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Top foundries reduced to three

By the end of 2011 there may be only three leading-edge high-volume foundries (TSMC, GlobalFoundries, and Samsung) able and willing to push the leading edge of CMOS through the 32nm and to 22nm and beyond, says IHS iSuppli.

Major semiconductor suppliers' advanced CMOS logic manufacturing technology capability in 2011. (Source: IHS iSuppli)

The clear favorite is TSMC, which commands 50% market share and the most capacity. (A chunk of its business is at trailing-edge, though, while GlobalFoundries is going all-in at the leading edge.) In fact, if TSMC sells directly to the merchant market it would eclipse Intel as the largest semiconductor supplier, notes Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst of semiconductor manufacturing at IHS. It's possible but unlikely that Intel could decide to scale up a foundry business (having already offered a 22nm peek to FPGA designer Achronix). And Samsung would need to be more aggressive in both memory and foundries to surpass them all.

Missing from the foundry discussion is Japan, which likely will have zero CMOS manufacturers beyond the 32nm node. Domestic equipment suppliers (with help from funding) could break out and pursue foundry opportunities, Jelinek suggests.


Global semiconductor sales hit a record $298.3b in 2010, says the SIA, which projects "moderate single-digit growth" for 2011.

A new SEMI Standards task force is developing standards for perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) o-rings and sealing elements.

SPTS has acquired Primaxx's etch technology for MEMS manufacturing.

The IEEE has added extensions to its Interconnect Technology Format for 28nm parasitic effects.

Rudolph Technologies says it has received new metrology tool orders from an Asian foundry and US IDM.

X-Fab and MFI will combine their MEMS foundry offerings.

AMEC says it has won two key etch patent disputes with Lam Research.

Eulitha and DNP say they have patterned photonic crystals on 4-in wafers.

IBM and ARM will extend their process-design collaboration to 14nm.


Si oxide can in fact be converted to a switchable conductor by an electrical process, say Rice U. researchers.

The Semiconductor Research Corp. and Stanford U. have developed a thermal nanotape for semiconductor packaging.

Scientists from four US universities say they have achieved a 60%-90% improvement in thermoelectric figure-of-merit for p-type half-Heusler, a bulk semiconductor material.

NC State researchers have devised a new technique that reduces the number of defects in GaN films for LEDs by 2-3 orders of magnitude.


Taiwanese semiconductor companies' profits are increasingly attributed to currency valuations vs. the US dollar—and they are worried about this as they plan upcoming capacity increases, according to local reports.

China has issued new access threshold for new semiconductor silicon project expansions: no less than 1000 tonnes/year.

UMC says it plans to ramp volume production of CMOS-MEMS sensor products by year's end.

Spreadtrum and TSMC have made the first chip (40nm) to support China's 3G standard.


Imec has launched an industrial affiliation program on high-bandwidth I/O between CMOS chips.

Single-layer MoS2 can be used to fabricate transistors with extremely low leakage currents (25fA/µm) and mobility comparable to 2nm thin silicon films, say EPFL researchers.

TOK has joined CEA-Leti's IMAGINE e-beam program for sub-20nm materials work.

Fraunhofer IMS has ordered Tegal equipment for MEMS fabrication.

Solid State Technology | Volume 54 | Issue 3 | March 2011

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