Texas Instruments President and CEO Rich Templeton plans to step down June 1, after 14 years in those posts; he will be succeeded by Brian Crutcher, the chip company's chief operating officer. Templeton will remain chairman of TI.
Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, asserts that the development of artificial intelligence processors is a field where young startups can contend with the established leaders in the semiconductor industry. He says, "Because it's a new market with a huge potential demand for this new kind of processing power, it represents one of those rare opportunities when startups have a chance against entrenched industry giants."
Scotten Jones, president of IC Knowledge, says extreme-ultraviolet lithography equipment is capable of fabricating chips with 10-nanometer and 7nm features in volume production, yet photoresist issues could prove troublesome at the 5nm process node. ASML reports it shipped 10 EUV systems to customers during 2017 and expects to ship 20 to 22 systems in 2018.
National University of Singapore researchers report development of a small vision processing chip that uses 20 times less electrical power than existing chips currently in the field. The research team sees the chip being used in internet of things applications, such as safety surveillance in airports and critical infrastructure.
Placing a thin layer of germanium on top of a gold film with nanoimprinting lithography produces a semiconducting material capable of absorbing more light, researchers in Spain claim. The discovery could boost optoelectronics applications, such as telecommunications and photovoltaics, they say.
Electron-beam inspection tools are being used to detect tiny defects in microchips, even as IC features continue to shrink, this analysis notes. Gartner estimates the patterned wafer inspection market -- including e-beam and optical technology -- will be worth about $1.65 billion this year, compared with $1.43 billion last year.
Progressing to the 7-nanometer process node will increase the costs of designing and manufacturing chips with those features, Ed Sperling writes. Gartner's Samuel Wang says, "With 7nm, you have a high design cost, so a new chip requires more than a $200 million investment."
Naura Microelectronics Equipment has completed its $15 million acquisition of Akrion Systems, a supplier of semiconductor production equipment, without any reservations raised by the US government. During the Trump administration's year in office, the federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has blocked or delayed several deals where Chinese firms have sought to purchase US companies.
The Federal Trade Commission issued subpoenas to Broadcom, looking into whether the chip vendor engaged in anticompetitive practices through contracts with its customers. Broadcom said in a statement, "This FTC review is immaterial to our business, does not relate to wireless and has no impact on our proposal to acquire Qualcomm."
The worldwide production value for automotive electronics will have a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% during the period of 2018 to 2022 and car chips will see a 7% CAGR, while vehicle production in general will grow only 2%, Digitimes Research forecasts. Rising implementation of advanced driver-assistance systems will propel that growth, with demand for computing, data storage, safety and sensing components.
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