A Year in Review: A look back at the top stories from 2015

By Shannon Davis, Web Editor 

2015 was a year of unprecedented consolidation in the semiconductor industry, as well as a technological crossroads in Moore’s Law. Below is a round-up, based on reader popularity, of the most read stories on Solid State Technology from 2015.

1) 2015 outlook: Tech trends and drivers

Leading industry experts provided their perspectives on what to expect in 2015. 3D devices and 3D integration, rising process complexity and “big data” are among the hot topics.

2) Reframing the Roadmap: ITRS 2.0

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductor (ITRS) is being reframed to focus more on end applications, such as smartphones and micro-servers. Labeled ITRS 2.0, the new roadmap is a departure from a strong focus maintaining the path defined by Moore’s Law.

3) Freescale and NXP agree to $40B merger

Chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV announced that it has agreed to buy Freescale Semiconductor Ltd for $11.8 billion and merge business operations. The combined enterprise values at just over $40 billion and will create a new leader in the auto and industrial semiconductor markets.

4) Samsung’s FinFETs are in the Galaxy S6!

The much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S6 made an early appearance in Chipworks’ teardown labs last week, thanks to the diligent skills of their trusted logistics guru.

5) Moore’s Law to keep on 28nm

Scaling is now bifurcating – some scaling on with 28/22nm, while other push below 14nm.

6) More change for the chip industry

As if scaling to 7nm geometries and going vertical with FinFETs, TSVs and other emerging technologies wasn’t challenge enough, the emerging market for connected smart devices will bring more changes to the semiconductor sector. And then there’s 3D printing looming in the wings.

7) EUV: Unlike anything else in the fab

Imagine EUV lithography in high volume production. ASML has been working for years to make it happen. Earlier this year, ASML said that one of its major chip-manufacturing customers has placed an order for 15 EUV systems, including two that are set to be delivered before the end of this year. ASML did not name the customer, but it is almost certainly Intel (according to research firm IHS).

8) Apple Watch and ASE start new era in SiP

Back in April the Apple watch appeared in the Chipworks’ labs, and of course they pulled it apart to see its contents.

9) New AMS fab going to Marcy, NY

Austria-based ams AG, formerly known as Austriamicrosystem, announced plans to locate a new 360,000 ft2 fab in upstate New York at the Nano Utica site in Marcy, NY. The fab will be used to manufacture analog devices on 200/300mm wafers.

10) Historic era of consolidation for chipmakers

We are in a historic era for consolidation among semiconductor manufacturers. Solid State Technology compiled the latest consolidation news, as well as analysis on the implications for the industry.

11) Lithography alternatives: Why are they essential?

The availability of patterning alternatives in the lithography landscape represents a big opportunity to properly address the coming needs generated by the IoT.

12) A look ahead at IEDM 2015

In the second week of December, the good and the great of the electron device world made their usual pilgrimage to Washington D.C. for the 2015 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting.

Bonus: Top Webcasts of 2015 – Available On Demand Now!  

How the IoT is Driving Semiconductor Technology

The age of the Internet of Things is upon us, with the expectation that tens of billions of devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. This explosion of devices will make our lives simpler, yet create an array of new challenges and opportunities in the semiconductor industry. At the sensor level, very small, inexpensive, low power devices will be gathering data and communicating with one another and the “cloud.” On the other hand, this will mean huge amounts of small, often unstructured data (such as video) will be rippling through the network and the infrastructure. The need to convert that data into “information” will require a massive investment in data centers and leading edge semiconductor technology. 

Sensor Fusion and the Role of MEMS in the IoT

MEMS have quite different process and material requirements compared to mainstream microprocessor and memory types of devices. This webcast will explore the latest trends in MEMS devices – including sensor fusion and the important role that MEMS will play in the Internet of Things (IoT). Marcellino Gemelli, Head of Business Development at Bosch Sensortec will discuss how smart systems are enabled through sensor fusion. Karen Lightman, Executive Director of MEMS Industry Group (MIG), provided a “debrief” from the recent MEMS Technical Congress and a preview of a SEMICON West workshop focused on back-end challenges.

3D NAND Challenges and Opportunities

Flash memory has revolutionized the world of solid-state data storage, mainly because of the advent of NAND technology. However, from the technical point of view, this requires a major change in how these memories are being fabricated. This presentation discusses this (r)evolution as well as its major scaling limitations.

Resolve to stay up-to-date on industry news in 2016! Here’s how.

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