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nanochip technology journal

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Equipment & Materials Engineering

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Previous Issues

Previous Issues

Ali Salehpour, Senior Vice President General Manager, New Markets and Service Group

Few would argue that we are in an era of unprecedented growth at all nodes of chip manufacturing. Semiconductor industry revenues exceeded $419 billion in 2017, and forecasts call for about $450 billion this year. To meet the growing demand from a host of industries with aggressive time-to-market goals, new semiconductor fabs are springing up worldwide, and existing ones expanding.

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Among the many tenets of smart manufacturing, “digital twin” solutions represent a significant opportunity for microelectronics manufacturers to leverage existing and emerging technologies to improve quality and throughput, and reduce variability and cost.

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Yield enhancement has always been a key goal for semiconductor manufacturers, but has taken on increased urgency given the strong demand for chips to meet a diverse and growing set of applications.

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Consumers are moving to larger and larger televisions, attracted by the chance to have a more immersive experience and the ability to see what is on the screen from farther away.

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As Moore’s Law has been stretched and the industry has become more global, more capital intensive, and more competitive, the focus of fab managers has expanded beyond device- and equipment breakthroughs to include significant advances in service technologies to boost the efficiency of semiconductor fabs.

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Given today’s high market demand for semiconductor products, device manufacturers are looking for ways to maximize the output of good wafers from their fabs−and optimize their returns on invested capital.

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The semiconductor industry has new drivers in automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), both high- and low power, sensors, and medical and industrial applications—which happen to be traditional European core strengths. The new CEO of French RTO Leti and other industry leaders and analysts see this as a golden opportunity.

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To unlock the full potential of their manufacturing systems and personnel, companies in many industries are rapidly moving toward highly automated systems and digital data-driven methods and tools. Widely known as “smart manufacturing” or Industry 4.0, the resulting productivity improvements are often so dramatic that many people are calling this shift a new industrial revolution.

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Did you think chip making on 150mm wafers was a thing of the past? Think again. Many of the megatrends shaping our collective futures— mobility, autonomous driving and electric vehicles, 5G wireless communications, augmented- and virtual reality (AR/VR), and healthcare—depend on innovations created on the 150mm wafer size.

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At SEMI’s ISS conference early this year, Niles predicted that fully autonomous cars— widely viewed as a replacement for conventional automobiles— will begin to hit the roads by 2021, while noting that these self-driving cars “will require a tremendous increase in semiconductor content.”

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