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Archive for March, 2014

The ConFab R&D Panel is Set

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A panel session at The ConFab, to be held June 22-25 in Las Vegas, will focus on how the semiconductor industry can continue to innovate in an environment where lower revenue growth is combined with rising development costs and consolidation.  The panel will discuss where the next big growth drivers will come from and the ability of the industry to continue scaling and remain on Moore’s Law through the introduction of new technologies such as EUV, Advanced Packaging and 450mm.  How will the costs to develop these and other technologies affect innovation and what levers can be utilized to gain more efficiencies in R&D.  The panel will also discuss what role startups will play in the industries going forward and how can increased collaboration benefit the industry. 

The panel, to be moderated by Scott Jones of Alix Partners, will consist of:

Rory McInerny, Vice President Platform Engineering Group, Intel

Chris Danely, Senior Analyst, JP Morgan

Mike Noonen, Co-founder, Silicon Catalyst

Lode Lauwers, Senior Director of Business Development, imec

Some of the subjects that will be covered:

Where does do the next growth drivers come from?

When will wearables, medical devices and the internet of things really drive revenue growth?

What challenges do we have on the R&D side in servicing the growth areas more quickly?

How are the costs of scaling and the development costs of SOCs affecting growth?

What advances from the chip design and architecture side are compensating for the challenges in scaling?

What view does the institutional investing community have on investing in innovation versus acquiring it?

What is the state of the Start-up environment in Semiconductors?

How do we leverage collaboration more to improve on our return on R&D investment?

Click here for more information on The ConFab 2014 agenda.

Webcast on 3D Integration/Advanced Packaging, Lithography

Monday, March 24th, 2014

If you’ve been following the field of 3D integration for any time at all, then you’re familiar with Sitaram Arkalgud. In addition to being a great guy, he led the charge on 3D integration at SEMATECH in the early days. He’s now at Invensas and I’m very much looking forward to hearing from him again, this Thursday at 1:00 Eastern. You can hear from him too, by tuning into our webcast. But first you’ll have to register: https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1032084

Sitaram will be joined by Rich Rogoff, vp and general manager of the Lithography Systems Group at Rudolph Technologies. Rich recently wrote an interesting article “A square peg in a round hole: The economics of panel-based lithography for advanced packaging” and he’s going to expand on that in the second part of the webcast on Thursday.

Here’s a little more information on the webcast, Sitaram and Rich.

2.5/3D integration and advanced packaging enable better chip performance in a smaller form factor, meeting the needs of smartphones, tablets, and other advanced devices. However, 2.5/3D packaging creates a new set of manufacturing challenges, such as the need to fabricate copper pillars, TSVs, wafer bumping and redistribution layers – which may involve thicker photoresists, spin-on dielectrics and BCB coatings — and processing may be done on panels instead of round wafers. In this webcast, experts will detail various options, future scenarios and challenges that must still be overcome.

Sitaram Arkalgud is Vice President, 3D technology at Invensas Corp., where he leads the company’s 3D-IC research and development efforts. Prior to Invensas, he started and led 3D-IC development at SEMATECH, where the focus was on delivering manufacturable process technologies for 3D interconnects. Previously, Sitaram worked in a variety of roles spanning R&D and manufacturing in memory and logic technologies at Infineon/Qimonda and Motorola. He is the author of several publications and holds 14 U.S. patents. Sitaram holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering from Karnataka Regional Engineering College, Surathkal, India.

Richard Rogoff is Vice President and General Manager of the Lithography Systems Group at Rudolph Technologies. Prior to joining Rudolph he spent 23 years with ASML in various executive, operational and engineering positions. Most recently he served as Vice President of ASML optics business unit. He received a B.S. in Microelectronic Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and a M.B.A. from INSEAD Business School.

Qualcomm’s Dr. Roawen Chen to keynote at The ConFab

Monday, March 17th, 2014

I’m delighted to report that Dr. Roawen Chen, Senior Vice Present of global operations at Qualcomm, has accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote talk at The ConFab, on Monday June 23rd. As previously announced, Dr. Gary Patton, Vice President of IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center in East Fishkill, New York, will deliver the keynote on the second day, on Tuesday June 24th. I’m thrilled to have these two visionaries speak to The ConFab audience.

In his role at Qualcomm, Roawen oversees the worldwide operations and supply chain, silicon and package technology, quality/reliability, and procurement functions for the Qualcomm semiconductor business. He has overall responsibility for driving the global integrated fabless strategy and execution.

Roawen is an experienced leader in all aspects of semiconductor operations and supply chain management with a solid background in leading large-scale fabless operations. In addition to his strong technical depth, he has proven experience in building close supplier and vendor relationships and executing to support customer demand and product development. Prior to Qualcomm, Roawen was Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Marvell Semiconductor in Santa Clara, California. During his more than 12 years at Marvell, Roawen held a variety of leadership roles, including Vice President and General Manager of the Communications and Computing business unit and Vice President and General Manager of the Connectivity business unit. He has also served in management roles in Marvell’s Foundry Operations and Manufacturing Technology groups.

Prior to Marvell, Roawen held technical positions at TSMC-USA and Intel. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, a master’s degree in Materials Science from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

The ConFab will be held June 22-25 at The Encore at The Wynn in Las Vegas.

Dr. Gary Patton to provide keynote at The ConFab

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I’m very pleased to announce that IBM’s Dr. Gary Patton will provide the keynote talk at The ConFab on Tuesday, June 24th. Gary is Vice President of IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center in East Fishkill, New York. He has responsibility for IBM’s semiconductor R&D roadmap, operations, and technology development alliances, with primary locations in East Fishkill, New York, Burlington, Vermont, and the Albany Nanotech Research Center in Albany, New York. During his career at IBM, Dr. Patton has held various management and executive positions in IBM’s Microelectronics, Storage Technology, and Research Divisions, including positions in technology and product development, manufacturing, and business line management. Dr. Patton received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from UCLA and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE.

After Gary’s keynote, we’ll have a panel session focused on R&D collaboration. Moderated by Scott Jones of Alix Partners, the panel will include Rory McInerney, VP of the platform engineering group at Intel; Chris Danely, the Managing Director and global coordinator for J.P. Morgan’s semiconductor research team; and Mike Noonen, co-founder of Silicon Catalyst, the industry’s first semiconductor startup “incubator”.

It promises to be a very interesting morning! The ConFab will be held June 22-25 at The Encore at The Wynn in Las Vegas.

Mission accomplished. Now what?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, when our magazine staff gathered for dinner we often made a toast: “Here’s to chip silicon!” I really believed (and still do) that making electronics more affordable would increase their use and make our lives better and the world a better place to be.

I haven’t toasted to cheap silicon for a while. Why? Because that mission has been accomplished.

At SEMI’s ISS, Paul Farrar, manager of the G450C consortium put the industry progress over the last 40+ years in perspective. “1 Megabyte of memory in 1970 was $750,000. It was sold as an IBM add-on,” he said. “The great technology was made of 57mm wafers, five masking levels, and one level of metal. Today, it’s is less than a penny. That is a 100 million X improvement.”  

Of course, most people would like to see this trend continue, but it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see such dramatic progress. Scaling is getting too expensive. The transition to 450mm looks feasible from a technical standpoint (see my column on pg. 10) but it’s not yet clear if it will be less expensive than 300mm, particularly when you factor in 450mm lithography. 

So if the scaling mission is accomplished, what’s next? There’s exploding interest in the “Internet of Things” where almost everything is tagged and connected. That will require some big upgrades in the server/network infrastructure, but that can be done with existing technology. It will also require inexpensive sensors and wireless communication. By some estimates, the technology to achieve that is not ready. We need about a 10X improvement in price/performance. Ditto for wearable electronics and a whole host of applications in medical, automotive and the smart grid.

In the future, perhaps electronics will be printed like potato chip bags on roll-to-roll machines with ink-jet-like deposition of materials. Perhaps tiny MEMS with integrated sensors, thin-film batteries, energy harvesting, microprocessors and other functions will be produced for less than a penny. Perhaps everyone will have inexpensive body area networks embedded in their clothing that constantly monitor their health.

It’s all possible, but it will take some innovation in processing equipment and materials.