Tom Coughlin surveys recent developments in the field of 3D memory technology, such as Samsung Electronics' production of V-NAND flash memory devices and the forthcoming 3D XPoint memories created by Intel and Micron Technology. Technology partners SanDisk and Toshiba plan to offer 3D NAND flash by next year, he writes.
Samsung Electronics and Sony offset their issues with disappointing smartphone sales during the second calendar quarter through strong sales of components -- semiconductors in Samsung's case and image sensors for Sony. Samsung's system LSI devices and memory chips provided 49% of the company's operating profit in Q2. Sales of Sony's image sensors in its fiscal first quarter were up 35%, while the division's operating almost tripled, and Sony raised its forecast for full-year sales of image sensors.
Toshiba licensed the ARM Cortex-A53 processor design, which can support 32-bit and 64-bit software code. The company will use the Cortex-A53 in application-specific standard parts, such as application processors, along with Fit Fast Structured Arrays and application-specific integrated circuits in automotive, data storage, industrial, Internet of Things and networking products.
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Amkor Technology, Siliconware Precision Industries and other IC assembly and test contractors have turned to system-in-package technology to cram the necessary components into the Apple Watch and other wearable electronics. IDC forecasts the wearables market will reach $17.1 billion, an increase of 173% when compared with 2014 figures.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with a capacitor dielectric material using a hybrid silica sol-gel material and a nanoscale self-assembled monolayer of octylphosphonic acid. The material can provide electrical energy storage capacity approximating that of batteries, the research team reports.
Electrostatic discharge has become a bigger problem for chip designs with the continued scaling down of IC dimensions, along with electrical reliability, according to Mentor Graphics. "The big risk designers have is from allowing inappropriate voltages being applied to different parts of the circuit on the same die," Mentor's Carey Robertson said.
United Microelectronics Corp. expects 28-nanometer chips will represent about 10% of its production during the second half, compared with 11% in the second quarter, as demand lessens for those devices due to an inventory correction in the semiconductor industry. The foundry sees the issue continuing until the first half of next year.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have found a way to lessen low-frequency electronic noise in graphene field-effect transistors by swaddling the graphene channel between two layers of hexagonal boron nitride. The hybrid material's potential applications include analog electronics, sensors and high-frequency communications.
A team at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has developed and patented a diode-like component and a photon delay line, two photonic components that may be used in quantum computing technology.