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

Picosun announces significant repeat sales of P-300F batch ALD cluster tools

ESPOO, Finland, 19th March, 2018 – Picosun Group, a leading provider of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) thin film coating technology for global industries, reports of significant repeat sales of PICOSUN™ P-300F production cluster tools to major US industry customers.

Semiconductor components manufactured on silicon and compound semiconductor wafers are crucial in several everyday consumer electronics products as well as in e.g. transport, aerospace, or industrial automation and power applications. Even if the majority of the most common IC components is produced on 300 mm silicon wafers, the sub-300-mm manufacturing is vital and increasingly important especially for the existing and emerging non-silicon-based devices. Wafer materials limited to max. 200 mm diameter such as SiC, GaN, AlN, sapphire, GaAs, LiNbO3, and LiTaO3 offer various benefits over silicon and enable a generation of completely new, advanced and innovative end products.
The PICOSUN™ P-300F ALD system is specially designed for production of IC components such as microprocessors, memories, and hard drives, and manufacturing of power electronics, mixed signal, and MEMS devices such as print heads, sensors, and microphones (LINK).

Picosun’s core competence are cost-efficient, turn-key ALD production solutions for the fast growing More-than-Moore market. The PICOSUN™ P-300F tool is the flagship product for these customers. Specially designed to be run in cluster configuration under constant vacuum to enable fast and efficient high throughput manufacturing, the P-300F tools are connected together and operated in fully automatic mode with a central vacuum robot substrate handling and transfer system. The unique batch flipping mechanism in the P-300F tool is ideal for manufacturing lines where the most of the process steps take place in horizontal geometry. Cassette-to-cassette loading for up to 50 pcs batches of 200/150/100 mm wafers, SEMI S2/S8 certification, and SECS/GEM option for factory host integration make the P-300F the optimal choice for demanding manufacturing needs for e.g. moisture barriers, capacitors, and SAW/BAW filters.

“We at Picosun are very happy of the success of our P-300F cluster tools. Our customers have obtained unparalleled process results in them, and this excellent performance has now resulted in repeat sales of these tools to our key industrial customers. The purity, uniformity, and barrier properties of the ALD films deposited in these systems fulfil the strictest requirements of today’s semiconductor industries, making the PICOSUN™ P-300F the tool of choice for the forerunners of semiconductor manufacturing,” states Juhana Kostamo, Managing Director of Picosun.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Aixtron returned to annual profit in 2017 after sale of ALD/CVD product line

[Semiconductor today] For fourth-quarter 2017, deposition equipment maker Aixtron SE of Herzogenrath, near Aachen, Germany has reported revenue of €54.1m, down 13% on €62.2m last quarter and 39.8% on €89.8m a year ago.

However, full-year revenue was still €230.4m, up 17% on 2016’s €196.5m, and slightly exceeding the guidance of €220-230m. “2017 was a good year for Aixtron, with revenues and orders at the best levels since 2011,” notes VP of finance & administration Charles Russell.

In particular, equipment revenue grew by 21% from €155.7m to €188m (rising from 79% to 82% of total revenue), while sales of spare parts & services rose by just 4% from €40.8m to €42.4m (falling from 21% to 18% of total revenue). 
 
Full article : LINK
 
 
 
 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

EU suspends review of Linde-Praxair merger, but should resume -Linde

BERLIN, March 15 (Reuters) - German gases group Linde said the European Commission has suspended its review of the group's merger with Praxair while it awaits requested information, but it expects the suspension to be lifted next week.

Source: Reuters LINK

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

MKS has won significant business from a Korean end-user for ALD high flow of ozone systems

Since basically the start of ALD in high volume DRAM manufacturing on 300 mm wafers, ozone has been employed as the co-reactant for ALD of hafnia and zirconia based high-k node dielectrics in the DRAM capacitor memory cell. The ozone concentration directly controls through-put, uniformity and conformalty of the deposited high-k and most importantly also the high-k dielectric performance of the layer including CET/Leakage performance and log term reliability. Please see this early post on details for these processes (LINK)

Just recently MKS Instruments reported (Seeking Alpha Earnings call transcript, LINK) that they won significant business from a Korean end-user for a high flow of ozone systems used in atomic layer deposition to fabricate DRAM memory devices. In addition, MKS reported to have just received a significant suppler award from another major Korean OEM.

MKS further stated that they have made strategic investments with a significant impact on their semiconductor OEM and end-user businesses. Amazingly, the revenue in Korea has increased 250% since 2012. In 2017 alone, their Korea end-user business grew 114%, while the Korea OEM business grew 96%.

Based on this we may assume that high concentration ozone supply i still crucial for the ALD oxide processes in DRAM manufacturing.

MKS Ozone Gas Generators

photo - SEMOZON Ozone Generator

SEMOZON® ozone gas generators and subsystems are the industry standard for compact, high concentration, ultra-clean ozone gas generation. Applications include Atomic Layer Depostion (ALD), Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), cleaning and water treatment.

Link to MKS Instrument Ozone products: LINK

MKS Instruments, Inc. is a global provider of instruments, subsystems and process control solutions that measure, control, power, monitor, and analyze critical parameters of advanced manufacturing processes to improve process performance and productivity.  The Company’s products are derived from core competencies in pressure measurement and control, flow measurement and control, gas and vapor delivery, gas composition analysis, residual gas analysis, leak detection, control technology, ozone generation and delivery, RF & DC power, reactive gas generation, vacuum technology, lasers, photonics, sub-micron positioning, vibration isolation, and optics.  MKS’ primary markets include semiconductor capital equipment, general industrial, life sciences, and research.  Additional information can be found at www.mksinst.com.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

AMEC introduces ICP Etch for memory and logic at SEMICON China

SHANGHAI, March 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- This week at SEMICON China, Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) formally unveiled the Primo nanova® system (nanova) - the company's first inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etcher for high-volume front-end production of memory and logic ICs. The system combines proprietary ICP technology innovations and novel features to help customers achieve application imperatives like tight critical dimension (CD) uniformity and superior control. Key differentiations include a specialized symmetric chamber configuration that enables very high pumping speed, as well as a novel low-capacitive coupling coil design, and a temperature-controlled multiple-zone electrostatic chuck (ESC). With these and other unique features, the system delivers superior process performance for critical conductor and dielectric etch applications at device nodes of 5nm and below, at a cost of ownership (CoO) that is significantly lower than comparative tools.

AMEC has received orders for the nanova system from multiple customers. Products have been shipped and the first tool is already in production and demonstrating very stable yield. The company is now accelerating demo requests. The system strengthens AMEC's portfolio of etch tools which includes multi-generation capacitively coupled plasma (CCP) dielectric and TSV etch product families.

The nanova system was engineered to address today's IC manufacturing complexities where new materials, new transistor structures, double and even quadruple patterning, and other technology advancements are helping to ensure continued device shrinks. Critical success imperatives for etch in this processing environment are high uniformity and superior control across the wafer, with wide process window. The nanova system meets these technical requirements in a cost-effective single-station chamber tool.

"The nanova system deploys today's most advanced etch technology to empower customers at the leading edge with enabling innovation and exceptional flexibility," said Dr. Tom Ni, VP and GM of AMEC's Etch Product Business Group. "The system can process diverse conductor etch applications, like STI, poly-gate, spacer, mask etching and etch-back, with industry-leading productivity and superior on-wafer performance. As an ICP-based technology, it can etch deep vertical holes, as well as shallow tapered features. It's a cost-competitive solution as well, thanks to a smaller-than-average footprint and an innovative design that reduces consumables use. We're excited to see customers already benefiting from the tool."


Monday, March 12, 2018

SoLayTec ships new ALD order to Asia for PERC cell manufacturing

North American Clean Energy reports (LINK): Amtech Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASYS), a global supplier of production equipment and related supplies for the solar, semiconductor, and LED markets, announced its solar subsidiary, SoLayTec B.V., has shipped a next generation solar Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) to an Asian customer. While the PV market is shifting towards high efficiency cell designs, production with high yield, A-grade cells, is getting increasingly important.

Fokko Pentinga, CEO and President of Amtech, commented, "For this project we are delivering the equipment for the PERC line upgrade and assisting the customer with the PERC ramp-up and line integration. PV manufacturers are experiencing extreme price pressure, resulting in an increasing need for higher cell quality with narrow cell efficiency distribution. The highest line yield possible of A-grade cells is essential to ensure good margins for these advanced production lines. Al2O3 wrap-around during deposition will result in reduction of the cell efficiency by as much as 0.2%, as well as front side color variations. Our ALD equipment addresses PV manufacturers' challenges, by delivering the highest PERC cell efficiency using Al2O3,, highest A-grade cells, and stable deposition process without any wrap around. Another challenge we address for A-grade cells is scratch free manufacturing of SiNx deposition for rear-side capping and front-side ARC. Our scratch free solution using our direct-plasma PECVD equipment is gaining momentum, with shipments and order backlog totaling more than 1GW."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Applied Materials see high growth for Display business >30% growth

Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) recently reported record revenue and operating profit in its first quarter ended January 28, 2018. Besides beeing the big giant for wafer equipment they are also in the lead for display, for TV as well as smartphone and especially for the lastets size 10.5 Gen.

According the the recent news covered by Seeking Alpha (LINK), Applied Materials is counting on revenue growth from 10.5G LCD plants and from its operations in LTPS backplanes and OLED encapsulation, primarily for the smartphone sector.

In the recent 1Q 2018 earnings call - Gary E. Dickerson - Applied Materials said: "In Display, there are two equally large market inflections driving capital investments: the introduction of Gen 10.5 substrates for TV manufacturing and organic LED displays. In mobile, the transition to OLED displays is compelling. This is because rigid OLED offers significant performance, power and cost advantages over LCD, and flexible OLED will enable new form factors, such as curved and eventually foldable screens. As a result, our positive outlook for 2018 and beyond remains unchanged. Display is a unique growth driver for Applied, and we expect to increase our revenue by more than 30% in 2018 on top of nearly 60% growth last year."
Dickerson further stated:
  • year-over-yearoutlook for Display business is greater than 30% growth, and 2019 and beyond also look very strong.
  • for mobile versus TV Applied Materials has an about 50/50 mix. In TV, they see increased adoption of larger screens and they are tracking 13 Gen 10.5 projects. As an example if you produce 65-inch TVs with Gen 10.5, you get eight 65-inch TVs per plane and only three with Gen 8.5 and driving the TV business.

Chart above from IHS (thru SeekingAlpha, LINK) shows planned equipment purchases for 10.5G quipment, install dates, and production ramp up.




Applied Materials AKT-PECVD covers the complete range of glass sizes used in the display industry from Gen 2 (0.2m2) all the way up to Gen 10 (9m2). The systems offer processes for both amorphous silicon (a-Si) and metal oxide (MOx) backplane technologies. Available films include both doped and undoped (a-Si), silicon oxide (SiOx), silicon oxynitride (SiON), silicon nitride (SiN), and in-situ multi-layer deposition. (appliedmaterials.com)
According to Seeking Alpha the maine cometitors for current technologies (<10.5 Gen) are :
For the TFT Backplane:
  • PECVD companies - AMAT, Jusung Engineering (Korea), and Wonik IPS (Korea)
  • PVD companies - AMAT, Avaco (Korea), Iruja (Korea), and Ulvac (Japan)
  • Laser Anneal companies – Coherent, AP Systems (Korea), Japan Steel Works (Japan)
For the OLED Encapsulation:
  • Jusung Engineering (Korea)
  • Wonik IPS (Korea)
  • TES (Korea)
These Korean companies all have ALD technologies and equipment for displays. The advantages with ALD are:
  • thin films offer better water and oxygen protection
  • a thinner film is needed to provide the same protection as thicker PECVD-coated films
  • the slower coating process by ALD is compensated by a thinner film 

Monday, March 5, 2018

OIPT delivers record number of integrated ‘Lab to Fab’ solutions

[Semiconductor Today] UK-based plasma etch and deposition processing system maker Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT) is celebrating a year of delivering a record number of integrated solutions, enabling customers to rapidly commercialize semiconductor devices, developed using Oxford Instruments ‘Lab to Fab’ solutions.

Oxford Instruments says that many of its customers are now converting their research into commercially available devices. The key to success is to transfer the results achieved in development and pilot facilities, and repeat them every day, every month in the fabrication facility, notes the firm. OIPT reckons that, due to its installed base of R&D tools, it is ideally placed to offer this ‘Lab to Fab’ solution. 
 
“We’ve shipped over 600 of our high-technology process modules to leading production facilities and, with an increasing demand from the optoelectronics, power and other leading markets, our plasma process solutions are being utilized globally to achieve excellent device performance and throughput,” says OIPT’s sales & marketing director Paul Davies.
 
Semiconductor Today LINK
 
 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Major suppliers have improved their 3D NAND production yield rates

Revenues of the global NAND flash industry grew only 6.8% sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to DRAMeXchange. Traditionally seasonal factors will continue to influence sales in the first quarter of 2018.

Major suppliers have improved their 3D NAND production yield rates at a gradual pace, said DRAMeXchange. On the demand side, the smartphone market entered its peak season in the fourth quarter resulting in an up to 5% sequential rise in contract prices for eMMC and UFS devices.

However, demand for PCs, tablets and servers slowed down in the fourth quarter with contract prices for related NAND flash chips stayed flat or slipped on quarter, DRAMeXchange indicated. As a result, the overall NAND flash market shifted toward an equilibrium of supply and demand in the fourth quarter of 2017,

The NAND flash market has seen a slight oversupply in the first quarter of 2018, due to a generally seasonal slowdown in end-market demand, according to DRAMeXchange. The chip suppliers will likely post revenue decreases as they cut prices to spur demand, but will be able to maintain a healthy level of profits thanks to their transitions to 64- and 72-layer 3D NAND technologies.
 
Source: DIGITIMES LINK
 

China to Join Hands with Intel to Develop 3D NAND against Korea

China-Intel AllianceChina's Tsinghua Unigroup is cooperating with Intel Corp. to develop 3D NAND flash memory chips in earnest. Tsinghua Unigroup supported by the Chinese government's huge amount of capital is joining forces with Intel which has technology in memory chips.
 

Presentation Intel 3D NAND from Intel: Bringing Amazing SSDs to the Mainstream (LINK)
 
According to DRAMeXchange and industry sources on March 2, China’s Tsinghua Unigroup and Intel are discussing how to work together to develop and produce 3D NAND technologies in the long term.

 
 
DRAMeXchange released its report on the 1st, saying, “According to the contract, Intel has decided to deliver wafers for NAND flash chips first before supplying 64-layer 3D NAND flash chips. With Intel’s support, Tsinghua Unigroup’s products will be able to improve not only its competitiveness in sales but also its brand awareness in the market.”

Tsinghua Unigroup and Intel are leaders that can create a remarkable synergy of capital and technology. Tsinghua Unigroup is the biggest beneficiary of the Chinese government’s plan to invest 1 trillion yuan (US$157.53 billion or 170.61 trillion won) in order to raise its semiconductor self-sufficiency rate to 70 percent by 2025. Tsinghua Unigroup’s NAND plant, which has been constructed with the investment of 26 trillion won (US$24.01 billion), will start manufacturing 32-layer 3D NAND flash chips from the end of this year and expand the facilities to significantly increase the production next year. 
 
Source: BusinessKorea  LINK

Thursday, March 1, 2018

China Is Raising Up to $31.5 Billion to Fuel Chip Vision

[Bloomberg, LINK] China’s government aims to raise as much as 200 billion yuan ($31.5 billion) to invest in homegrown chip companies and accelerate its ambition of building a world-class semiconductor industry, people familiar with the matter said.

The state-backed China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund Co. is in talks with government agencies and corporations to raise at least 150 billion yuan for its second fund vehicle but is angling for up to 200 billion yuan, the people said, asking not to be identified talking about a plan that hasn’t been publicized. It intends to begin deploying capital in the second half of the year, they added.

The firm will again invest in a wide range of sectors from processor design and manufacturing to chip testing and packaging, potentially benefiting industry leaders from telecoms gear makers Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. to major players such as the Tsinghua Group. The first fund -- about 140 billion yuan -- had gone toward more than 20 listed companies, including ZTE and contract chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., the people said.

Smaller chip players gained in the afternoon. Integrated circuit manufacturer Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology Co. climbed as much as 6.2 percent in afternoon trading in Shanghai, while chip packager China Wafer Level CSP Co. gained almost 5 percent.
 
The figure above illustrates the projected top spenders in China from 2016 to 2020. SMIC will lead the pack in fab equipment investment with its new 300mm fab projects in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen as well as 200mm investment in Tianjin.  However, the number two to number five positions are all occupied by multinationals, especially from the memory segment. Samsung will continue its phase two investment in Xian; Intel is ramping up its 3D NAND capacity in Dalian; and SK Hynix is building a new DRAM fab in Wuxi. New memory players in China will only start to increase spending in the latter half of the forecast period. Aggressive investment is also planned by leading foundries in China including GLOBALFFOUNDRIES’ Chengdu fab, Hua Li Micro’s Fab 2 in Shanghai, UMC’s Xiamen fab, and TSMC’s Nanjing fab. Compared to a year ago, the investment levels and schedules of multinational companies’ in China have become more aggressive. [SEMI, LINK]

2017 was a year of recovery in ALD business driven by 3DNAND according to ASMI

Today was the ASM International NV (OTCQX:ASMIY) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call for analysts. The call has been transcripeted by Seeking Alpha (LINK). All in all 2017 was a good year for ALD single wafer market and showed recovery from 2016.  Here is some important take aways from Peter van Bommel - CFO, during teh call:



  • Looking at the company's financial performance, 2017 was a year of recovery in our ALD business. In particular, driven by strong increases in the 3D NAND segment. 2017, we also successfully increased our addressable market in epitaxy as we rolled our first leading high volume manufacturing customer for our new Intrepid too. Initial cost related to new product launches impacted to the gross margin but we still increased our operating profits by 38% in 2017.
  • In terms of product lines, the key driver was our ALD business, at some distance followed, by Epi and PECVD. Our net sales in 2017 increased by 23% to a new record high of €737 million. Sales were led by our ALD product line, which continued to represent clearly more than half of our equipment revenue.



ASM earnings call slide (sceeen dump from Seeking Alpha LINK)


  • By industry segment, the revenue stream in the fourth quarter was led by memory customers, largely 3D NAND, followed by foundry. Looking at the roadmaps of our customers, the introduction of complex 3D devices structures and new materials and further scaling, will drive the need for more precise deposition of ultrathin and highly comfortable films. This place is the strength of ALD. And as a leader in the single wave of ALD market, our company remains well-positioned to capture the growth expected in this market.

Looking ahead the addressable market for single wafer ALD will grow according to Peter van Bommel since the advanced node share  (14, 10 and 7 nm) will grow to roughly 50% in revenue by 2020-2021 of the total wafer fab equipment spending, when ASM expect the single wafer ALD market to reach  USD 1.5 billion annual revenue (see graph below, Gartner Dec 2017).



ASM earnings call slide (sceeen dump from Seeking Alpha LINK

Not touched upon too much was the Large Batch furnace segment which is dominated by the competitors Tokyo Electron and Hitachi Kokusai. This segment is however much smaller than the single wafer ALD segement, maybe 70:30 ratio or so. The patent disagreement with the Hitachi Kokusai was briefly mentioned but nothing substantial was said since it is an ongoing issue (LINK).




Sunday, February 11, 2018

Apple, LG, Valve bet on OLED microdisplays technology, invest $10 million in eMagin

TechObserver reports : Maker of OLED microdisplays eMagin is getting attention from tech giants such as Apple and LG as they bet big on VR and AR for future growth. According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Apple, LG and Valve have made $10 million investment in eMagin.

eMagin is New York-based company that makes microdisplays used in the military, medical and industrial fields, but it has recently turned its attention to companies building consumer headsets. "We entered into strategic agreements with multiple Tier One consumer product companies for the design and development of microdisplays for consumer head mounted devices and, together with these companies, negotiated with mass production manufacturers for higher volume production capabilities," eMagin said in its filing.

Article: LINK

The company's flagship product is a 2K display with a resolution of 2,048x2,048 pixels and a 70 percent fill factor, the percentage of each pixel that can be used to gather light. (Picture from OLED-Info LINK)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cases Closed: Veeco, AMEC, and SGL Settle Patent Litigation


Veeco Instruments Inc., Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC), and SGL Carbon SE (SGL), today announced that they have mutually agreed to settle the pending litigation among the parties and to amicably resolve all pending disputes, including AMEC's lawsuit against Veeco before the Fujian High Court in China and Veeco's lawsuit against SGL before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Source: LEDinside LINK

Monday, February 5, 2018

GlobalFoundries to Soon Pilot 7nm and EUV Production

GlobalFoundries is pushing ahead with a plan to pilot EUV and 7nm production. We recently got a chance to sit down with the company and talk about its plans for the future.


Source: ExtremeTech LINK

SK Hynix ramps up eSSDs with 72-Layer 3D NAND Flash

SK Hynix Inc. (or 'the Company', www.skhynix.com) today announced that the Company recently completed developing an enterprise SATA Solid State Drive (or 'eSSD'). With its 72-Layer 512Gb (Gigabits) 3D NAND Flash chips, the Company is paving the way for its full-fledged entrance to the high value-added eSSD market.

 
SK Hynix combined the 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND Flash with its in-house firmware and controller to provide the maximum density of 4TB (Terabytes). SK Hynix makes the most of its 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND chips to double the biggest density of the SSD of the same size with 256Gb NAND chips.

Source: EPS News  LINK

Thursday, February 1, 2018

SMIC obtains government fund for advanced 14 nm node technology development

DigiTimes reports: China-based pure-play foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) has obtained financial support from the government to accelerate the development of its 14nm and more advanced process technologies.

SMIC announced recently China's National Semiconductor Industry Investment Fund (known as the Big Fund) and Shanghai Integrated Circuit Investment Fund (SICIF) have made capital investments in subsidiary Semiconductor Manufacturing South China (SMSC), which will become a joint venture between the parties. The stake in SMSC held collectively by SMIC Shanghai and SMIC Holdings has therefore reduced to 50.1% from 100%, SMIC added.

SMSC was founded at the end of 2016 with a capital base of only US$210 million, SMIC disclosed. With the Big Fund and SICIF becoming SMSC's new shareholders, SMSC is able to expand its registered capital to US$3.5 billion, with the Big Fund and SICIF holding 27.04% and 22.86%, respectively, of the JV company.

Full article: LINK
 
This should mean a lot of ALD equipment invest for self aligned multiple pattering (SAMP) and high-k / metal gate stack, which if all goes like elsewhere should be open for a large amount of ASM International single wafer tools. In addition, Applied Materials Olympia may be in for a match in SAMP processing according to my understanding of the FEOL Logic market.  
 
 
Fab startegy from SMIC company presentation (LINK)
 
Established in 2000, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation ("SMIC") is one of the leading dedicated semiconductor foundries in the world and the largest and most advanced foundry in Mainland China. SMIC has the following wafer fabs (www.smics.com)
 
Shanghai: one 300mm wafer fab; one 200mm wafer fab
Beijing: two 300mm wafer fabs
Tianjin: one 200mm wafer fab
Shenzhen: one 200mm fab
Italy: one 200mm wafer fab

Monday, January 29, 2018

Apple chip maker TSMC plans 5-nanometer chips for 2020, 3-nanometer in 2022


Apple’s chip manufacturer TSMC today broke ground on its first 5-nanometer fabrication facility in Taiwan, promising that 5-nanometer chips will be commercially available in 2020, with 3-nanometer chips planned for 2022. The tiny new processors will guarantee that future smartphones continue to shrink while offering superior performance and battery life to today’s models.

First shown in physical form by IBM and Samsung last June, the 5-nanometer chip process is capable of squeezing 30 billion transistors — digital on-off switches — into fingernail-sized chips, doubling or tripling the transistor counts of 10-nanometer chips. TSMC’s 5-nanometer process uses extreme ultraviolet lithography, requiring an expensive super-fine laser that has only recently become commercially viable.


Source: VentureBeat LINK

EXALOS orders Veeco's Propel GaN MOCVD platform for R&D on SLEDs


Epitaxial deposition and process equipment maker Veeco Instruments Inc of Plainview, NY, USA says that EXALOS AG of Schlieren, Switzerland has ordered a Propel gallium nitride (GaN) metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) system (for delivery in third-quarter 2018) for R&D on broadband superluminescent light-emitting diodes (SLEDs).

As a hybrid between LEDs (which emit broadband light from a surface in all directions) and laser diodes (which emit narrowband light from a waveguide with a well-defined laser beam), superluminescent LEDs emit broadband light in a highly directional beam through electrical current injection, and are used in medical and industrial imaging, motion control detectors, navigation, optical sensing and metrology applications.


Source: Semiconductor Today LINK

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sino IP Office Rules in Favor of AMEC by Rendering Veeco Instruments' Susceptorless Reactor Patent Invalid

AMEC
SHANGHAI, Jan. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) today announced that the Patent Re-examination Board (PRB) of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in China, ruled on Jan. 23 that all patent claims relating to patent number ZL 01822507.1 held by Veeco Instruments Inc. (Veeco U.S.), and titled "Susceptorless reactor for growing epitaxial layers on wafers by chemical vapor deposition", are invalid. The court cited "lack of novelty and non-obviousness" for its decision.

The patent ruled invalid is the Chinese counterpart of the patents (U.S. 6506252 and U.S. 6726769) asserted by Veeco U.S. in an infringement action taken last year against AMEC's wafer carrier supplier, and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.