Qualcomm's proposed $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors may get the green light from EU antitrust regulators before the end of this year, Bloomberg reports. Qualcomm has reportedly pledged not to include NXP's standard essential and system-level patents in the transaction, one source says.
Samsung Electronics will invest $26 billion in its chip-making facilities this year, leading the industry's worldwide capital expenditures of $90.8 billion, IC Insights estimates. By the end of 2017, the Korean company will have spent $14 billion on wafer fabrication facilities for 3D NAND flash memory devices, $7 billion for DRAM fabs and $5 billion for its silicon foundry business, according to the market research firm.
Carlo Bozotti, president and CEO of STMicroelectronics, said at a conference in Barcelona, that his company is enjoying very positive revenue growth this year, while warning that industry observers should not talk about a "supercycle" for the semiconductor business. Analysts predict STMicroelectronics will post 2017 revenue growth of about 17% to approximately $8.2 billion.
Microfluidic channel-hosted dispersions of 2D semiconductor materials can be integrated with silicon-based photonic devices, said Anna Baldycheva, a professor at the UK's University of Exeter. "We intend to continue investigating applications of fluid-dispersed nanosheets for silicon photonics," said Baldycheva, the research team leader.
ASML Holding and KLA-Tencor have brought out overlay metrology systems that can deal with the dozens of masking layers to be found in chips with 10-nanometer and 7nm features, Mark LaPedus writes. Bob Johnson of Gartner says, "While it may seem that ASML and KLA-Tencor are on a collision course, they are actually approaching the overlay market from different directions."
Semico Research forecasts the boom in artificial intelligence technology will boost application-specific integrated circuit design starts for voice-activated devices to a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20% by 2021, almost double the 10.1% CAGR for all ASIC design starts. Digital assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are driving the trend, the market research firm notes.
Samsung Electronics initiated construction of the $7 billion expansion for its wafer fabrication facility in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China. When the fab goes into operation in 2019, it will be used for volume production of V-NAND flash memory chips.
The EU ruling on Qualcomm's proposed $38 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors may wait until next year, said Margrethe Vestager, European commissioner for competition. The US chip company has reportedly offered to purchase NXP without some of its patents as a concession to the European antitrust regulators.
Artificial intelligence presents both challenges and opportunities for the microchip industry, says CC Wei, co-CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. AI potentially could help people live healthier lives as the technology becomes more prevalent in everyday life, he asserts.
Copper interconnects in chips, pioneered by IBM 20 years ago, will be around for many years to come with minor tweaks in copper deposition process technology, the company says. "Graphene is not readily manufacturable, and furthermore end-to-end comparisons show graphene does not flow uniformly and can't achieve the low resistances of enhanced copper interconnects," says IBM Fellow Dan Edelstein.
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