, silicon will be prominent and organic /glass may play a role; in the low end, organic, or low cost glass or silicon if they exist will play a role. Dave McCann of GlobalFoundries examined market needs for interposers.

Semico’s review of the latest and greatest from the Consumer Electronics Show highlights five technologies they think you should pay attention to as game changers: 3D Printing, the Bosch wireless sensor network for IoT; Bionics: Thought-controlled prosthetics; Aging in place: Pain relief; and LED Lighting.

Vivek Bakshi, of EUV Litho, Inc., ponders some interesting questions, such as how important is the semiconductor industry relative to other industries, and how did we get to where we are, the continuation of Moore’s Law and why have there been so few Nobel prizes given to the chip industry?

Karen Lightman of the MEMS Industry Group says the upcoming MEMS Executive Congress Europe “checks all the boxes” with great content and speakers, networking time with MEMS industry execs and OEM users, and an unbeatable location in Munich.

Pete Singer takes a look back at February 1964 through the pages of Solid State Technology, when wafers were small, dreams were big and The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show. The issue discussed thermionic energy convertors, the potential of which is still being explored today by Stanford.

The Week In Review: February 6, 2014

Friday, February 7th, 2014

The Financial Times (FT) is reporting that IBM Corp is exploring the sale of its semiconductor business and has hired Goldman Sachs to find potential buyers. The FT report continues that another financial option may be to find a partner for a JV to jointly run its semiconductor business. FT projects that the most likely buyers would be Global Foundries or TSMC  since it is likely that these two foundry giants along with Samsung and Intel will be the only players left in advanced chip manufacturing as the cost of 20nm and lower fabs now exceeds $6B.

Research reported this week shows that electrical resistance in nanoribbons of epitaxial graphene changes in discrete steps following quantum mechanical principles. The research shows that the graphene nanoribbons act more like optical waveguides or quantum dots, allowing electrons to flow smoothly along the edges of the material. In ordinary conductors such as copper, resistance increases in proportion to the length as electrons encounter more and more impurities while moving through the conductor.

In a merger that will bring together two key suppliers in the semiconductor industry, Entegris, Inc. and ATMI announced Entegris will acquire ATMI for approximately $1.15 billion, or approximately $850 million net of cash acquired, including the net cash proceeds from the sale of ATMI’s LifeSciences business of $170 million. The companies anticipate closing the transaction in the second quarter of 2014.

The closing Executive Panel discussion at the SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium on January 15 provoked diverse views on the drivers and future of innovation in the microelectronics manufacturing supply chain.  While technology demand and manufacturing efficiency provide the motivation for continued innovation in the minds of some, others believe the supply chain is forfeiting its value proposition and places too much emphasis on cost reduction. For the full story on Solid State Technology, click here.

Intel Corporation this week announced that its board of directors elected five new corporate vice presidents.

Blog review February 3, 2014

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Ira Feldman provides an interesting perspective on last month’s SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium. He notes that numerous speakers including Jon Casey (IBM) and Mike Mayberry (Intel) stated that scaling will continue below the 10 nm process node perhaps to 5 or 7 nm. However, the question raised by both the speakers and the audience was at what cost will this scaling be achieved.

“Long live the FinFET,” says Zhihong Liu, Executive Chairman, ProPlus Design Solutions, Inc. In this blog post, he describes how designers will have to seek out new tools and methodologies to overcome FinFET design challenges. One example is the adoption of giga-scale parallel SPICE simulators to harness circuit simulation challenges in FinFET designs. Traditional SPICE simulators don’t have the capacity and lack sufficient performance to support FinFET designs, while FastSPICE simulators likely will not meet accuracy requirements, he writes.

Adele Hars of Advanced Substrate News reports that STMicroelectronics will soon be announcing a “major foundry player” that will be both a dual FD-SOI manufacturing source for ST, plus an open source for the industry. This important piece of news came out of the company’s Q4 and FY13 presentation in Paris on January 28th.

Phil Garrou finishes up his review of the IMAPS 2013 meeting, with an analysis of Xilinx/SPIL results from their 2.5D 28nm FPGA program, a review of the Copper TSV work presented by Nanyang/IME, Canon’s FPA-5510iV and FPA-5510iZ TSA steppers designed to support high density processes and the implementation of 2.5 & 3D technology, and a report on the embedded technology being developed by AT&S.

Blog review January 21, 2014

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Zvi Or-Bach, President and CEO of MonolithIC 3D weighs in on the battle of Intel vs TSMC in the foundry space, after conflicting stories appeared. One said that Intel had a huge pricing advantage over TSMC, and a second story noted TSMC’s boast that it was “far superior” to Intel and Samsung as a partner fab.

Adele Hars looks back at 2013 from the SOI perspective. In this “Part 2” post, she focuses on developments that last year brought in the areas of RF-SOI and SOI-FinFETs. Part 1 focused on the general SOI picture. Stayed tuned for a look at 2014.

Phil Garrou reports on some of the key 3DIC presentations from the IEEE Internal Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), held in December in Washington, D.C. , focusing on papers from Micron, TSMC, Tohoku Univ., NC State and ASET. He said that Micron’s Naga Chandrasekaran addressed challenges in future memory manufacturing for both front end 3D NAND and back end 3DIC stacking, noting that he does not see any of the newer memory technologies making inroads against conventional DRAM or NAND in the next decade.

The Week in Review: Dec. 20, 2013

Friday, December 20th, 2013

3DIC memory, and therefore all of 2.5/3D technology, took one step closer to full commercialization last week with the HBM joint development announcement from AMD and Hynix at the RTI 3D ASIP meeting in Burlingame, CA. Bryan Black, Sr Fellow and 3D program manager at AMD noted that while die stacking has caught on in FPGAs and image sensors “..there is nothing yet in mainstream computing CPUs, GPUs or APUs” but that “HBM (high bandwidth memory) will change this.”  Black continued,  “Getting 3D going will take a BOLD move and AMD is ready to make that move.” Black announced that AMD is co-developing HBM with SK Hynix which is currently sampling the HBM memory stacks and that AMD “…is ready to work with customers.”

ABI Research verified that Intel has a leading position in the mobile processor technology race; launching the first 22nm mobile application processor. The 22nm quad-core application processor (Intel Z3740D) was found in a Dell tablet that was recently launched for the Christmas season. “2013 saw a number of new processor launches with 32nm and 28nm technology (most from fabless companies) but Intel has used one of its core advantages [process technology] to pass them all,” Jim Mielke, VP of engineering at ABI Research, commented. “The 22nm process node used for the Z3740D is not just the smallest geometry in a mobile device today; it also introduces a new transistor. The core transistor structure used in the 22nm Z3740D is quite different than structures used in previous generations. The core transistor found in the device ABI Research analyzed has a gate that surrounds source/drain diffusion fins on three sides giving it the name tri-gate or 3D transistor.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.24 billion in orders worldwide in November 2013 (three-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 1.11, according to the November EMDS Book-to-Bill Report published today by SEMI.   A book-to-bill of 1.11 means that $111 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month. “The continuing rise in equipment bookings clearly points to year-end order activity that is substantially stronger compared to one year ago,” said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI.  ”This trend supports the current outlook showing a rebound in equipment spending for 2014.”

Soitec and CEA have renewed their partnership for the next five years. This new contract aims to support Soitec’s strategy for the electronics, solar energy and lighting markets. It will focus on engineered substrates and materials offering higher performances and energy savings at a competitive cost. As the new partnership is putting in place a powerful R&D ecosystem, time from research to product will be considerably reduced. Thanks to the strengths of CEA-Leti in electronic materials, multi-domain research and its pre-industrialization infrastructure, competitive R&D sample prototyping will be enabled thru a common platform, reducing time to market and R&D costs for Soitec and its customers.

Micron Technology, Inc. announced its collaboration with Broadcom Corporation to develop the industry’s first solution designed for customers challenged by an intrinsic DDR3 timing parameter called tFAW, or four activate window.

Solid State Watch: Dec. 13-19, 2013

Friday, December 20th, 2013
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Blog Review: November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Zvi Or-Bach, president and CEO of MonolithIC 3D, blogs about a recent announcement by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on company expansion focused on a foundry plan. Or-Bach said that if Intel could keep the traditional 30% cost reduction per node from 28nm to 10nm, and the foundry’s cost per transistor is staying flat, then Intel would be able to provide their foundry customers SoC products at a third of the other foundries cost, and accordingly Intel should be able to do very well in its foundry business.

Vivek Bakshi, EUV Litho, Inc. reports on work presented at the 2013 Source Workshop (Nov 3-7, 2013, Dublin, Ireland), including data on the readiness of 50 W EUV sources to support EUVL scanners. At the meeting, keynoter Vadim Banine of ASML said that 50 W EUV sources have now demonstrated good dose control and are now available for deployment in the field. ASML also presented data on the feasibility of source power of 175 W at the first focus (720 W at source), and utilizing new, protective cap layers to give collectors six months of life.

At the GaTech Global Interposer Technology Workshop (GIT) in Atlanta, the pervasive theme appeared to be whether a change in substrate is required to lower overall costs and help drive HVM (high volume manufacturing) applications. Phil Garrou reports on the workshop, including presentations from Ron Huemoeller of Amkor and David McCann of GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

Pete Singer provides a preview of a special focus session at the upcoming IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), scheduled for December 9 – 11, 2013. The session covers many of today’s hot topics: memory, LEDs, silicon photonics, interposers, SOI finFETS and 450mm.

Dr. Lianfeng Yang of ProPlus Design Solutions, Inc., blogs that these days, circuit designers are talking about the increasing giga-scale circuit size. Semiconductor CMOS technology downscaled to nano-scale, forcing the move to make designing for yield (DFY) mandatory and compelling them to re-evaluate how they design and verify their chips.

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