STMicroelectronics is to supply critical components for the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC) being constructed by CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC
will smash extreme high energy particles to investigate fundamental particle
theories such as the
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.