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Semiconductor Yield Management and 5nm Chip Construction

July 04, 2017, anysilicon

The talk of the town these days in the semiconductor industry isthe IBM’s lead in the research and development that has led to creation of a new type of transistors,the smallest ever 5nm construction, for the silicon based processor chips. This marvel by the researchers at IBM aims to revolutionize the semiconductor industry and allow engineers to come up with products that can have 30-40% performance gains over the currently used 10nm chips that is widely in the production. It is further estimated that with this new research, engineers will be able to stack as much as 30 billion transistors on wafers covering miniscule physical space, thus allowing the devices to become smaller in size without any compromise on their performance. All of this advancement will allow customers to have devices with impressive processing capabilities that are using lesser power compared to the current 10nm technology being used in the semiconductor industry, translating in longer battery lives of our electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets. Thus, making everyone in the semiconductor industry excited and open to exploring newer possibilities with the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing based devices in the near future.

 

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The advancement in process technology also requires a considerable attention to reliability metrics and some stricter and tighter quality checks of the semiconductor devices. This becomes even more critical when the electronic devices being produced are to be used in remote locations or in the sensitive applications such as pacemakers and MRI machines etc. This demand for high quality products coupled with the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry to lower costs of electronic devices at large has resulted in increasedfocus on testing and yield management tools. The manufacturers want to ship their products faster to the market while maintaining the highest quality standards and lowest defect or rejection rate, thus relying more and more on yield management software for semiconductor industry.

 

Yield management for semiconductor industry is not a new phenomenon, it has been in use by various players in the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain for a while now. Initially, the semiconductor manufacturers were using Excel or JMP based tools along with home grown tools for data analysis and yield management with cumbersome process to load and extract data in the tools but now they have been replaced with powerful and automated data analysis software.

 

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The new and advanced semiconductor yield management tools are capable of collecting, loading, cleaning, analyzing and crunching data collected at various nodes of semiconductor manufacturing starting from post-silicon stage. This ability to track the development of semiconductor based electronic devices at wafer levels allows the test and product engineers to keep a close eye on development of individual chips. The tools can help the engineers pinpoint the possible causes and stage where the chip showed an anomaly, this allows the engineers to take pre-emptive actions and discard the failing wafers or chips before they move further in the supply chain, thereby maintaining higher quality standards as well as reducing the time to ship reliable products to market, and saving cost of developing products out of bad wafers – resulting in improved yield and positive impact on the business. This has become a necessity to sustain and grow in the semiconductor industry that is becoming highly competitive and cost efficient with each passing day.

 

With the rapid advancement in the semiconductor industry and researchers getting closer to the construction of 5nm products, the modern semiconductor yield management tools have to become more robust and agnostic to the size of the semiconductor based chip. The speed at which the technology is evolving has to be matched by the development and adaptability of semiconductor yield management tools to ensure that assembly and test floor operations are being optimized and reliable products are being shipped to end customers. These are certainly one of the most exciting times to be in the semiconductor industry.

 

Author Bio:

Irteza Ubaid is working as a senior strategy executive at yieldWerx a company that offers end-to-end software solution of yield management for semiconductor industry. yieldWerx helps IC manufacturers carry out huge data extraction, its transformation and loading lot genealogy and product data from MES and ATE systems. http://yieldwerx.com/statistical-process-control/