News Article

New Cyclical Order

This year’s SEMICON West show abounded in the usual cliches that purport to define the issues and the quest for the next upturn showed its to be ever more desperate. While everyone looks to the return of “business as usual”, there appears to be a change in the way that the industry will cycle. David Ridsdale reports on a show that had mixed reviews and discovers that the upturn has started but only certain sectors are noticing...
The question of ‘if and when' the upturn will commence was met with differing answers depending on whom you spoke to at this year's SEMICON West in San Francisco. Intel and Applied Materials both tried to convince listeners that nothing had changed in the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry and that the current situation was no different from any other time. They appeared to be the only two companies that felt this to be true.

Intel had the largest presence at SEMICON they have ever had and the opening speech made sure everyone knew they were not there to make friends. Sunlin Chou, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, used his chance to speak at the opening of the show to lambaste the equipment and materials suppliers, stating they have no urgency for next generation technology. The lithography vendors were selected as the worst offenders - Chou maintains that they whine too much and claims that they have not invested enough in next generation lithography. This was of course denied by the lithography vendors who are seeking greater guidance from the IC manufacturers regarding the direction of next generation lithography so that investments can be made more efficiently.

Michael R Splinter, new CEO and president of Applied Materials, also reassured a group of journalists that the process of moving from one technology to the next is no different than it has ever been. This was the one sticky point in a very impressive SEMICON West debut among journalists for Splinter. He made it clear that he is impressing his style on the company and the evidence was there with the Applied employees in a new corporate outfit and the ‘Total Solutions' moniker reduced to part of the new partnership push.

Michael Splinter, CEO and president of Applied Materials, addresses journalists at SEMICON West

There were very few people on the floor who agreed that nothing had changed. In fact there was quite a bit of animosity towards the Intel comments and the general direction of the industry. The SEMI group itself came in for much of the anger I heard. Participants feel that SEMI has moved too far from its original industry ideals of ensuring that research dollars were spent wisely and did not double up - in other words, to ensure the industry did not end up to where it actually now seems to be. The industry is unsure whether the cost of investment in certain technologies will result in commercial products. It boils down to Moore's Law being diluted due to economic considerations. It seems that the engineers will be beaten by the chequebook and not by a lack of innovation.

Although it was slow on the exhibition floor, it was a different story in the standards and other meetings that go on around the show. There was a flurry of activity and discussion that was lively compared to the pace on the floor. SEMI is to be congratulated on bringing over the best of the Europa show in the form of the MEMS programme and the first Fab Managers Forum for the USA. Both these efforts need a bit of work to achieve the same level as their European counterparts but they were both positively received.

Phil Ware, Lithography fellow at Canon, and Calvin Chenming Hu, Chief Technology Officer of TSMC, at a panel on low k

This downturn has brought new issues to the industry that need to be addressed before the excitement of the next upturn sweeps them back under the carpet. R&D costs are beyond most companies and economics, not technology, now determines the future path. SEMI has suffered the excesses of the industry like everyone else and is looking at new ways to ensure they provide relevance and value to all its members.

AngelTech Live III: Join us on 12 April 2021!

AngelTech Live III will be broadcast on 12 April 2021, 10am BST, rebroadcast on 14 April (10am CTT) and 16 April (10am PST) and will feature online versions of the market-leading physical events: CS International and PIC International PLUS a brand new Silicon Semiconductor International Track!

Thanks to the great diversity of the semiconductor industry, we are always chasing new markets and developing a range of exciting technologies.

2021 is no different. Over the last few months interest in deep-UV LEDs has rocketed, due to its capability to disinfect and sanitise areas and combat Covid-19. We shall consider a roadmap for this device, along with technologies for boosting its output.

We shall also look at microLEDs, a display with many wonderful attributes, identifying processes for handling the mass transfer of tiny emitters that hold the key to commercialisation of this technology.

We shall also discuss electrification of transportation, underpinned by wide bandgap power electronics and supported by blue lasers that are ideal for processing copper.

Additional areas we will cover include the development of GaN ICs, to improve the reach of power electronics; the great strides that have been made with gallium oxide; and a look at new materials, such as cubic GaN and AlScN.

Having attracted 1500 delegates over the last 2 online summits, the 3rd event promises to be even bigger and better – with 3 interactive sessions over 1 day and will once again prove to be a key event across the semiconductor and photonic integrated circuits calendar.

So make sure you sign up today and discover the latest cutting edge developments across the compound semiconductor and integrated photonics value chain.


New Plant To Manufacture Graphene Electronics
K-Space Offers A New Accessory For Their In Situ Metrology Tools
Tescan And 3D-Micromac Collaborate To Increase The Efficiency Of Failure Analysis Workflows
Imec Demonstrates 20nm Pitch Line/Space Resist Imaging With High-NA EUV Interference Lithography
Siemens And ASE Enable Next-generation High Density Advanced Package Designs
ITRI And DuPont Inaugurate Semiconductor Materials Lab
Cadence Announces $5M Endowment To Advance Research
SUSS MicroTec Opens New Production Facility In Taiwan
South Korean Point Engineering Chooses ClassOne’s Solstice S8 For Advanced Semiconductor Plating
GOODFELLOW Confirms Membership In The BSI UK Graphene Group
Changes In The Management Board Of 3D-Micromac AG
AP&S Expands Management At Beginning Of 2021
Tower Semiconductor Announced Program Creating An Integrated-Laser-on-Silicon Photonics Foundry Process
Can New Advances In CMOS Replace SCMOS Sensors In Biomedical Applications?
TEL Introduces Episode UL As The Next Generation Etch Platform
Onto Innovation Announces New Inspection Platform
U.S. Department Of Defense Partners With GLOBALFOUNDRIES To Manufacture Secure Chips At Fab 8
Obducat Receives Order For Fully Automated Resist Processing Tool From A Customer In Asia
ASML Reports €14.0 Billion Net Sales
Will Future Soldiers Be Made Of Semiconductor?
DISCO's Completion Of New Building At Nagano Works Chino Plant
Belgian Initiative For AI Lung Scan Analysis In Fight Against COVID-19 Goes European
Panasonic Microelectronics Web Seminar
EV Group Establishes State-of-the-art Customer Training Facility

Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Silicon Semiconductor Magazine, the Silicon Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in:
{taasPodcastNotification} Array
Live Event