Press Coverage

MEMS Market Shifting

By Ed Sperling

The MEMS sector is beginning to look more promising, bolstered by new end-market demand and different packaging options that require more advanced engineering, processes and new materials. All of this points to higher selling prices, which are long overdue in this space.

For years, the market for microelectromechanical systems was populated by too many companies vying for too few opportunities. Some devices became commoditized to the point where costs failed to keep up with selling price reductions. Even in the more specialized and higher-margin fringes of this segment, such as MEMS-based microphones and speakers, market sizes were too small to support more than a handful of smaller companies.

read the full article here.

Lam Research Acquires Simulation and Modeling Solutions Firm Coventor

Lam Research completes acquisition of Coventor

EuroTrade – September 6, 2017

Lam Research, a supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry, has completed the acquisition of Coventor, a provider of simulation and modeling solutions for semiconductor process technology, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Lam said the acquisition supports its advanced process control vision and is expected to accelerate process integration simulation to increase the value of virtual processing, further enabling chipmakers to address some of their most significant technical challenges. read more…

Why Fabs Worry About Tool Parts

By Mark Lapedus

Achieving high yields with acceptable costs is becoming much more difficult as chipmakers migrate to next-generation 3D NAND and finFET devices—but not just because of rising complexity or lithography issues.

To fabricate an advanced logic chip, for example, a wafer moves from one piece of equipment to another in what amounts to 1,000 process steps or more in a fab. Any glitch with the equipment or a process step can cause defects, thereby impacting yield. The culprit may be a malfunction in seemingly insignificant parts or sub-systems in the equipment itself.

read the full article here.

From Movies to Data Analysis – Coventor’s SEMulator 3D Pivots

If you’ve been paying attention to the various papers at various advanced semiconductor process conferences, there’s a name you’re seeing more and more: Coventor. We’ve looked at them several times before, in the context of both their SEMulator 3D tool and their MEMS+ tool – the former for development of new semiconductor processes and the latter for designing MEMS devices.

Today we’re focusing on the SEMulator 3D tool, whose 6.1 version was recently announced. We’re doing so because the tool has turned a corner on how it’s used. Before going there, let’s talk about where we’ve been first in order to set the stage.

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What’s After FinFETs?

By Mark LaPedus

Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it’s still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next.

The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process complexities and costs escalate at each node. As a result, fewer customers can afford to design chips around advanced nodes.

read the full article here.

“Problems and Solutions at 7nm” – David Fried Video Interview with Semiconductor Engineering

David Fried, Chief Technology Officer of Coventor, has a discussion with Ed Sperling of Semiconductor Engineering about what’s going on at 7nm, and some of the problems that we’re starting to experience at both 7nm and 5nm.


[Video Attribution: Semiconductor Engineering] read more…

Scaling the Analytic Mountains – How Big Data is Changing the Course of the Semiconductor Industry

By Amelia Dalton

It’s coming. He knows it is. It’s only a matter of time before it buries him. His story is not unique. It’s been played out in our industry over and over again. He’s suffering from BUAMODS – or – Buried Under A Mountain Of Data Syndrome. But what’s the cure for this ailment? How do we dig ourselves out from underneath this mountain of analytics? In this week’s episode of Fish Fry, we strike at the very heart of this issue. Dr David Fried (CTO – Coventor) joins us to discuss how big analytics are changing the course of the semiconductor industry. We talk about the value of process variant experiments and how process modeling will affect the future of advanced 3-D technologies. Also this week, we check out a new 3-D prototype chip from MIT and Stanford University that combines data storage and computing in a single chip with a little help from multiple nanotechnologies.

Listen to this episode of fish fry here

The move to 7nm pushes design to new limits

While chipmakers are keen to move to the 7nm node, the use of ‘tricks’ to extend the life of optical lithography, amidst a continuing wait for EUV, is piling up the design challenges.

“In the last five to six years, we have gone through six to seven nodes, starting with variants of 28nm,” said Balaji Velikandanathan, quality engineer at Qualcomm, in a panel session at June’s Design Automation Conference. “We are talking about [moving from] inception to tapeout in nine months and [introducing] a new process node every year.”

Qualcomm wants to move to 7nm to push frequency to 3GHz and reduce power by 30%, compared to the 10nm Snapdragon 835 used in phones such as the HTC U11.

read the full article here