By Mark LaPedus
IC makers have been looking at the electric vehicle industry for growth. So whatever happened to the electric car? Toyota has scaled back the sales targets for its electric car. According to Lux Research, the head of Toyota’s vehicle development gave a vote of no confidence for the technology, by saying the “capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs.” Meanwhile, Tesla Motors recently lowered its sales targets. Another car maker, Nissan, is offering big discounts on the Leaf because of slow sales. GM’s Chevy Volt has struggled to win customers, even though it’s not purely electric. And Fisker Automotive, which uses the same approach as Chevy, has experienced an assortment of problems.
At the 2012 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), slated for Dec. 10-12 in San Francisco, Applied Materials and Synopsys are expected to submit a paper entitled, “Is strain engineering scalable in FinFET era? Teaching the old dog some new tricks.” “Strain technology has been a key enabler for improving transistor performance in the past decade. With the industry moving toward a 3-D FinFET structure from a planar MOSFET, the corresponding implications on stressor design needs to be analyzed afresh due to strong orientation dependence of stress enhancements,” according to the IEDM abstract from the companies. “In this work we have tried to address both issues; stressor design for FinFETs and scalability of corresponding stress enhancements. We found that the S/D epi remains an effective and scalable source of strain engineering for FinFETs. Contact and gate metals provide new knobs for engineering strain in FinFETs and remain effective with conservative scaling of contact/gate CD.”
Altatech, a subsidiary of Soitec, has introduced a multi-chamber chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that enables photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers to develop and optimize their solar cell designs using advanced thin-film deposition of amorphous silicon and other materials. By performing all deposition processes within a single system, the new AltaCVD Solarlab tool reduces cycle times and materials consumption in fabricating advanced single-junction, tandem-junction and triple-junction PV cells.
GlobalFoundries is preparing to build a three-story, 565,000-square-foot manufacturing research center, according to a report.
While over-capacity continues to plague the global solar industry, the Taiwan PV industry is operating at high-capacity, according to SEMI.
SVTC Technologies is struggling and has apparently cut workers, according to reports, which added that the R&D foundry is mulling plans to close its sites in Austin, Texas and San Jose. Multiple sources say SVTC may completely shut down. In an e-mail, SVTC declined to comment on the reports. A spokesman for Oak Hill Capital declined to comment. Oak Hill is an investor in SVTC. In 2007, Cypress sold its R&D fab unit to Oak Hill and Tallwood Venture for approximately $53 million. SVTC became a “lab-to-fab” facility aimed at third-party engineering groups.
As it turns out, Tezzaron Semiconductor has signed a contract to purchase the assets of a semiconductor technology development and wafer fabrication facility in Austin, Texas, previously run by SVTC. Tezzaron will continue the operations of this facility while adding capabilities to assemble its own 3D devices.
Struggling Renesas has obtained a $6 billion bailout from various banks. The chipmaker announced the execution of an agreement of a syndicate loan, with Mizuho, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation.
Sharp has obtained a syndicated loan as it struggles to find investors.
For its 2012 fiscal year, Micron reported a net loss of $1.03 billion. C.J. Muse, an analyst with Barclays, said: “While Micron was hesitant to provide any speculative commentary around the potential Elpida acquisition, management did note that the deal is expected to close in [the first half of calendar year 2013].”
The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has announced the initial publication of its Synchronous DDR4 standard.
Intel and its OEM partners unveiled the first wave of new tablets and tablet convertible designs based on Intel processors, including the new Atom Z2760, formerly codenamed “Clover Trail.”
Samsung’s foundry business has been selected by STMicroelectronics to provide it with products at the 32/28nm process node.
X-Fab plans to invest more than $50 million in its MEMS operations over the next three years.
Diodes plans to acquire Power Analog Microelectronics.
Gartner says Windows 8 is a big gamble Microsoft must make to stay relevant.
IC Insights believes that the more profitable foundries will be those that keep at the leading-edge of the process technology roadmap.
The average amount of DRAM in each smartphone shipped worldwide is expected to surge by nearly 50 percent this year, according to iSuppli.