Saturday, December 29, 2018

Huawei Kirin 990 to be the first prodcut to use TSMC 7nm EUV process

Huawei has become the second-largest client of TSMC and can be the first company adopting the pure-play foundry’s N7+ extreme ultraviolet (EUV) process node manufacturing, likely via the Kirin 990. 
Source: Kirin 990 To Be the First Customer to Use a TSMC Process Using EUV LINK
By Abhishekkumar Thakur 


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Intel to get 700 million shekel grant for Israel expansion

Israel will give Intel Corp a 700 million shekel ($185 million) grant in return for a planned $5 billion expansion of its production operations in Israel.

Source: Reuters

Monday, December 24, 2018

TRUMPF acquiring VCSEL laser diode maker Philips Photonics

TRUMPF GmbH of Ditzingen, near Stuttgart, Germany is acquiring Philips Photonics GmbH of Ulm, Germany, a wholly owned business of Royal Philips of Eindhoven, The Netherlands that provides vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology for datacom, consumer and industrial applications.
Established in 2000 as ULM Photonics GmbH and acquired by Philips in 2006, Philips Photonics in November announced its third production capacity expansion in the last three years (to be completed within the next 18 months).

With about 13,400 employees, TRUMPF makes machine tools, laser technology and electronics for industrial manufacturing. The firm says that the acquisition opens up a new market segment for it in addition to its existing business with high-power diode lasers as well as expanding its product portfolio. Employing about 280 people, laser diodes from Philips Photonics are used in, for example, smartphones, digital data transmission, and sensors for autonomous driving. As well as its manufacturing facility in Ulm, Philips Photonics also has sites in Aachen, Germany, Eindhoven in The Netherlands, and sales offices in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Qingdao in China.

“We want to open up new product fields and expand our existing portfolio at a strategically important point,” says TRUMPF’s CEO Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller. Through the acquisition, the firm should expand its access to fast-growing markets in the photonics and digital products sectors.

“Philips Photonics employs a large number of very good developers who have opened up new areas of photonics and who will strengthen our research and development area in the long term,” comments chief financial officer Lars Grünert, member of the group’s management board responsible for the new TRUMPF product sector. “Together, we want to further develop the Photonics division.” In its past fiscal year 2017/18, TRUMPF has invested €337m in R&D (a development ratio of 9.5%).

“Since our foundation in 2000, we have grown strongly. More than half a billion cell phones worldwide are equipped with laser diode technology from Philips Photonics,” notes Philips Photonics business leader Joseph Pankert. Becoming part of TRUMPF “will ensure that the division can continue to grow in a highly innovative company in the future,” he adds.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in second-quarter 2019. Authorities still have to approve the acquisition.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

IBM announcagreement with Samsung to manufacture 7nm microprocessors for IBM

Following Globalfoundries desission to stop at 14nm, IBM today announced an agreement with Samsung to manufacture 7nm microprocessors for IBM Power Systems™, IBM Z™ and LinuxONE™, high-performance computing (HPC) systems, and cloud offerings.The agreement combines Samsung's industry-leading semiconductor manufacturing with IBM's high-performance CPU designs. 
Source : Yahoo Finance LINK
by Abhishekkumar Thakur

Chinese AMEC 5nm plasma etching tools verified by TSMC

DigiTimes report (LINK) that the Chinese OEM Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment (AMEC) announced recently its in-house developed 5nm plasma etching tools have been verified by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). AMEC is already among TSMC's equipment suppliers for the foundry's 28nm, 10nm and 7nm processes.

Earlier in 2018 AMEC Introduced the Primo Nanova® System, which is the Company's first ICP etch Product for Chipmakers' most advanced memory and logic (LINK). Besides ICP AMEC has products based on CCP etch and platforms for TSV Etch (LINK).
 AMEC Introduced the Primo Nanova® System (AMEC)

Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC)
AMEC is China's leading provider of advanced process technology to global manufacturers of semiconductors and solid-state lighting (SSL) products. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company is an entrenched supplier of dielectric and TSV Etch tools, helping chipmakers build devices at process nodes as low as 7nm. To date, nearly 800 AMEC process units have been positioned at 40 leading-edge semiconductor fabs across Asia. The company is also well established in Europe with AMEC MEMS tools running in production at major IDMs. In addition, with its MOCVD system, the company helps SSL manufacturers build today's most advanced LED products. To learn more about AMEC, please visit

TSMC’s USD19 billion 3 nm Fab will start production in 2020

TSMC's 3 nm wafer fab: In August, TSMC announced investment of $19 billion to build a 3 nm wafer fab. Today, according to the Taiwanese ‘Economic Daily’ report, TSMC’s 3-nanometer factory passed the environmental assessment. According to the original scheduling, the world’s first 3-nanometer plant is expected to start construction in 2020 and complete equipment installation in 2021. Moreover, it’s expected to be put into operation as early as the end of 2022 and early 2023. At present, the 3nm wafer factory in Tainan Park is estimated to cover an area of 28 hectares. It is located close to TSMC’s 5nm factory.

Source: TSMC’s 3nm Plant Will Start Production in 2020 LINK


Written by Abhishekkumar Thakur and Jonas Sundqvist

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The semi equipment market will contract 2019 but grow 20.7 percent to reach an all-time high 2020

TOKYO – December 12, 2018 – Releasing its Year-End Total Equipment Forecast at the annual SEMICON Japan exposition, SEMI, the global industry association representing the electronics manufacturing supply chain, today reported that worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment are projected to increase 9.7 percent to $62.1 billion in 2018, exceeding the historic high of $56.6 billion set last year. The equipment market is expected to contract 4.0 percent in 2019 but grow 20.7 percent to reach $71.9 billion, an all-time high. [Source: SEMI LINK

For 2019, SEMI forecasts that South Korea, China, and Taiwan will remain the top three markets, with all three regions maintaining their relative rankings. Equipment sales in South Korea is forecast to reach $13.2 billion, in China $12.5 billion, and in Taiwan $11.81 billion. Japan, Taiwan and North America are the only regions expected to experience growth next year. The growth picture is much more optimistic in 2020, with all regional markets expected to increase in 2020, with the market increasing the most in Korea, followed by China, and Rest of World [Source: SEMI LINK]

After a period of record growth in 2017-18, the semiconductor equipment industry is expected to face a slowdown in 2019. Logic is strong but memory is weak, and the trade issues between the United States and China are a cause for concern. According to a report in Semiengineering (LINK), heading into 2019, there is a shortfall of 200 mm equipment. The industry requires from 2,000-3,000 new or refurbished 200 mm tools to meet fab demand, according to SurplusGlobal. But there are only 500 available 200 mm tools on the market, according to the company. 200 mm tool prices will remain high. 300 mm tool prices are lower than 200 mm tool prices these days
For the ALD OEM market the situation is therefore heating up even though the. Currently the top 300 mm ALD equipment companies (ASM, TEL, Lam, Jusung, Wonik IPS, Applied Materials) does not actively support the market with pure play 200 mm products except for Large Batch Furnaces. So if you want a 200 mm single wafer ALD tool today you can buy a 300 mm tool and equip it with 200 mm handling or go to one of the smaller companies like Picosun, Veeco, Beneq, Oxford Instruments, which all have 200 mm ALD cluster products on the market today.
From presentation "ALD/CVD applications, equipment and precursors in high volume manufacturing" at SEMICON Europa 2018, available on SlideShare LINK.
Written by Abhishekkumar Thakur and Jonas Sundqvist

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

UNSW and Leadmicro announce a joint initiative to develop next generation high-efficiency solar cells

[Leadmicro News] The University of New-South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, and Jiangsu Leadmicro Nano-Equipment Technology Ltd. (LEADMICRO), a China-based global manufacturer of advanced thin film deposition and etch equipment, have announced a partnership to develop the next generation high-efficiency solar cells based on novel Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology within the frame work of an Arena Project entitled “Advanced high-efficiency silicon solar cells employing innovative atomic scale engineered surface and contact passivation layers”. Mr Warwick Dawson, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Prof. Mark Hoffman, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Prof. A/Prof Bram Hoex of School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, as well as Mr. Yangqin Wang, Chairman of the LEAD Group and Dr. Wei-Min Li, CTO of LEADMICRO witnessed the signing ceremony.

Left to right: Research Fellow, Ouyang Zi; Chairman of Wuxi Lead Intelligent Equipment Co. Ltd., Mr. Yanqing Wang; CTO of Jiangsu Leadmicro Nano-Equipment Technology Ltd., Dr Wei-Min LI; Director Knowledge Exchange at UNSW, Warwick Dawson; Dean of Engineering at UNSW, Professor Mark Hoffman; Associate Professor Bram Hoex.

The photovoltaic industry is currently amid the transfer to the technologically superior PERC technology which was developed at UNSW in the late 1980s. According to A/Prof Bram Hoex, who leads the project at UNSW, “A major part of the advantages of the PERC solar cell compared to the incumbent technology is due to the application of ultrathin films which reduce the electronic losses at the non-contacted areas at the rear of the silicon solar cell. It is generally accepted that the next technological node will use so called “passivating contacts” which simultaneously allows for low electronic and resistive losses. These passivating contacts typically consist of a combination of ultrathin films, thus we see that nanoscale thin films will play an increasingly important role in solar cells. ALD allows controlling the growth of thin films at the atomic level and therefore is ideally suited for making these contacts.” In this project, Leadmicro will donate a pilot-scale ALD reactor to UNSW which will be housed at its Solar Industrial Research Facility (SIRF) at UNSW’s Kensington campus. “The fact that we will have a high-throughput reactor available on campus will allow us to very quickly transfer the processes we develop at the lab-scale tools and test their performance at the solar cell device level, so the technology is ready for Leadmicro’s clients to use in high-volume manufacturing” says A/Prof Hoex.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

TSMC to build new 8-inch fab capacity

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has disclosed plans to build a new 8-inch wafer fab at its manufacturing site in Tainan, southern Taiwan to satisfy robust customer demand.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has disclosed plans to build a new 8-inch wafer fab at its manufacturing site in Tainan, southern Taiwan to satisfy robust customer demand. TSMC's last 8-inch fab was established about 15 years ago.

Plans to add a new 8-inch fabrication facility is to meet growing customer demand for specialty process technologies, according to TSMC CEO CC Wei.

List of TSMC Fabs: LINK

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Qualcomm reveals Snapdragon 8cx, an Intel-class 7-nanometer laptop chip

Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 8cx will maintain a "connected standby" status that leads to "instant on" connectivity, yet excellent battery life.

Source: VentureBeat LINK
This is then the world’s first 7-nanometer chip for PCs but please have in mind that Intel 10 nm corresponds to Qualcomm 7 nm that is TSMC 7 nm process. Such a 7 nm Snapdragon 8cx wafer has actually been spotted by Anandtech (LINK).