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Beware: The "V" curve cuts both ways

IC shipments peaked at a record 44.5 billion units in 1Q10, surpassing the previous mark of 44.1B in 3Q08, driven by demand in PCs and cell phones, returning automotive demand, and "an overall rebound in consumer spending for electronics," notes IC Insights. Unit shipment growth had spiked to a 14% pace from 2005-2007, up from 9.5% from 2000-2004; essentially the downturn shifted IC unit shipment growth back onto that a 9.5% trendline, where the analyst firm expects it to stay for the next five years.

Note that the worst sequential quarterly IC unit growth rates (4Q08-1Q09) were immediately followed by the two best periods (2Q09-3Q09)—a "V-shape" trend that extends to the annual plane, where a lousy year in IC sales has typically been followed by an excellent year. With 2009 pegged as the third-worst decline in IC units in three decades, projections indicate 2010 will come in 3rd best over the timespan, with "a good chance" that growth could top 27%, making it the No.2 year.

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What goes up must, of course, come down. Several of those peak IC unit shipment years were again followed by a year of decline (e.g. 1980-1981, 1984-1985, 1997-1998, 2000-2001).


Demand for silicon wafers shipped for semiconductor manufacturing is seen increasing 17% to 8.2 billion MSI (millions of sq. in.), rebounding from an -11% decline in 2009, driven by 27% growth in 300mm wafer shipments, according to iSuppli. Looking ahead, the firm projects 4.8% CAGR in wafer shipment MSI from 2008-2013—with growth only in 300mm (12.4%, 6.1B MSI), and 200mm and 150mm both contracting -2.0% each.

After a disastrous 2009, the market for CMP slurry and pad consumables is expected to recover to pre-downturn peak levels by 2011, according to a new report from Linx Consulting.

Presto and CEA-Leti are starting a three-year collaboration to develop test and analysis capabilities for 3D semiconductor devices.


The town of Malta, NY, has OK'd GlobalFoundries' open-ended proposal to add another 400,000 sq. ft. to its chip fab.

Texas Instruments is launching Phase II of analog manufacturing capacity expansion at its RFAB site in Richardson, TX.

Researchers at the U. of California/Riverside have found that graphene layers could remove dissipated heat in electronics devices.

SUMCO is putting its semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility near Cincinnati, OH, up for sale, seeking buyers from "alternative advanced technology" areas including solar PV and batteries.

SVTC says it is now offering ITAR-compliant development and manufacturing services for technologies with potential defense applications.

Intel is investing 2.3M pesos (about US $190M) and adding 150 more engineers in its design center in Guadalaraja, Mexico.

Agilent and the U. of California/San Diego have opened a new chip-scale micro-/nanophotonic testing facility.

Integran and Kurt J. Lesker are partnering to produce high-purity copper sputtering targets for semiconductor device manufacturing.


TSMC has greenlit more than $1.6B in new fab investments, including $210M to support groundbreaking of its new Fab 15 300mm gigafab.

UMC reportedly is pulling in cleanroom construction and equipment installation for Phase 3 of its Fab12A in the Tainan Science Park.

Samsung Electronics says it has developed a new heat dissipating packaging technology for display drivers ICs in high-end TVs.

Nemotek now offers a wafer-level one-element lens, targeting mobile phones and image sensors.

Innovation Network will invest ¥2.6B (about US $30M) in domestic startup Genusion and its "B4" flash memory which it claims can read/write data 30-100× faster than conventional memory, reports the Nikkei daily.

Macronix is buying ProMOS' 300mm fab in Hsinchu, and reportedly will invest $500M-$600M+ in the site.

Toshiba plans to hike output of CMOS image sensors by 20% to 11M units in the fiscal half-year through September, and is readying a new back-illuminated CMOS sensor, says the Nikkei daily.

South Korean researchers have developed a 20nm-level super high-density ferroelectric material for future next-generation memory devices.

Samsung is ramping up 40nm-class high-density DDR3 production to accommodate increased demand from server manufacturers.

MagnaChip now offers 0.18µm embedded EEPROM technology for specialized applications.

Elpida Memory is issuing up to $200M in shares (a ~4.8% stake) to module subcon Kingston Technology in a fundraising bid to support its 4Xnm node migration.

Mistubishi Heavy Industries has delivered its first automated room-temperature production bonding system for 200mm wafers to a MEMS manufacturer in Japan.

Samsung is publicly declaring its chip fabs are "safe" following new concerns about worker deaths from leukemia and possible links to radiation.

STATS ChipPAC says it has implemented 300mm eWLB capabilities.

Applied Materials has opened an Asian chip tool "hub" in Singapore.

Local reports suggest SMIC wants TI to take over its wafer plant in Chengdu.

Toshiba has made "a significant investment" in flash memory array firm Violin Memory.


Asys has acquired DynTest and its singulation process technology for use in LEDs.

Atmel reportedly will sell its secure microcontroller business to French firm Inside Contactless; the deal would include a multiwafer sourcing deal to Atmel's former ASIC foundry in Rousset now owned by LFoundry.

After more than three years under a private equity umbrella, NXP Semiconductors is being prepped for a >$1B initial public offering.

FEI is relocating the rest of its Small Dual-Beam product manufacturing from the Netherlands to Brno, Czech Republic.

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