The DoD smartcards began rolling out in October
2001 to provide 4mn civilian and military employees and certain contractors
with a single standard means of physical identification in access to
buildings and computer networks. The cards are produced by SchlumbergerSema.
Honeywell's Electronic Materials business has been awarded US patents on
sputtering target technology (Nos.6,323,055 B1, 6,331,233 B1 and 6,348,139
A new tantalum refining method designed to reduce impurities such as
molybdenum, tungsten and niobium is covered by No.6,323,055 B1.
A process for fabricating tantalum sputtering targets with a uniform texture
throughout the material and no textural banding is covered by No.6,331,233
B1. This patent also covers thin films of tantalum made from the sputtering
targets using this method.
World chip sales were $11.7bn in July, according to the World Semiconductor
Trade Statistics organisation. This represents an 8% improvement on July
2001, the first year-on-year increase since February 2001. However, the
increase is based on a 37.4% year-on-year increase in the Asia-Pacific
region, with sales in July 2002 at $4.26bn. This hides declines in the other
regions - 4.3% down in Europe, 3.4% down in the Americas and 4.0% down in
Japan. European sales were $2.16bn in July 2002.
STMicroelectronics claims that environmental conservation and recycling
saved it $29m in absolute terms. The breakdown was $5m saved in energy
bills, $4.5m in water costs and $19.5m in chemicals. The company plans to be
carbon dioxide neutral by 2010. This is to be achieved by reducing total
energy consumption by 5% a year for each $1m of added value, adopting
alternative and renewable energy and taking part in reforestation
These results are part of ST's latest corporate environmental report, in
which ST repeats its belief that
Asyst Technologies is moving to outsource most of its manufacturing
operations to Solectron under a five-year supply agreement.
Solectron will assume operational control of most of Asyst's manufacturing
operations, which will be transitioned to Solectron's facilities in North
America and Asia over the next six to 12 months. In addition, Solectron will
buy from Asyst about $20mn of inventory to support production. Asyst's
remaining $20mn of inventory consists primarily of finished goods and spare
MEMSCAP is shipping samples of low-port count photonic switches and variable
optical attenuators (VOAs), aimed at the metro and access levels of the
telecoms network. The switch samples are in evaluation at major customer
sites. They are the first products out of MEMSCAP's fully automated,
high-volume MEMS fabrication facility in Bernin, France. Insertion losses
range from 0.5dB to 1.0dB, with a switching speed of 1msec. The foundry is
equipped to handle both 150mm and 200mm wafers.
Axcelis Technologies has completed its acquisition of Tritek International's
semiconductor equipment division in China (Bulletin 442, July 22, 2002).
Tritek's semiconductor equipment division will become part of Axcelis
Technologies China, bringing the total China workforce to 40 people. Tritek
is one of China's leading semiconductor equipment distribution and support
Philips Electronics and Intersil plan to jointly develop a reference design
based on a Philips chipset and Intersil laser driver for DVD+RW/+R
(DVD+ReWriteable/+Recordable) drives. The reference design for both PC and
standalone DVD recorders will support 4X record speeds, and has the
potential to support speeds up to 12X. With DVD recorders based on this
reference design, consumers will have the ability to create 4.7GByte video
or data DVDs in fewer than 15 minutes, twice the speed of existing DVD
recorders, claim the companies. The reference design will be offered to a
broad range of DVD+RW manufacturers, including Philips.
In-Stat/MDR reports that 109m image sensors worth $1.2bn were shipped in
2001. This represents a unit increase from 2000's of just under 100m.
Revenues are flat with 2000's $1.2bn. The company expects that 2004 will be
the year that CMOS image sensors take over from charge-coupled devices (CCD)
as the leading electronic image technology in terms of units. CCDs are
expected to lead in revenues beyond 2006.
Intel is expecting Q3 revenues to be slightly below the mid range of its
previous guidance of $6.3-6.9bn. The range has been narrowed to $6.3-6.7bn.
Microprocessor units sales are at the lower end of seasonal patterns, but
Flash memory is in line with expectations.
German high performance BiCMOS foundry start-up Communicant Semiconductor
Technologies and its technology partner Innovations for High Performance
microelectronics (IHP) claim best-in-class SiGe:C BiCMOS. A ring oscillator
constructed in the technology has achieved a 4.2ps gate delay. Earlier this
year, IBM reported SiGe ring oscillators with measured time delays of 4.3ps
(Bulletin 421, February 25, 2002).
An Aixtron Tricent MOCVD reactor has been installed at the University of
Magdeburg's new cleanroom facility for non-volatile memory material
research. Magdeburg and Aixtron plan joint research activities on new
precursors and related physical properties for the materials strontium
bismuth tantalate (SBT) and lead zirconium tantalate (PZT) for future
non-volatile ferroelectric memory (FeRAM) applications. Such memories would
combine the ultra-fast read/write times of DRAMs with the non-volatile
properties of EEPROMs.
Manganese-doped gallium phosphide has been found to be ferromagnetic above
room temperature (Physical Review Letters, September 2, 2002) in work
carried out with collaboration between the University of Florida and Lucent
Technologies Bell Laboratories. The ferromagnetic property peaks at
3atomic%. While low temperature behaviour suggests ferromagnetism up to a
Curie temperature of 385K, the experimental value is 270K (below 0C).
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) has filed an application regarding
plans for a fab investment project in Mainland China. The application was
filed with the Investment Committee of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic
Affairs. After obtaining government approval, the company plans to establish
a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary in Mainland China, for the purpose of
building a 200mm fab in the Songjiang Science Park in Shanghai and to
provide foundry services in Mainland China.
Advanced Photonix' board of directors has unanimously rejected an
unsolicited and conditional takeover offer from OSI Systems. OSIS is a
direct competitor of API. The board is reviewing appropriate steps designed
to insure that the company can maintain its independence. Advanced Photonix
supplies silicon-based electro-optical products and designs to OEMs.
Products include patented Large Area Avalanche Photodiode (LAAPD) and
FILTRODE detectors, as well as PIN photodiodes.
AMD and UMC plan to jointly develop advanced process control (APC)
technology for 300mm semiconductor manufacturing.
APC aims at minimising costs, maximising productivity, ensuring consistent
high quality and facilitating real-time adjustments to the manufacturing
process for improved yields. APC techniques include run-to-run control (RtR)
and fault detection and classification (FDC). RtR minimises process drift
and variation by providing real-time, automated feed-forward and feedback
adjustments to process tools. FDC reduces wafer losses by monitoring and
proactively shutting down complex tools before machine drift can adversely
affect device yields.
STMicroelectronics has made a multi-year, multi-generation license agreement
with embedded memory developer Virage Logic. ST has licensed Virage Logic's
entire portfolio of embedded memory technology and embedded software tools
for its future 90nm and 65nm and current 0.13micron logic processes. Virage
Logic is to expand its embedded SRAMs, ROMs and non-volatile memory
platforms for both 90nm and future 65nm products targeted for ST's 300mm
Crolles II fab in France. STMicroelectronics has already successfully taped
out 90nm memory products from Virage Logic.
Compound annual growth rates for microcontroller unit shipments is expected
to be 11.32% in the period 2001-2006, according to In-Stat/MDR. Revenue
CAGRs is expected to be 1% as a result of price erosion. The devices are
expected to meet increasing competition from system on chip products.