The proliferation of electronics, due to the rise of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, big data, the internet of things and other applications, is providing a new era of growth and prosperity for the semiconductor industry, this analysis notes. DRAMs, NAND flash memory devices and processors account for a majority of chip sales, providing steady or rising revenue for top players.
The big silicon foundries are fighting for market share in making chips with 28-nanometer features; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International are prospering with their 28nm business, while United Microelectronics is not, Alan Patterson writes.
Worldwide demand for semiconductor-grade silicon wafers is running hot, and GlobalWafers sees a tight supply situation continuing through the end of next year. Pricing on 12-inch wafers is expected to increase by 5% to 10% per quarter, while slackening somewhat in the latter half of this year.
Researchers in China developed a nanoelectromechanical system device made with graphene nanoribbons, using a gold gating contact at the bottom of the trench to actuate the NEMS device. The team observed a connection between conductance and nanomechanical motion via a single-electron transistor.
University researchers have come up with 2D quantum materials that could have applications in superconducting. The team saw magnetism develop in a microscopic flake of chromium germanium telluride at negative 197 degrees C, exhibiting characteristics related to graphene.
Radio-frequency chips, especially RF switch devices and antenna tuners, represent a growing business in the semiconductor industry because of their use in smartphones. Foundries are offering RF silicon-on-insular processes to make chips for 4G and 5G wireless networks.
DRAMeXchange forecasts that 50% of all NAND flash memories produced this year will be 3D NAND flash memory devices, as manufacturers increase their production of the stacked memory chips and Apple uses more of them in new iPhone models. The market research firm says volume production of 64-layer 3D NAND flash memories will start during the second six months of this year.
Texas Instruments reported first-quarter net income of $997 million, compared with $771 million a year earlier, as sales increased 13%. Automotive and industrial chips drove the growth in Q1 and are expected to keep growing sales during the second quarter, per TI's forecast.
Samsung Electronics next month will be offering embedded magnetoresistive RAM within system-on-a-chip devices for its foundry customers. The SoCs will be fabricated with a 28-nanometer fully depleted silicon-on-insulator process.
Goethe University Frankfurt researchers are building a library of organic light-emitting diode characteristics that show better charge-transport properties and luminescence. The university chemists look for promising polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a three-component reaction.
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