Semicon West 2006: from the lab to the fab.Last year, the front-end and back-end In their most general meanings, the terms front end and back end refer to the initial and the end stages of a process flow. These terms acquire more special meanings in particular areas. sections of Semicon West were reunited in the newly expanded Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden . This year's event, which ran July 10-14, expanded the show even more by including the West Hall at Moscone. The increased space allowed the show to open up and create a more festive atmosphere that matched the general optimism of the semiconductor industry. In addition to a Biergarten within the convention hall, there was also an opportunity to fide a Segway Human Transporter Noun 1. Segway Human Transporter - (trademark) a self-balancing personal transportation device with two wheels; can operate in any level pedestrian environment
Segway, Segway HT
electrical device - a device that produces or is powered by electricity through a short course. Even the exhibitors displayed a certain amount of levity lev·i·ty
n. pl. lev·i·ties
1. Lightness of manner or speech, especially when inappropriate; frivolity.
2. Inconstancy; changeableness.
3. The state or quality of being light; buoyancy. . For instance, the Applied Materials Applied Materials, Inc. NASDAQ: AMAT (HKSE: 4336 ) is the global leader in nanomanufacturing technology solutions with a broad portfolio of innovative equipment, service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips, flat panel solar displays, solar booth provided Nanoball for the attendees to enjoy--an impressive virtual pinball game projected onto the scrim scrim
1. A durable, loosely woven cotton or linen fabric used for curtains or upholstery lining or in industry.
2. A transparent fabric used as a drop in the theater to create special effects of lights or atmosphere. hanging above the players and spectators in the booth. These and other diversions served to reinforce the positive perception that the market for semiconductor equipment is once again healthy and growing.
As concrete evidence of this, the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Institute (SEMI), which organizes the exposition, released its midyear consensus forecast for semiconductor equipment sales. Although the overall market fell 11.4% in 2005, the forecast for this year predicts an increase of 18% to $38.81 billion. This is not merely an idle forecast, for much of that increase has already been felt by suppliers during the first half of this year. For 2007, the total market is only expected to increase slightly, followed by double-digit growth for 2008. By 2009, the total market for semiconductor equipment is expected to reach $44 billion.
In international markets, the Chinese market tumbled more than 50% in 2005, but is expected to rebound in 2006 with 78% growth, the greatest of any region. The only geographic market that continued growing in 2005 was South Korea, which posted an impressive 26% increase, helping it to briefly surpass Taiwan and North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. to become the second largest regional market for semiconductor equipment, following Japan. For 2006, the North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. and Taiwanese markets are forecast to grow more than 20%, which will put them back ahead of Korea. In the long-term, the Chinese market will achieve the greatest average growth, but will remain less than half the size of the Korean market in 2009.
Wafer processing, the largest individual segment and the one most closely allied to analytical instrumentation, is expected to grow slightly faster than the overall semiconductor equipment market, with 20% growth in 2006. This is mainly due to the ongoing construction and upgrading of semiconductor wafer fabrication facilities. New tools are being called for as the standard wafer size continues to migrate from 200 mm to 300 mm. At the same time, the feature size on the chips continues to shrink from 130 nm to 90 nm to 65nm, which is the smallest commercially available feature size at the present time. However, Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, www.amd.com) A major manufacturer of semiconductor devices including x86-compatible CPUs, embedded processors, flash memories, programmable logic devices and networking chips. have each produced 45 nm chips and full-scale production of them is expected by 2007. Development of the 32 nm technology node is active, but on the distant horizon as far as production is concerned.
The focus of Semicon West has definitely shifted further towards the manufacturing process rather than the laboratory. While many booths featured impressive automated tools and components for wafer handling, inspection and processing, few vendors of laboratory instruments had their wares on display. Among the exceptions were Dionex, JASCO JASCO Japan-America Society of Central Ohio , Thermo Electron and the major vendors of optical microscopes. Even at these booths, however, the emphasis appeared to be on process instrumentation. Although the reunification re·u·ni·fy
tr.v. re·u·ni·fied, re·u·ni·fy·ing, re·u·ni·fies
To cause (a group, party, state, or sect) to become unified again after being divided. of the tradeshow seems to have decreased the importance of lab in relation to fab, instrument vendors expect excellent growth in the semiconductor market.
With more room in the convention hall, Semicon West was also able to expand its Technology Innovation Showcase (TIS) this year. Some of the selected winners were offering tools and components of an analytical nature. Perhaps the most impressive was the Looking Glass helium ion microscope from ALIS ALIS Alberta Learning Information Service
ALIS Alternate Lighting of Surface Method (Fujitsu and Hitachi plasma displays)
ALIS Access Lines in Service (telecommunications) . Similar to an electron microscope electron microscope: see microscope. , the LG-2 uses helium ions rather than electrons as the charged species that probe surfaces. The use of heavier helium ions provides better contrast and better depth of field than standard electron microscopes. The first unit has been built and the company expects to ship three this year at a price of approximately $1.65 million.
Another intriguing TIS winner this year was Deep Photonics, which is commercializing a high power solid-state laser system as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and product to semiconductor suppliers. The laser operates in the deep UV (266 nm) making it suitable for inspection and etching applications with very small semiconductor features. But the main advantage is that the solid-state technology provides a stable, long-lived laser without any compromise in power (up to 2.5 kW peak power in pulsed mode). Test units of the pulsed system are now available at a price of about $175,000, while the continuous wave version should be ready by September.
TIS winner XRadia has sold several of its MicroXCT x-ray microscopes, since its introduction in October of last year. The system can create high resolution 3D computed tomographs of electronic devices for inspection and review. The system also has potential applications in the 3D imaging of biological samples.