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Wednesday 1st January 2003
Clare Micronix, recently acquired by IXYS (Bulletin 437, June 17, 2002), claims to have the industry's first standard product driver for cholesteric liquid crystal display (Ch LCD) panels. The new display driver IC, the MXED401, targets the emerging non-volatile reflective LCD market, specifically bi-stable and multi-stable Ch LCDs. The device is manufactured in a high voltage (30V) CMOS process. Samples are due to be available in gold-bumped die form next month.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Scientists at Princeton University are proposing direct imprint of nanostructures in silicon as an alternative to photolithography and etch (Nature, June 20, 2002). The team calls its new technique laser assisted direct imprint (LADI). An excimer laser pulse (308nm, 20ns) melts a thin surface layer of the silicon and a quartz mould is embossed into the resulting liquid. Structures with a 10nm resolution have been created. The embossing time is less than 250ns.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
French microsystems producer MEMSCAP has relocated its registered French headquarters, and all Grenoble-area facilities, to its new production site located in Bernin, outside of Grenoble. Last week, management and design teams moved to the new offices, joining the production staff, who have been on-site since December 2001. The company now operates in 13,520m2 of space. The official inauguration of the site will be held at a later date.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Communications IC producer TriQuint Semiconductor has acquired assets from IBM's wireless phone chipset business. TriQuint is taking over design, development, marketing and sales of certain standard and custom IBM semiconductor products used in wireless phones and other communications applications. IBM will continue to manufacture the components for TriQuint. The products being transferred to TriQuint include voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs), receivers and wideband CDMA chipsets, all based on silicon germanium process technology. TriQuint will assume related product assets and be granted assignments and licenses to associated intellectual property. The transaction is expected to close by the end of June 2002. TriQuint will make an initial payment of $22m to IBM, with subsequent adjustments contingent upon business volumes.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Fujitsu and Toshiba have agreed to explore comprehensive collaboration on system-on-chip (SoC) solutions at 100nm and finer. The companies will establish several joint working groups to investigate collaboration in areas such as standardisation of design and development platforms and silicon technology; co-development of processor cores and other intellectual property; and joint development of advanced large-scale integration (LSI) for communications and other fields. The two companies may later seek to expand the partnership, including the possibility of integrating operations. The companies have previously worked together - for example on the fast channel RAM (FCRAM) high-speed memory.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
A "key customer" for Entegris has completed conversion to wafer carriers made from a proprietary blend of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and carbon fibre.
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Wednesday 1st January 2003
SEMI produced its May book-to-bill figures for the North American semiconductor equipment industry. Bookings were $1.08bn and billings $0.862bn, giving a ratio of 1.26. The bookings were up 50% up on May 2001 and billings down 41%. April's book-to-bill was 1.22. VLSI Research confused matters for some by releasing its own
Wednesday 1st January 2003
US high tech company Motorola announced job reductions of 7000 people worldwide. The cut backs are due to hit all business segments and are designed to lower costs for manufacturing, R&D, sales and admin. The charges associated with the reorganisation are valued at $1.9bn. A total accounting charge of $3.5bn for this and other measures, including write-offs, is to be made. Total headcount by the end of the year is set to be 100,000 workers.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
IXYS subsidiary Clare has a 125mm Si wafer foundry service for high voltage IC (HVIC), micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) and silicon on insulator (SOI) products. In particular, Clare is making available 330V BCDMOS SOI-based HVIC process technology, MEMS fabrication with and without integrated HVIC circuitry, and thick film SOI wafers with and without lateral high voltage trench isolation. These capabilities are qualified and currently in production. Clare supports a fully integrated Cadence design environment for the HVIC process. Process and materials specifications, capabilities, design rules and qualification data are also available.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo engineering scientists report a ballistic magnetoresistance effect of 3150% at room temperature (Physical Review B, July 1, 2002). The researchers used electrodeposited nickel nanocontacts to produce devices with switching fields of a few hundred oersteds. The effect compares with the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect used in hard disk drives of less than 100%. One of the researchers, Harsh Deep Chopra, predicts that BMR devices could create storage capacities of a terabit per square inch. The detector could also be used in scientific studies of magnetism and to enhance the resolution of scanning probe microscopes.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
ASML opened a $72m North American Training Center near its US headquarters in Tempe AZ. The 10,000m2 facility is equipped with Class 100 cleanroom space, 23 classrooms and three computer labs. The centre is expected to bring more than 4000 visitors to the area during its first year of service. The facility is designed to train more than 16,000 people per year when it reaches full capacity. A team of 31 instructors will offer 145 courses on track and lithography tools, including those used in 300mm manufacturing.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
STMicroelectronics completed purchase of Alcatel Microelectronics (Bulletin 429, April 22, 2002). As part of the EUR390m cash transaction, the two companies are to cooperate on joint development of digital subscriber line (DSL) chip-sets that will also be made available to the open market. ST has also completed the sale of Alcatel Microelectronics' mixed-signal business activities to AMI Semiconductor. The transaction covers Alcatel Microelectronics' mixed-signal ASIC business and development groups, including two fabrication facilities located in Oudenaarde, Belgium, and the associated process technologies.
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Wednesday 1st January 2003
FEI has joined the Damascus Alliance industry consortium of equipment suppliers founded by Novellus Systems, Lam Research and SpeedFam-IPEC in 1998 for copper dual damascene manufacturing promotion. An FEI DualBeam metrology system has been installed at the Customer Integration Center at Novellus' Silicon Valley campus.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
NanoPierce Technologies's subsidiary ExypnoTech (Rudolstadt, Germany) intends to supply smart RFID labels to Schreiner LogiData, a subsidiary of Schreiner, under a declaration of intent agreement. Schreiner and NanoPierce Card Technologies have collaborated since November 2000 in evaluating and testing NanoPierce's NCS (NanoPierce Connection System) technology for the production of smart labels. As a result, Schreiner LogiData is to begin using smart inlays from ExypnoTech in the autumn of 2002.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Mattson Technology and Dainippon Screen Manufacturing (DNS) have amicably resolved their legal disputes with a comprehensive, global settlement. The terms include termination of all outstanding litigation between the companies and cross licenses of patents related to certain aspects of wet immersion processing systems. The settlement agreement calls for DNS to pay $40m to Mattson for past damages, including partial reimbursement of legal fees, related to sales of certain wet processing products in the US.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics show world sales of ICs at $11.37bn in May, down 10.5% year-on-year. Asia Pacific showed an increase of 22.4% to $4.16bn. Europe was down 20.6% at $2.24bn. The Americas and Japan were down 21.0% at $2.65bn and 25.9% at $2.33bn, respectively.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Worldwide silicon demand will amount to a surface area of 2.58km2 (3997m square inches) this year, according to VLSI Research. Next year this will increase to 4.60km2. In 2001, 2.41km2 of silicon were sold, according to VLSI. In terms of wafers, 118m were sold in 2001 and this year's expectation is for 120m. Next year, 138m are due to be shipped. By 2007, 300mm wafers are expected to account for 46% of silicon demand, with 200mm supplying 36%.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
The recession in the telecoms sector was underlined last week with Bookham Technology announcing it is to close two out of its four manufacturing sites. Facilities in the UK (Swindon) and USA (Maryland) are to close.
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Wednesday 1st January 2003
Philips Electronics has developed a new Flash memory option for its 0.18micron baseline CMOS process, CMOS18. The new CMOS18-FFLV (Fast-Flash, Low-Voltage) option offers memory densities approaching 1Mbit/mm2. Philips claims that CMOS18-FFLV implements the smallest area Flash memory blocks in the industry.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Swiss higher education and research centre ETH Zurich has opened a CHF10m laboratory focused on micro- and nano-scale science. The venture is called
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Shipley Europe has opened a GBP3m distribution centre in the UK. The storage area contains nearly 7000 pallet spaces, including more than 1000 in temperature controlled zones dedicated to sensitive photoresists for semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing. Construction began in July last year, and the centre opened for business in April 2002.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
TriQuint Semiconductor reports that it has completed two acquisitions - the Infineon Technologies' gallium arsenide and IBM's wireless phone chipset businesses (Bulletins 431, May 7, 2002; 438, June 24, 2002). The first transaction includes development and marketing activities with 60 former Infineon employees. TriQuint will not acquire the manufacturing operations, but rather enter into an interim supply agreement with Infineon.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Frankfurt-based Covion Organic Semiconductors has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for co-operation in organic semiconductor materials with Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). The agreement covers future R&D project development and co-operation in chemical engineering, innovative materials and opto-electronic devices with ITRI divisions and centres in Taiwan. Covion says it is the only company offering both small molecule and polymer light emitting materials on a commercial scale for flat panel display and opto-electronic applications.
Wednesday 1st January 2003
ASM International has been granted US patents on its low-k dielectric PECVD (plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition) film deposition technology (Nos.6,352,945, 6,383,955 and 6,410,463). Tominori Yoshida, product manager of ASM's Low-k Modules group, reports:

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