Monday, May 21, 2018

ASML wins first order from China

TAIPEI -- Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co., China's top state-backed contract chipmaker, has placed an order for one set of extreme-ultraviolet lithography equipment, the costliest and most advanced chip production tool, to close technology gaps with market leaders and to secure the supply of critical gear amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China, according to people familiar with the matter.
 
 
The company's move to purchase its first EUV lithography equipment from Dutch chip gear builder ASML, worth $120 million, highlights its growing ambition to help boost Chinese homegrown semiconductor manufacturing technology, even though it is still two to three generations behind market leaders. The move also secures the supply of the cutting-edge lithography tool that all top global chip giants, including Intel, Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., are buying to ensure the later production of more powerful and advanced chips.

Full story: Nikkei Asian Review LINK
 
Read more at DutchNews.nl: LINK

Chipmachine marker ASML of Veldhoven has won its first-ever order from China, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Wednesday. The paper said Chinese Semiconductor Manufacturing International has ordered a $120m extreme ultraviolet lithography machine from ASML which never identifies its customers. Citing Nikkei Asian Review the FD said this is the latest in a series of orders for the EUV machines from ASML.


AMEC first Chinese firm to be ranked in VLSI Research’s Customer Satisfaction Survey

SHANGHAI, China, May 17, 2018 – Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) today announced that it has achieved high scores in the 2018 Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) conducted annually by leading US market research firm, VLSIresearch. The survey, which began in 1988, is the only one of its kind that lets customers in multiple regions provide anonymous feedback on their overall experience with worldwide suppliers of semiconductor equipment and subsystems. AMEC is the only China-based company to be recognized in the list of winners that includes companies from the US, Europe, Asia and Israel.

AMEC earned a second-place ranking in the 10 BEST Focused Suppliers of Chip Making Equipment category, with customers citing the company as a trusted and recommended supplier. AMEC was also ranked in two additional survey categories, achieving third place in THE BEST Suppliers of Fab Equipment and fourth place in THE BEST Suppliers of Fab Equipment to Specialty Chip Makers.
 

AMEC’s CEO, Dr. Gerald Z. Yin, remarked that providing an exemplary customer experience is a success imperative for a company offering advanced micro-fabrication equipment. “We are very pleased that customers recognize AMEC’s value and benefit from the performance, productivity, quality, and cost advantages of our Etch and MOCVD technology and products,” he said. “It is a special thrill when their satisfaction with our service and support is also recognized in a prestigious global survey.”

Dr. Yin continued: “AMEC is still a young and fast-growing company, however. As we journey to maturity, we must work harder and smarter to continuously innovate and improve so that we may become an even better supplier to our customers. We’re grateful to work with such innovative companies in several regions, and we appreciate their ongoing support.”

VLSIresearch’s President, Risto Puhakka, commended AMEC for the company’s strong showing in its first VLSIresearch CSS. “We are impressed by the quality feedback shared by customers on AMEC’s behalf, as well as their enthusiasm for the technology solutions and support they receive from their supplier. This is the first time that a China-based company has ranked in the CSS. It is an indication of China’s fast-growing semiconductor manufacturing industry which is being well served by leading indigenous process technology companies like AMEC, as well as other global players.”

AMEC’s COO, Dr. Zhiyou Du, noted that ensuring customer satisfaction would be impossible without the company’s talented employees. “At our headquarters and in the field, every AMEC employee is committed to supporting and helping our global customers innovate new products and achieve success in their respective markets. The CSS results reflect their dedication and accomplishments. Maintaining high satisfaction levels is a strategic imperative for AMEC and we will continue to invest in the people, technology and infrastructure to meet the imperative.”

Samsung and SK Hynix to increase fab investment in semiconductors

The Korea Times Report: Samsung Electronics and SK hynix plan to invest up to 45 trillion won to enhance their semiconductor manufacturing facilities mostly in Korea, officials directly involved with the matter said Monday.

While consumers may know the brands for handsets and TVs, Samsung is the long-time leader in the semiconductor industry. SK hynix is the runner-up.

According to major investment banks, semiconductors generated almost half the operating revenue of Samsung Electronics last year. The latest investment means revenue could swell further.
 

"The combined investment by Samsung Electronics and SK hynix in facilities throughout this year will be 45 trillion won because Samsung is increasing its investment in chip fabrication facilities to 30 trillion won from an earlier 27.3 trillion won," said an official wishing to remain anonymous. That will see SK hynix increase its capital expenditure to 15 trillion won.

An SK hynix official said its adjusted 2018 investment is subject to change, according to market conditions. The company, affiliated with SK Group, earlier said it would invest 13 trillion won. The SK unit is actively using high chip prices to lift its position in the industry with the aggressive spending. 

It is part of a consortium led by U.S.-based fund Bain Capital that agreed to purchase Toshiba's memory chip business, which was recently approved by China.

Veeco Instruments: ON Semi Orders Veeco MOCVD System

ON Semiconductor Inc. has ordered the Propel High-Volume Manufacturing (HVM) Gallium Nitride (GaN) Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) system from Veeco Instruments Inc.
 
The Propel GaN MOCVD system is specifically designed for high-voltage power-management devices used in data centers; automotive, information and communication technology; defense; aerospace and power distribution systems, among other applications.
 

Propel Power GaN MOCVD System for Power Electronics. A Single-Wafer Reactor Technology to Enable Efficient, GaN-Based Power Devices (LINK)
 
"Our prior learning with Veeco's K465i GaN MOCVD system drove us to investigate the Propel HVM platform for our production ramp," said Marnix Tack, senior director of corporate R&D and open innovation at ON Semiconductor. 
 
"The beta test results demonstrated superior device performance with high uniformity and within-wafer and wafer-to-wafer repeatability, while meeting our cost-of-ownership targets for six- and eight-inch wafers. As such, the Propel HVM system proved to be the most suitable platform for our power electronics manufacturing needs."
 
The Propel HVM platform is based on Veeco's innovative single-wafer system with proprietary IsoFlange and SymmHeat technologies that provide homogeneous laminar flow and uniform temperature profile across the entire wafer. The system enables production of power electronics, laser diodes, radio frequency devices and advanced LEDs with higher performance and production yields while ensuring low cost of ownership.

Source: Photonics LINK

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

TSMC Details 5 nm Process Technology

At a special event last week, TSMC announced the first details about its 5 nm manufacturing technology that it plans to use sometime in 2020. CLN5 will be the company's second fabrication process to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which is going to enable TSMC to aggressively increase its transistor density versus prior generations. However, when it comes to performance and power improvements, the gains do not look very significant.Just like other fabs, TSMC will gradually ramp up usage of ASML's Twinscan NXE:3400 EUV step and scan systems. 
 
Next year TSMC will start using EUV tools to pattern non-critical layers of chips made using its second-gen 7 nm fabrication technology (CLN7FF+). Usage of EUV for non-critical layers will bring a number of benefits to the CLN7FF+ vs. the original CLN7FF process, but the advantages will be limited: TSMC expects the CLN7FF+ to offer a 20% higher transistor density and a 10% lower power consumption at the same complexity and frequency when compared to the CLN7FF. 
 
TSMC's 5 nm (CLN5) technology will increase the usage of EUV tools and this will bring rather massive advantages when it comes to transistor density: TSMC is touting a 1.8x higher transistor density (~45% area reduction) when compared to the original CLN7FF, but it will only enable a 15% frequency gain (at the same complexity and power) or a 20% power reduction (at the same frequency and complexity). With the CLN5, TSMC will also offer an Extremely Low Threshold Voltage (ELTV) option that will enable its clients to increase frequencies of their chips by 25%, but the manufacturer has yet to describe the tech in greater detail.The rather small, incremental improvements that TSMC is discussing for the CLN7FF to CLN7FF+ and CLN7FF+ to CLN5 transitions indicate that it gets increasingly harder to offer decent gains from generation to the next. It remains to be seen whether all of TSMC's leading-edge customers will keep adopting all the latest process technologies that the company offers, or will miss certain cycles given small incremental increases, but large companies (such as Apple) adopted all the latest fabrication processes in the recent years (i.e., it made economic sense to adopt them). 
 
Source: AnandTech LINK

Picosun aims for even stronger growth with bridge financing while preparing to be listed

ESPOO, Finland, 8th May, 2018 – Picosun Group, a leading provider of ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) thin film coating technology for global industries, has decided of minimum one and a half million euros’ increase of the share capital in its Extraordinary General Meeting. This sum, coming from the existing shareholders, is a part of minimum five million euros’ bridge financing.

”We have invested a lot of money in research and development, which shows now in extremely strong growth. With the bridge financing we enable acceleration of this growth while preparing to be listed,” says Mr. Kustaa Poutiainen, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Picosun Group.

In the previous fiscal year, which ended 30th September 2017, Picosun’s turnover grew 28 percent to 18.9 million euros. During the first half of the current fiscal year the growth increased to 61 percent.

The growth continues, as in the end of March 2018 the value of Picosun’s 12 month cumulative received new orders was 27.8 million euros. As of today, the company’s order backlog is worth 11 millions. At the same time, Picosun has improved its profit.

”We have earned the trust of also our big, industrial customers, which is why especially our repeat sales have grown. We will always take good care of our R&D, agility, and fulfilling our customers’ needs,” Poutiainen continues.

In the first half of the current fiscal year Picosun’s net profit was 1.2 million euros.

ALD is a Finnish invention, patented by Dr. Tuomo Suntola already in 1974. Suntola is a Picosun Board Member and one of the owners of the company.

Ultra-thin and pinhole-free films deposited with Picosun’s ALD equipment cover perfectly even three-dimensional surfaces. ALD technology is a necessity in microelectronics and LED industries and in manufacturing protective coatings on various objects.

The use of ALD expands fast, as new applications emerge all the time.

”We are especially excited when the new financing enables us to help also the health industries to develop. Picosun has developed ALD coating solutions for e.g. surgical implants and medicines, and our customers are already using these solutions in their production. We believe that ALD can give a giant boost to health industries, just like it did to electronics industry,” states Poutiainen.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Veeco Instruments reports revenue jumped to $158.6 million in 1Q/2018

Veeco Instruments Inc. Monday reported a jump in first-quarter revenue driven in part by strong demand for its equipment used in producing light-emitting diodes. The Plainview company had revenue of $158.6 million for the quarter ended March 31. That compared wuth revenue of $94.5 million in the 2017 period.

John R. Peeler, Veeco's chairman and chief executive, in a statement, attributed the revenue growth to shipments of specialized lithography systems and equipment used in producing LEDs. The company posted a net loss of $15.8 million, or 34 cents per share, versus net income of $1.6 million, or 4 cents a share in the 2017 period.

Source: Newsday LINK

Aixtron: VPEC expands capacities with Aixtron technology

Taiwanese epi foundry, Visual Photonics Epitaxy Co. Ltd. (VPEC), chooses Aixtron MOCVD systems to meet growing demand for lasers and other devices.
Aixtron will deliver all AIX 2800G4 reactors with an 8x6-inch wafer configuration for maximum yield at high quality levels.

“Aixtron is the leading provider of high-volume manufacturing equipment for arsenide phosphide (AsP) based materials. As a proven tool for high-volume production in the area of photonic applications, the AIX 2800G4 system delivers exactly the outstanding uniformity and reproducibility, but also flexibility and versatility that we require as an epi foundry to serve the needs of our demanding customers,” Neil Chen, Senior Vice President of VPEC, says in the release.

“Driven by the growing number of applications and the continuing penetration of high-end communication technology, the demand for arsenide phosphide based optoelectronic devices such as VCSELs or datacom lasers is expected to increase further. Based on a longstanding and trustful relationship with VPEC, we are looking forward to support the growth of one of the leading epi foundries in Asia”, says Dr. Bernd Schulte, President of Aixtron SE.

Source: Evertiq LINK

Friday, May 4, 2018

TSMC ramps 7nm and details technology roadmap including EUV for early 2019

[EE Times] TSMC announced that it is in volume production with a 7-nm process and will have a version using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography ramping early next year. In addition, it gave its first timeline for a 5-nm node and announced a half-dozen new packaging options.
TSMC is in volume production of 7-nm chips today with more than 50 tapeouts expected this year. It’s making CPUs, GPUs, AI accelerators, cryptocurrency mining ASICs, networking, gaming, 5G, and automotive chips.

The node delivers 35% more speed or uses 65% less power and sports a 3x gain in routed gate density compared to the 16FF+ generation two steps before it. By contrast, the N7+ node with EUV will only deliver 20% more density, 10% less power, and apparently no speed gains — and those advances require use of new standard cells.

Full article : EE Times LINK 
According to TSMC, their 7nm Fin Field-Effect Transistor (FinFET) process technology provides the industry's most competitive logic density and sets the industry pace for 7nm process technology development by delivering 256Mb SRAM with double-digit yields in June 2016. Risk production started in April 2017.
TSMC's 7nm Fin Field-Effect Transistor (FinFET) process technology [TSMC.com]

TSMC's 5 nm and a the later version of 7 nm FinFET will adopt EUV Lithography for more critical layers to reduce multi-pattern process complexity while achieving aggressive die area scaling. 
As reported in April, Intel has pushed out their 10 nm node to some time in 2019 due to yield issues in multiple patterning (LINK). The Intel 10 nm is comparable in transistor density too the Foundry 7 nm nodes (see graph below), which mean that by this announcement TSMC has taken over the lead from Intel in scaling.
Intel's Mark Bohr also declared the standard node inadequate and proposed that transistor density be used as a metric instead. However, Scotten Jones has calculated transistor densities for the manufacturers' processes using the Intel definition. When these are plotted against standard nodes, the densities are exactly what one would expect from the standard node values. The Intel transistor densities are values disclosed by Intel, rather than calculated. [Seeking Alpha, LINK]


SEMI reports 2017 Global Semiconductor Materials Sales Reach $46.9 Billion

[SEMI] The global semiconductor materials market increased 9.6 percent while worldwide semiconductor revenues increased 21.6 percent from the prior year in 2017. Total wafer fabrication materials and packaging materials totaled $27.8 billion and $19.1* billion, respectively, in 2017. In 2016, the wafer fabrication materials and packaging materials markets logged revenues of $24.7 billion and $18.2 billion, respectively, for 12.7 percent and 5.4 percent year-over-year increases, according to the SEMI Materials Market Data Subscription. 
 
For the eighth consecutive year, Taiwan, at $10.3 billion, was the largest consumer of semiconductor materials due to its large foundry and advanced packaging base. China solidified its hold on the second spot, followed by South Korea and Japan. The Taiwan, China, Europe and South Korea markets saw the strongest revenue growth, while the North America, Rest of World (ROW) and Japan materials markets experienced moderate single-digit growth. (The ROW region is defined as Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, other areas of Southeast Asia and smaller global markets.)
 
 

Full report: LINK

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Aixtron: Aixtron's orders grow 20% in Q1, driven by MOCVD systems for lasers in 3D sensing and datacoms


For first-quarter 2018, deposition equipment maker Aixtron SE of Herzogenrath, near Aachen, Germany has reported revenue of €62.4m, up 15% on €54.1m last quarter and 16% on €53.6m a year ago, driven by demand for metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) systems for making lasers such as vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) in 3D sensing as well as lasers for optical datacom applications.

Specifically, equipment revenue was €50.8m, up 17% on €43.5m a year ago (remaining 81% of total revenue). Meanwhile, revenue from spare parts & services has grown by 15% from €10.1m a year ago to €11.6m. 

 
Of equipment revenue, the proportion from MOCVD systems for the production of LEDs (including red-orange-yellow ‘ROY’ and specialty LEDs) shrank from 52% to just 14% (after selling its inventory of AIX R6 gallium nitride blue LED systems) and Power Electronics fell from 19% to 11%, while systems for the production of Optoelectronics (excluding LEDs) have proliferated from just 7% to 70%. This is after systems for Silicon comprised 20% of revenue a year ago, including the atomic layer deposition/chemical vapor deposition (ALD/CVD) product line for memory chip production (based at US subsidiary Aixtron Inc in Sunnyvale, CA, USA) that was sold to Eugene Technology Inc in November.

Source: Semiconductor Today LINK

Tokyo Electron is Challenging ASM International as The Leader in ALD Market share

Tokyo Electron recently (APR 25, 2018) presented their Q1/2018 numbers to share holders and released a slide deck (LINK) with some interesting new numbers on market share. For the first time it seems that another OEM is up there seriously challenging ASM International on the No.1 spot in ALD Equipment market share. ASM International has dominated the ALD segment with a share of >70% in 2014, but this share has slipped down year by year they have  lost their market share to well below 50% in 2017 due to strong competition in a rapidly expanding ALD market from Tokyo Electron, Lam Research, Kokusai, The Korean OEMs (Jusung Engineering, Wonik IPS and Eugene Technology) and also to some extent by Applied Materials.

According to the latest estimate based on Gartner research (released April 18, 2018), Tokyo Electron as of 2017 holds a 31% total market share of ALD wafer based processing equipment. That should include all wafer based ALD platforms, however some companies hide their ALD revenue in the CVD segments so you can not know for sure if you don´t know the data in detail. The segments are:
  • ALD Tube - Large batch furnaces, typically loading 100 or more wafers
  • Single wafer platforms
  • Multi wafer platforms, spatial or multi station

TEL Market share for 2017, Based on Gartner research (TEL Q1/2018 Earnings call slide deck) 

One explanation why Tokyo Electron has taken market share in ALD is because of a lot of the recent investments coming from DRAM and 3DNAND Fabs and not Logic Fabs (see below). Traditionally Tokyo Electron has been much stronger in Memory than ASM International. Here the Japanese have very attractive tools for commodity product manufacturing (DRAM and Flash memory chips) like their ALD Large Batch Furnaces and relatively new and successful NT333 Spatial ALD platforms.
TEL sales their FY 2016 to 2018 by segment (TEL Q1/2018 Earnings call slide deck) 

Also interesting is that Tokyo Electron presents a rather bright future with growth not only in DRAM and 3DNAND but also in Logic due to 10/7nm investments from the IDMs and Foundries.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Advanced Energy: Advanced Energy grows revenue more than 30 percent year over year

FORT COLLINS - Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) posted first-quarter earnings of $1.16 per share, or $46.4 million. The earnings are a significant improvement over the same period the year prior when Advanced Energy had a $29 million loss, or 73 cent loss per share. The Fort Collins-based company, which makes power technologies and solutions, posted quarterly revenue of $195.6 million, a 31 percent year-over-year increase and beating expectations by $7.7 million.

Advanced Energy has a critical position in the value chain for the leading edge Logic and Memory devices that we find in our day to day life electronic gadgets. (from IR Presentation – Winter 2018)
"Carrying on the momentum seen in 2017, first quarter semiconductor revenue again reached record levels while our Industrial business soared to new historical highs due to the rapid adoption of our advanced technology and expanding geographical presence," said Yuval Wasserman, president and CEO of Advanced Energy, in a prepared statement. "Our diversification strategy is working - producing strong results - as we continue to execute on our strategic plan towards our aspirational goals. We believe our strong balance sheet provides the flexibility required to acquire new products and technologies and return value to shareholders." 
The company's financial statements added that it has discontinued its inverter business, and is continuing operations in the precision power business. Looking ahead, Advanced Energy expects second-quarter earnings per share to be between $1.23 and $1.33. Revenue is expected to be between $193 million and $207 million. The post Advanced Energy grows revenue more than 30 percent year over year appeared first on BizWest.
Source: Boulder County Business Report LINK

Advanced Energy News release: LINK

Sunday, April 29, 2018

AMD will start sampling GPUs and CPUs based on 7nm later this year for full production in 2019

AMD reviled that their revenue was $1.65 billion, up 40 percent year-over-year and 23 percent quarter-over-quarter, driven primarily by higher revenue in the Computing and Graphics segment. During their 1Q/2018 earnings call (23rd of April 2018) with analysts AMS announced that they will start sampling GPUs and CPUs based on 7 nm later this year using both TSMC and Globalfoundries and ramp to full production in 2019. 7 nm Foundry and 10 nm Intel logic are roughly comparable in pitch and it will be interesting to follow AMD and Intel product launches the next year since Intel just announced they will be pushing out their 10 nm production to 2019.  Please find the statements  relating to 7 nm manufacturing below:


We have a 7-nanometer GPU based on Vega that we'll sample later this year. We have a 7-nanometer server CPU that we'll sample later this year. And then, obviously, we have a number of products that are planned for 2019 as well. So it's a very, very busy product season for us. But we're pleased with the sort of the execution on the product roadmap.

So our foundry strategy is to use both TSMC and GLOBALFOUNDRIES on the first 7-nanometer product. We are using TSMC for that product [the Vega GPU mentioned above] and we have a very strong relationship with them. And so, we do see a good momentum on it from what we see, and I'm not concerned about capacity.

7-nanometer Zen 2 based product we'll sample later this year to customers and that will be in production in 2019, and we do believe that the adoption rate of the second-generation could potentially be higher than the adoption rate of the first-generation, mostly because customers will be more familiar with our systems and our products. And so, we'll see how it goes, but we certainly – our overall goals are ambitious in the server space. 

I think as we look forward, and I think this is important, we believe that the 7-nanometer capability of the foundry ecosystem is very good, and that puts us in a good competitive spot from a manufacturing standpoint.
- Lisa T. Su - Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

Full Call Transcript as supplied by Seeking Alpha : LINK 

Friday, April 27, 2018

TSMC to invest $14 billion in R&D at Hsinchu facility

 
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is planning a T$400 billion ($13.50 billion) investment to expand its research and development capacity for future technologies, a company spokeswoman said on Friday.

Hsinchu serves as the company’s headquarters, a major production facility, and its research and development center, which focuses on future chip technology.

Intel shifts high volume 10 nm shipments to 2019 due to yield issues from multi-patterning

As reported by Reuters [LINK], Intel bet the earnings expectations for the first quarter driven by the biggest-ever quarterly jump in its data centre business and small-but-steady growth in its personal computer business.However, Intel also announced that they are pushing out volume production of their 10 nm Logic process to 2019, which was most recently announced for the 2nd half of 2018. during the 1Q 2018 earnings conference calls more details were given:

[Seeking Alpha, LINK] "We continue to make progress on our 10-nanometer process. We are shipping in low volume and yields are improving, but the rate of improvement is slower than we anticipated. As a result, volume production is moving from the second half of 2018 into 2019. We understand the yield issues and have defined improvements for them, but they will take time to implement and qualify. We have leadership products on the roadmap that continue to take advantage of 14-nanometer, with Whiskey Lake for clients and Cascade Lake for the data center coming later this year.

Moore's Law is essential to our strategy and our product leadership. It continues to create significant value for Intel and our customers. While it's taking longer and costing more to deliver and yield advanced process technologies, we are able to optimize our process and products within the node to deliver meaningful performance improvements.

For example, 14-nanometer process optimizations and architectural improvements have resulted in performance gains of more than 70% since the first 14-nanometer products were launched. We combine these advances in manufacturing technology and architecture to produce truly leadership products. And it's that product leadership that ultimately matters most to our customers and end users."

Brian M. Krzanich - Intel Corp.

Earnings call slides [Seeking Alpha, LINK]

In the Q&A Mr. Krzanich elaborated on the reason behind the 10 nm push out and he explained how it is mainly due to yield issues coming from multiple patterning (SADP and SAQP):

- Intel have 10 nm product and process leadership and are shipping 10 nm products today. 
- Those are the densest, highest performing products out there.
- Intel is slowing the ramp down to fix yield issues related to patterning.
- In multi-multi-patterning (SAQP) there are six layers of patterning to produce a feature. 
- Intel understand the yield issues, which are tied to 10 nm being the last technology tied to not using EUV and the amount of multi-patterning and the effects of that on defects.


Intel’s 10 nm Platform Process was presented in detail at the IEDM 2017 (Dec 2017) “A 10nm High Performance and Low-Power CMOS Technology Featuring 3rd Generation FinFET Transistors, Self-Aligned Quad Patterning, Contact over Active Gate and Cobalt Local Interconnects” and you may study the details in this excellent article by Dick James [Solid State Technology, LINK]

Media coverage:
 
The Register
 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Intel soars after brighter forecast for data centres, memory

(Reuters) - Intel Corp beat earnings expectations for the first quarter and raised its full-year revenue and profit forecasts on Thursday, driven by the biggest-ever quarterly jump in its data centre business and small-but-steady growth in its personal computer business.

Shares of the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker rose 5.4 percent to $55.95 in after-market trading after it said it expects full-year revenue of $67.5 billion, up $2.5 billion from prior guidance. 
 
Source: Reuters LINK

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Micron gearing up for 10nm-class DRAM production in Taiwan

Micron Technology is gearing up to expand production 10nm-class DRAM chips at its Taiwan-based fabs between 2018 and 2019.

At its factory site in Taichung, central Taiwan (formerly Rexchip Electronics), commercial production of chips built using 1Xnm process technology already kicked off, according to Micron VP of global manufacturing Wayne Allan. The site will move forward transitioning to a newer 1Znm node in the second half of 2019, said Allan.

Micron will also enter 1Xnm chip production at its factory site in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan (formerly Inotera Memories) in the second half of 2018, Allan indicated. The site will be ready for transition to 1Ynm process technology at the end of the year, Allan said.

Source: DIGITIMES LINK

TSMC Kicks Off Volume Production of 7nm Chips

(ANANDTECH) TSMC last week announced that it had started high volume production (HVM) of chips using their first-gen 7 nm (CLN7FF) process technology. The contract maker of semiconductors says it has over a dozen of customers with tens of designs eager to use the technology to make their integrated circuits.

The 7 nm node is a big deal for the foundry industry in general and TSMC in particular. When compared to the CLN16FF+ technology (TSMC’s most widely used FinFET process technology) the CLN7FF will enable chip designers to shrink their die sizes by 70% (at the same transistor count), drop power consumption by 60%, or increase frequency by 30% (at the same complexity). So far, TSMC has taped out 18 customer products using the CLN7FF technology, more than 50 CLN7FF products will be taped out by the end of 2018.
 
TSMC’s CLN7FF process technology will rely on deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography with argon fluoride (ArF) excimer lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. As a result, the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors will be able to use existing manufacturing tools to make 7 nm chips. Meanwhile, to keep using DUV lithography the company and its customers have to use multipatterning (triple and quadruple patterning), which increases design and production costs as well as product cycles.

Full article : LINK

Monday, April 23, 2018

TSMC may post record profits for 2018 on 7nm volume production

[DIGITIMES Monday 23 April 2018] Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to score record profits for 2018 as the company will be gradually ramping up volume production of 7nm process in the second half of the year to fulfill lucrative orders from Apple for fabricating A12 application processors for its 2018 new iPhone models and from Quacomm for processing its new-generation smartphone chips, according to industry sources.

The sources said that TSMC will see its revenue ratio for advanced 7nm process hit a high of 20% in 2018, and may therefore post better-than-projected revenues and profits for the second half of the year and register an annual revenue growth of over 10%.

This is despite TSMC having lowered its revenue growth forecast for 2018 to 10% from the earlier projection of 10-15%, citing weaker-than-expected smartphone demand in the second quarter and growing uncertainty facing the cryptocurrency mining market.

Supply chain sources cited MediaTek's lackluster performance in capturing orders for its latest AI-based Helio P60 SoCs from China smartphone vendors in the second quarter as another factor driving TSMC to revise downward its revenue growth projections for the year.

Full article: LINK

Friday, April 20, 2018

Versum Materials Celebrates the Grand Opening of Its R&D Facility in Hometown, PA

TEMPE, Ariz. (April 19, 2018) Versum Materials, Inc. (NYSE: VSM), a leading materials supplier to the semiconductor industry, announced today the grand opening of its new research and development (R&D) facility at its semiconductor materials manufacturing site in Hometown, Pennsylvania. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place April 10, 2018. Versum employees, members of the community, local government, customers and strategic partners attended the event.

The state-of-the-art R&D laboratory is dedicated to new materials used in the manufacture of semiconductors. Scientists in the facility will synthesize and purify new molecules down to parts per billion impurity levels and below using the latest technologies available in the industry. The researchers can assess the applications for these new molecules and scale up the molecules to larger quantities for customer evaluation. These new organometallic compounds will be deposited on semiconductor wafers through cutting-edge technologies to test their performance for semiconductor applications. Additionally, the facility is capable of small-volume manufacturing and advanced analytical and quality assessment.
 
 
State Senator Dave Argall commended Versum for being the region’s third largest employer and for the company’s investments in the local community. Approximately 30 employees, half of which hold advanced degrees in chemistry or chemical engineering, are based in the new facility. The company’s Hometown campus now totals 250 highly-skilled employees.

ASM International N.V. Reports First Quarter 2018 Results

ASM International N.V. (Euronext Amsterdam: ASM) reports its first quarter 2018 operating results (unaudited) in accordance with IFRS. (Almere, The Netherland April 19, 2018 FinanzNachrichten.de LINK)

From the ASMI Q1/2018 investor presentations : LINK
  • New orders at €206 million were at the highest level ever and 2% above the Q4 2017 level and 1% above the level of Q1 2017.
  • Net sales for the first quarter 2018 were €159 million, a decrease of 12% compared to the restated previous quarter.
  • Gross profit margin was 37.8% in Q1 2018. The margin was beside the effects of new product introductions impacted by sales mix and preparation for anticipated higher activity levels.
  • Operating result decreased to €12 million compared to the previous quarter. The decrease is mainly the result of the lower sales level.
  • Normalized net earnings for the first quarter 2018 decreased by €18 million compared to the fourth quarter 2017.

COMMENT

Commenting on the results, Chuck del Prado, President and Chief Executive Officer of ASM International said:

"In Q1 we realized sales of €159 million and an order intake of €206 million. Our sales were at the lower end of our guidance while order intake was at the higher end of our guidance. The gross margin in Q1 at 38% was impacted by an unfavorable product mix and costs related to our preparation for further growth. We estimate our gross margin in Q2 to show a substantial improvement bringing it back again in the range of low to mid 40's."

ASMI operates in the Deposition segments (e.g. PVD, CVD, ALD) of the semiconductor equipment market (ASMI Q1/2018 investor presentations : LINK)


OUTLOOK

For Q2, on a currency comparable level, we expect sales of €200-230 million, and we expect an order intake of €160-200 million. The broad ranges for Q2 reflect some uncertainty around the exact timing of individual tools.
Gartner estimates the Wafer Fab Equipment market grew 32% in 2017 and forecasts a modest decline in 2018 (ASMI Q1/2018 investor presentations : LINK)

For 2018, market watchers currently expect the wafer fab equipment market to increase with, on average, a high single digit percentage. We aim to outgrow the wafer fab equipment market in 2018. 

Investor presentations : LINK

 More insights can be found by reading the Investor call transcript : LINK (Seeking Alpha)



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Beneq C2 wins the High-Volume Manufacturing Award in the CS International Conference

 
Beneq C2 wins the High-Volume Manufacturing Award in the CS International Conference. Beneq C2, the automated wafer ALD solution in Beneq’s cluster-compatible equipment portfolio, is the winner in the High-Volume Manufacturing category of the CS Industry Awards, where the industry experts have been able to vote for their favorites. 
 
Dr Mikko Söderlund receives CS Industry Award for Beneq

Beneq's Mikko Söderlund with the High-Volume Manufacturing Award in the CS Award ceremony.
 
Source : Beneq Blog

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Azur Space adds customized Aixtron AIX 2800G4 8x6"-wafer MOCVD system to expand production of space and concentrator solar cells


 


Deposition equipment maker Aixtron SE of Herzogenrath, near Aachen, Germany is providing its latest metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) technology to aerospace supplier Azur Space Solar Power GmbH of Heilbronn, Germany (a long time user of Aixtron’s planetary technology).

 
The customized AIX 2800G4 series system with an 8x6”-wafer configuration (delivery in second-quarter 2018) will further expand production of highly efficient multi-III-V space and concentrator solar cells, which are mainly used in the solar panels of satellites.

Source: Semiconductor Today LINK

ON Semiconductor is going to HVM with Veeco Propoel MOCVD System for GaN Power devices

After Successful Beta Test, ON Semiconductor Selects Industry's First Single-Wafer Cluster Platform

PLAINVIEW, N.Y., April 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Veeco Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq:VECO) today announced that ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq:ON) has ordered its Propel® High-volume Manufacturing (HVM) Gallium Nitride (GaN) Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) system. Based on its successful beta evaluation of the Propel HVM tool, ON Semiconductor ordered the production-level Propel system for GaN power electronics manufacturing. As the industry's first single-wafer cluster platform, the Propel GaN MOCVD system is specifically designed for high-voltage power-management devices used in data centers; automotive, information and communication technology; defense; aerospace and power distribution systems, among other applications
'Our prior learning with Veeco's K465i™ GaN MOCVD system drove us to investigate the Propel HVM platform for our production ramp,' said Marnix Tack, PhD, senior director of corporate R&D and Open Innovation at ON Semiconductor. 'The beta test results demonstrated superior device performance with high uniformity and within-wafer and wafer-to-wafer repeatability, while meeting our cost-of-ownership targets for six- and eight-inch wafers. As such, the Propel HVM system proved to be the most suitable platform for our power electronics manufacturing needs.'

The Propel HVM platform is based on Veeco's innovative single-wafer system with proprietary IsoFlange™ and SymmHeat™ technologies that provide homogeneous laminar flow and uniform temperature profile across the entire wafer. The system enables production of power electronics, laser diodes, RF devices and advanced LEDs with higher performance and production yields while ensuring very low cost-of-ownership.

'The Propel HVM platform is rapidly gaining traction in the industry as innovative companies like ON Semiconductor recognize the benefits of GaN-on-silicon, which will partially replace current silicon technology for power electronics,' commented Peo Hansson, PhD, senior vice president and general manager of Veeco MOCVD operations. 'With its highly controlled doping, run-to-run stability, superior wafer uniformity, high productivity and uptime, Propel HVM extends the benefits of our TurboDisc® platform to a unique single-wafer architecture. These capabilities benefit customers that seek a superior solution for manufacturing while providing a path for scaling to eight-inch wafers and expansion to RF and other advanced applications.'

GaN is a wide band gap semiconductor material with specific advantages over conventional technologies such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) and silicon carbide (SiC). GaN has enormous potential in the short term due to its benefits in terms of thermal behavior, efficiency, weight and size. According to market research firm Yole Développement, the GaN power device business was worth $14 million in 2016, and projects that it will reach $460 million by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 79 percent. GaN-based devices will be used increasingly in RF amplifiers, LEDs and high voltage applications among others, primarily due to their abilities to operate at high frequency, power density and temperature with improved efficiency and linearity.

Veeco is discussing the power of its innovative MOCVD and wet etch systems in the '5G: Where Are We and What's Next?' track at the CS International Conference this week in Brussels, Belgium. Somit Joshi, senior director of MOCVD marketing is presenting a session titled, 'Enabling GaN RF and Power Electronics through Innovative MOCVD and Wet Etch Process Technologies,' on Wednesday, April 11, and the Veeco team will also be accepting the CS Industry 2018 Award for Innovation for its GENxcel™ R&D MBE System at the awards ceremony held during the conference.

Source: 4-traders LINK

Monday, April 9, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Toppan Photomasks extend advanced photomask joint venture in Germany

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Inc. (GF) and Toppan Photomasks, Inc. (TPI) today announced a multi-year extension to their Advanced Mask Technology Center (AMTC) joint venture in Dresden, Germany. Opened in 2002, the AMTC provides GF’s fabs in Dresden, Malta and Singapore with high-end production and development masks at world-class cycle times in support of the foundry’s ambitious technology roadmap. The AMTC also supports TPI customers worldwide from Dresden.

Owned equally by TPI and GF, the AMTC joint venture was previously extended in 2012 to further increase tool capability and capacity. This new extension to the agreement aims to continue the current charter for manufacturing production masks as well as developing mask technology for ever smaller geometries. GF is both TPI’s partner in the joint venture and a strategic and critical customer, while TPI is GF’s preferred mask supplier, leveraging AMTC and TPI’s global manufacturing network to support GF’s worldwide operations.



Full article in Solid State Technology : LINK

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Globalfoundries announces optics strategy on 300 mm wafers

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 6, 2018 — Semiconductor foundry GlobalFoundries Inc. has announced details of its “silicon photonics roadmap” that aims to enable the next generation of optical interconnects for data center and cloud applications.

The company has now qualified a 90-nm manufacturing process using 300-mm wafers while also unveiling its upcoming 45-nm technology to deliver higher bandwidth and energy efficiency. GlobalFoundries’ silicon photonics technologies are designed to support the data of today’s global communication infrastructure. Instead of traditional interconnects that transmit data using electrical signals over copper wires, silicon photonics technology uses pulses of light through optical fibers to move more data at higher speeds and over longer distances, while also minimizing energy loss.

Source: Photonics LINK

Imec fabs p-GaN power devices on thermally matched substrates

Imec and substrate materials specialist Qromis have developed enhancement mode p-GaN power devices on 200mm engineered Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE)-matched substrates, processed on Imec's silicon pilot line. The substrates are offered by Qromis as commercial 200mm QST substrates as part of their patented product portfolio. Today, GaN-on-Si technology is the industry standard platform for commercial GaN power switching devices for wafer diameters up to 150mm/6 inch.

Source: Electronics Weekly LINK

Micron Starts Construction of Its Third NAND Fab in Singapore

Micron this week broke ground on its new fab in Singapore that will be dedicated to manufacturing 3D NAND flash memory. Set to be completed late next year, Micron is not disclosing the production capacity of the new plant, only saying that its investments in the project are going to total billions of U.S. dollars. In addition, the company is disclosing its plans to expand its R&D activities in Singapore.

 
Micron breaks ground on new flash memory fabrication plant in Singapore (The Business Times)

The new semiconductor production facility represents the third phase of Micron’s Fab 10 expansion and will be located adjacent to the existing complexes. The new plant will be built on a 165,000 m2 land plot at North Coast Drive. The new Fab is expected to be completed sometimes in the middle of 2019, Micron plans to get the first wafers from the new fab sometimes in Q4 2019. The ramp up of the facility is going to take several quarters, so expect significant volumes of 3D NAND memory to come out of the new fab towards the end of calendar 2020.

As noted, Micron already operates two 300-mm 3D NAND facilities in Singapore called Fab 10N and Fab 10X, which were built earlier this decade. These plants currently produce the lion’s share of Micron’s NAND flash memory.

Source: AnandTech LINK

Samsung Electronics to double 3DNAND memory output capacity in China

[Nikkei Asian Review, March 28, 2018] SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics said Wednesday that it will invest $7 billion over three years to double production capacity for NAND flash memory in China, the top importer of South Korean semiconductors.


Samsung Electronics held a groundbreaking ceremony March 28 for a second production line at its Xi'an chip fabrication facility in China's Shaanxi Province.

The company will build a second line at its Xi'an fabrication facility in inland Shaanxi Province, lifting monthly capacity to the equivalent of 220,000 300mm silicon wafers by 2020. The new line is expected to make cutting-edge 3-D flash memory, which can hold much more data than conventional chips.

Full article : LINK

Friday, April 6, 2018

Plasma-Therm acquires KOBUS and F.A.S.T ALD & CVD hybride technology

KOBUS, an innovative French company based in Grenoble that has brought a new faster ALD-like technology to production level  has been acquired by US Plasma-Therm. The technology is called F.A.S.T, an alternative to ALD where thick and conformal films are required like e.g. TSV and 3D chip integration or MEMS. F.A.S.T. stands for “Fast Atomic Sequential Technology and is enabled by a innovative CVD reactor design combined with fast pulsing capability. KOBUS has focused on solutions for 3D integration challenges, which fits good to the Plasma-Therms etch and PECVD product portfolio. Plasma-Therm also recently acquired the small Swedish plasma etch/dep OEM Advanced Vacuum who target back-end applications and reverse engineering etchers.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (April 4, 2018) — Plasma-Therm today announced that it has acquired KOBUS, an innovative plasma deposition company, which enables F.A.S.T®, a valuable alternative to ALD where thick and conformal films are required.

This unique deposition method is at the crossroads of ALD and CVD: F.A.S.T. stands for “Fast Atomic .Sequential Technology.” F.A.S.T. is enabled by proprietary CVD reactor design combined with pulsing capability, and while capable of depositing in traditional ALD mode, it is optimal for thick and conformal layer deposition and offers new solutions for 3D integration challenges.
Production of the 3rd generation of F.A.S.T. process modules at KOBUS (wwww.kobus-tech.com)

KOBUS offers a unique portfolio of equipment for both mature and advanced materials deposition, which merges well with Plasma-Therm’s operation, expanding the plasma-based deposition and etch suite of products for all silicon and compound semiconductor emerging applications.

This acquisition will allow Plasma-Therm to establish a solid base in Europe and conduct R&D development in the Grenoble “Silicon Valley,” a region fueled with R&D, startups and large semiconductor corporations.

About Plasma-Therm
Plasma-Therm LLC is a manufacturer of leading plasma etch, deposition, and advanced packaging equipment for specialty semiconductor and nanotechnology markets. Plasma-Therm's plasma-processing and advanced-packaging solutions are used in research, pilot manufacturing, and volume production of wireless, photonics, solid state lighting, MEMS/NEMS, data storage and other devices. Learn more at http://www.plasmatherm.com

Samsung Electronics has completed the development 7 nm their foundry process using EUV equipment ahead of time

[Seoul, Korea 6 April 2018, Business Korea] According to news originating from South Korea, Samsung Electronics has completed the development 7 nm their foundry process using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) equipment ahead of time. Samsung Electronics originally intended to complete the development of the process in the second half of 2018, but finished it six months earlier. Mass production will start this year. It was reported that Qualcomm was preparing samples to supply large volume of mobile application processors (APs) to Qualcomm, the first corporate customer.

The report als re-confirms that Samsung Electronics on the 5nm foundry process and the construction of an EUV-only line in Hwaseong, Korea. Previous reports have claimed that it may be used for both Logic and Memory.

Full article:  LINK


New-EUV-Line-in-Hwaseong [pcper.com]

Sunday, April 1, 2018

ALD research and development continious to grow!

There are a number of ways how to track R&D in a technological field besides tracking the number of publications. In the case of ALD you can track the number of delegates visiting the annual International ALD conference. ALD 2016 Ireland had 810 delegates and AVS ALD 2017 in Denver had 950 delegates as far as I know. Since the International ALD conference today has >50% industry delegates this is an indication of a growth in R&D interest from both academics and industry.

You can also look at the annual revenue in sales from ALD wafer processing equipment and here information can be taken from regular updates from Gartner, VLSI Research and the leading ALD OEMS like ASM International who report this in their financial reports. If you plot all those numbers using full range on y-axis into a plot (as a I have done below for 2016 numbers) you can clearly see that ALD R&D and systems sales are growing hand in hand from 2005 until 2016. You can also see that 2009 was a bad year and it took two years for the ALD geeks to recover fully and get back to the ALD conference in numbers. What you can also see is that the ALD System sales went down already one year before (2008) the big crisis...

2016 numbers and forecasts (BALD Engineering AB)

Most of the ALD OEMs have published annual reports now and it seem that 2017 was a stellar year for ALD systems sales.

Another way to track ALD R&D is to look at patent filing. Either you can come up with a set of key words that you think will appear in ALD patents or you can dig into the patent classes and make it a bit easier for you sin too look for trends you don´t necessary need all patents it may just be enough to look for a couple of classes where ALD people are filing.

Last year I compiled this graph below showing ALD precursor patent applications and families and two of the most important events for ALD high-k in high volume manufacturing (HVM) on 300mm wafers using ALD:
  • 2004 : ALD of Al2O3/HfO2 high-k node dielectric by Samsung 90 nm DRAM technology
  • 2007 : ALD of HfO2 gate dielectric by Intel for their 45 nm Logic High-k/Metal Gate stack
(Until all presentations starts with the DRAM reference as 3 years before Logic, I will keep on repeating this fact. Remember "Memory before Logic")

Since it can take quite some time for patents applications to form actual global families it is more intriguing to track the number of applications. So ta da! it follows the ALD conference delegate number quite good (green curve above).

Summer 2017 patent search  (BALD Engineering AB)

So how was 2017 and how many ALD patents are being filed so far 2018 - check it out below and for those of you that have hard time to sleep you can compile this plot on a daily basis by clicking in this LINK. Please note that this graph only contains patent from the CPC class C23C16/45525 and that there are other classes as well that need to be included for a full study. Anyhow it is a good one since it states explicitly Atomic Layer Deposition as coating method.  So keep track on the last data point that today is 140 and if it will reach above 671 by the end of the year or not and before that - how many delegates did go to AVS ALD 2018 in Incheon Korea in July!

2018-04-01 patent search (Patbase.com : LINK)

Just recently I met with Prof. Mikko Ritala in Dresden for the EFDS ALD for Industry and I told him that I have a model to predict the number of delegates for ALD Conference 2024 in Helsinki Finland so at this point my recommendation is to book one of these:



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Veeco touts 100 automated MBE systems installed worldwide



Plainview, NY. Veeco Instruments Inc. today announced it has completed installation of its 100th automated Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) system. The installation of Veeco’s GEN10 MBE System last month at Silanna Semiconductor PTY Ltd. in Australia marks this company milestone. The company also operates a Veeco Dual GEN200 MBE System for production of advanced nitride compound semiconductor devices including ultraviolet LEDs (UV-LEDs).

“Veeco has earned a reputation for consistently developing innovative and reliable MBE technology from research scale to production,” said Petar Atanackovic, Ph.D., chief scientist of Silanna Semiconductor PTY Ltd. “The flexibility and deposition capability of the GEN10 system will enable us to develop new materials at the atomic level allowing us to exploit new quantum properties. Veeco’s technology portfolio and leadership in MBE systems provides us with a clear path to easily scale to volume production in the future.”

Source: Evaluation Engineering LINK

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

KLA-Tencor Announces Agreement to Acquire Orbotech Ltd.

[Press release LINK] MILPITAS, Calif., and YAVNE, Israel, March 19, 2018 – KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) (“KLA-Tencor”) and Orbotech Ltd. (“Orbotech”) today announced they had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which KLA-Tencor will acquire Orbotech Ltd. (“Orbotech”) for $38.86 in cash and 0.25 of a share of KLA-Tencor common stock in exchange for each ordinary share of Orbotech, implying a total consideration of approximately $69.02 per share. The transaction values Orbotech at an equity value of approximately $3.4 billion and an enterprise value of $3.2 billion. In addition, KLA-Tencor announced a $2 billion share repurchase authorization. The share repurchase program is targeted to be completed within 12 to 18 months following the close of this transaction.


With this acquisition, KLA-Tencor will significantly diversify its revenue base and add $2.5 billion of addressable market opportunity in the high-growth printed circuit board (“PCB”), flat panel display (“FPD”), packaging, and semiconductor manufacturing areas. The broader portfolio of leading products, services, and solutions, as well as increased exposure to technology megatrends, will support KLA-Tencor’s long-term revenue and earnings growth targets.

Friday, March 23, 2018

ASM International N.V. has published the 2017 annual report

Almere, The Netherlands, March 22, 2018 ASM International N.V. (Euronext Amsterdam: ASM) today publishes its 2017 Annual Report.

ASMI's Annual Report is also available on the company's website www.asm.com. The Annual Report includes the Corporate Responsibility Report and the Remuneration Report in order to increase the relevancy and quality of reporting to all stakeholders.

ASMI will hold its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) on May 28, 2018. The AGM agenda with all related documents will be available in due time.

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO (asm.com LINK)
In 2017 we achieved significant progress against our strategic targets. Our sales benefited from a clear recovery in the single-wafer Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) market, in particular driven by strong increases in the 3D-NAND segment. During the year we also successfully expanded our position in the epitaxy market with an important tool win from a leading foundry customer. In total, our revenue increased by 23% to a new record level. 


Please check out the financial data at a glance here (LINK).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

NCD announced to provide solar cell ALD equipment to SF-PV

NCD recently shipped the equipment to SF-PV who is a Chinese solar cell manufacturer. This system is (Lucida GS Series + Automation) to increase the efficiency of solar cells by depositing high quality Al2O3 ALD thin films. It will be installed on the site in the end of March and begin production in April.

Lucida GS Series is batch type ALD deposition equipment that forms backside passivation of Al2O3 on multiple wafers and can process more than 4.500 wafers (@ 4nm thickness) of 156mm x 156mm size per an hour. By applying Lucida GS Series in the production of solar cells, customers can dramatically lower the production cost of high efficiency solar cells due to the high-volume productivity, high yield, efficient gas consumption and low maintenance cost compared to competitors. 



(Lucida™ GS series + Automation)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Samsung Electronics Topples Intel to Become World's Largest Chipmaker

The combined share of Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. in the global semiconductor market stood at 20.7 percent last year, up 5 percent points from a year earlier. Samsung Electronics surpassed Intel as the world's biggest chipmaker by market share for the first time. SK Hynix jumped two spots from the 5th, following Samsung Electronics and Intel.

According to market research firm IHS Markit on March 18, Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division posted US$62.03 billon (66.28 trillion won) in sales last year, up 53.4 percent from 2016. The company’s market share came to 14.5 percent, exceeding Intel, which had been the world’s biggest seller of chipsets for a long time, by 0.2 percent point. Last year, Intel recorded sales of US$61.46 billion (65.61 trillion won).

SK Hynix, which has become the third largest chip manufacturer, had sales of 26.64 billion (28.46 trillion won) in total last year. Its market share stood at 5.2 percent, followed by Micron Technology Inc. with 5.3 percent, Broadcom Corp. with 4 percent and Qualcomm Incorp. with 3.9 percent

Source: BusinessKorea LINK