SanDisk has signed a five-year agreement licensing its patents to Olympus Optical covering the xD-Picture Card format. The patents relate to xD flash cards and host devices. SanDisk will in its turn be licensed to manufacture xD-Picture Cards for Olympus as well as sell xD-Picture Cards under the Olympus brand through SanDisks global retail distribution channels. SanDisk will begin shipments of xD-Picture Cards to selected regions beginning in June 2003, with worldwide availability in Q3 2003.
OIPT has been around for longer than many companies in the Semiconductor market. They were founded in 1981 as Plasma Technology by two engineers from Electrotech. In 1985 they became part of the Oxford Instruments group. Since that time, they have grown within the group, gaining a world-wide reputation for the versatility and long life of their systems. Many university groups are still using early OIPT systems, affectionately known as ‘Orange boxes’.
OIPT has always been involved in processing compound semiconductor devices, and this remains a major market today. Despite the global slowdown in communications components, other sectors remain strong, in particular LED manufacture. Other areas of the photonics market are also served, including waveguide and laser fabrication in various materials. OIPT also has experience in processes for manufacturing a range of other optical devices, ranging from micro-lenses to extremely high precision mirrors and filters.
This broad range of process experience has provided a good base for MEMS technology. Not only was the original deep silicon etch process developed on an OIPTsystem (at the university of Regensburg), but a wide range of other MEMS fabrication techniques are available and in use around the world.
Failure Analysis is another significant process technology available from OIPT, with FA tools being used by many of the largest names in the semiconductor industry.
The original OIPT systems were small, open-load systems suitable for R&D. As the processes developed on these systems have matured, so have the systems available from OIPT, so now the small systems are part of a range reaching up to cassette-to-cassette multi-chamber clusters designed for production environments.
The range of experience in these and other diverse fields has led many companies and organisations to call OIPT their “Partners in Process”.
Researchers from Kyoto University, Japan, have developed an electochemical
technique for extracting silicon from silicon dioxide (Nature Materials,
Advance Online Publication, May 18, 2003). Conventionally, SiO2 is reduced
to Si by carbothermal reduction. The electrochemical technique involves
removing oxygen from SiO2 in a molten calcium carbonate electrolyte at 850C.
The carbothermal process is normally carried out at 1700C. Electrochemical
reduction in LiCl-KCl-CaCl2 at 500C was also demonstrated. The scientists
hope for application of the technique in semiconductor processing and
high-purity silicon production.
Motorola Labs is take delivery of a "Imprio 100" step and flash imprint
lithography (S-FIL) system from Molecular Imprints. The Lab will use the
tool to perform device research in the areas of novel devices, compound
semiconductors, molecular electronics, and photonic and optical devices.
Laura Siragusa, director of Advanced Processing/Characterization at Motorola
Physical Sciences Research Laboratories, reports that the two companies have
been working together for two years, and now hope to realise a breakthrough
in a lithographic technique that will enable smaller, faster future devices.
The Imprio 100 is claimed to be capable of creating sub-100nm images. S-FIL
is a bi-layer approach using a low-viscosity, UV-curable liquid-etch barrier
deposited on an underlying transfer layer. The template is rigid and
transparent allowing for UV curing of the etch barrier and the adaptation of
traditional layer-to-layer alignment techniques.
IC test equipment producer Credence Systems has announced additional
headcount reductions and the adoption of other cost-cutting measures. The
reduction of force includes the elimination of 173 people or 14% of the
companys global employee base. Approximately 160 positions in the USA will
Soitec and ASM International will work together in a "strategic partnership" to ensure commercial manufacturability of strained silicon-on-insulator (sSOI) substrates. The products will form the newest addition to Soitecs portfolio of silicon materials.
The UK Department of Trade and Industry has awarded grant funding to Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) for its role in developing a new, low power multimedia silicon application reference platform for the next generation of portable consumer products. CDT’s contribution will be in the area of light emitting polymer (LEP) displays with high performance images at low-power consumption.
Taiwan’s Opto Tech has readied full colour organic light emitting diode (OLED) of dimensions up to 3.1inches. The lifetime for these products can reach up to 10,000 hours. Opto Tech currently has one pilot line producing on 400x400mm2 substrates with an output of 8000 units per month. The company aims to reach full-scale mass production by Q4 2003 with two production lines on 370x470mm2 substrates with an output capacity of 20,000 units per month.
Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) and Thomson have entered into a two-year joint research and development programme to develop and evaluate technologies relative to full-colour active-matrix LEP displays. The joint development programme will use CDTs technology development facilities and technical staff. CDT brings knowledge of LEP materials, inkjet printing technology and display testing and Thomson experience in display conception and testing.
TDK claims the industrys first colour-filter 4096 multi-colour organic electroluminescent (EL) display that uses a passive matrix system. Volume production is scheduled to begin by the end of the year.
Motorola Labs is take delivery of a "Imprio 100" step and flash imprint lithography (S-FIL) system from Molecular Imprints. The Lab will use the tool to perform device research in the areas of novel devices, compound semiconductors, molecular electronics, and photonic and optical devices.
Gartner is forecasting 8.3% growth in the world semiconductor market, compared with its 8.9% forecast made in Q1 2003. The market researcher says it bases this assessment on a relatively strong Q1 2003 with better-than-expected semiconductor sales in March 2003. The year’s revenues are expected to be $168bn, up from $155bn in 2002.
Infineon Technologies plans to acquire SensoNor, headquartered in Norway. Infineon wants to significantly strengthen its position in semiconductor sensors for the automotive market. Stockholders are due to receive a "friendly" takeover bid after todays extraordinary general meeting of shareholders of SensoNor. The Norwegian company provides tyre pressure and acceleration sensors.
AMI Semiconductor (AMIS) has partnered with BAE Systems to develop BAEs next generation micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) gyroscopes. BAE’s Inertial Systems division developed the capacitive gyro, which senses changes of direction or orientation. AMI Semiconductors smart power I3T80 mixed-signal process is being used to develop a compact and low-cost data acquisition ASIC to process the data received from the gyro. The 0.35micron I3T80 process can deliver gate densities of 15,000/mm2 and can handle voltages up to 80V.
Toshiba has developed a family of power MOSFETS using its new “Ultra High Speed U-MOS III” (UHS U-MOS III) technology. The process represents the company’s first use of aluminum strap (Al-strap) connections to improve typical on-resistance (RDSon) by 34% at a Vgs of 4.5V and reduce gate charge (QSW) by 14% compared to U-MOS III with standard wire bond technology. The family of UHS U-MOS III with Al-strap MOSFETs is targeted for synchronous rectification applications in DC-to-DC converters and in power supplies for desktop and mobile computers, servers, networking and telecom equipment.
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Infineon Technologies and Micron Technology have released the complete
specification for their reduced latency DRAM II (RLDRAM II) architecture.
Infineon and Micron co-developed the RLDRAM architecture to ensure
standardisation, multi-sourcing, and functional compatibility.
Infineon Technologies has introduced a new family of Hall sensors aimed at
safety and comfort applications in cars. The Hall ICs feature high-precision
unipolar or bipolar magnetic switching behaviour.