Hot Topics — 3D IC, MEMS, and Secondary Equipment — at SEMICON Taiwan 2010

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Hot Topics — 3D IC, MEMS, and Secondary Equipment — at SEMICON Taiwan 2010

SEMICON Taiwan 2010 highlighted emerging markets like LEDs, MEMS, and 3D ICs and Advanced Packaging/Testing, with some emphasis on the Secondary Market for capital equipment too. New market opportunities encouraged companies like Intel Resell and SPIL to exhibit for the first time at SEMICON Taiwan while other major equipment providers — such as ASML, Entegris, KLA-Tencor, Lam Research, Novellus, and Varian — also returned to the show floor. Topics such as 3D IC, MEMS and green manufacturing were addressed during the three-day forum and exhibition.

The Coming-of-Age of 2.5D and 3D ICs

At SEMICON Taiwan 2010, Applied Materials, ASE, IMEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, SPIL, UMC, SEMATECH, Verigy and Yole Développement shared their views and experiences in 2.5D and 3D ICs, with a special emphasis on emerging business models, manufacturing readiness, roadmaps, and interdependencies with others in the eco-system.

Over the past 40 years, semiconductor device scaling has delivered ever-higher performance to the microelectronics industry by halving the transistor feature size every one to two years from 10 um to 90 nm. Beyond 90 nm, however, clock speed saturates and CMOS transistor size approaches atomic scale. Consumer devices will drive 10-1000x computations and 10x data rate in this decade to deliver compelling user experiences. As the end of planar CMOS transistor scaling nears, 3D IC holds great promises to bridge the gaps between SoC and future system requirements.

Dr. Ho-Ming Tong, general manager and chief R&D officer of ASE Group and also the chairman of SEMI Taiwan Packaging and Test Committee, indicated that “Despite the tremendous progress that has transpired in the recent years, 3D IC with through silicon vias (TSVs) still presents significant challenges in cost, design, manufacturing, test and supply chain readiness. Using the existing infrastructure, 2.5D IC based on silicon interposer (with TSVs) can help pave the road to facilitate the migration of an IC node from 40 nm to 20 nm as the dielectric becomes porous and fragile, as well as the migration from 2D IC to 3D IC.” He also predicted that 2.5D IC will be in mass production in the next two years, and 3D IC is expected to occur within 3 to 5 years — driven by strong demand on the computer and smart phone applications.

The Fast-Growing MEMS Market

MEMS market has been growing gradually for the past 10 years, but it is about to see another surge as the sector industrializes a series of new devices. According to Yole Development, the $7B MEMS market will pick up and see a 14 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through the next four years. Benedetto Vigna, group vice president and general manager of STMicroelectronics, implied that with the integration of software and hardware to sensor, data processing and information transmission functions embedded in products, it will explore more new applications for MEMS technology in the near future.

Dr. Ching Hu, president of Touch Micro-system Technology Corporation, pointed out that besides process technology, the mass production of MEMS products with ideal performance and price to meet the market demand is another challenge to overcome.

Dr. K.C. Yee, vice president, corporate R&D Center at ASE Group, shared his observation on the MEMS market, “MEMS is a diverse market while consumer and communication devices will be the key drivers for the next growth.” With packaging and testing at 50-60 percent of cost in MEMS product production, Dr. Yee suggested that the industry develop a standard design of 3D packaging for overall cost reduction.

Steve Nasiri, CEO of InvenSense, predicted that Motion Interface will be the main stream of applications in the coming 10 years. He suggested that fabless will be the best operating model for market newcomers.

Raising Demand in Green Manufacturing and Secondary Equipment Market

Being “eco-friendly” has become a priority of many IT manufacturers. To help the manufacturers seeking better green solutions, SEMI formed a Green Manufacturing Committee in July to advance the communication between IT manufacturers and its equipment providers. Fang-Ming Hsu, deputy director, Risk Management and Corporate ESH Division from TSMC, and also the co-chair of SEMI Taiwan green manufacture committee, emphasized that it comes from the era of collaboration. “It is time for equipment and material providers to work with fabs to provide the equipment and material which is Design for Green Manufacturing”. With the rising demand on green manufacturing, the newly launched “Green Manufacturing Pavilion” at SEMICON Taiwan attracted players such as DAS, JG Environmental Technology, Yamazen, Green Energy and Resource Technique, EMEC Taiwan and Safety and Health Technology Center to exhibit related solutions and technologies.

Cost reduction is a critical need and it explains why the secondary equipment drew more attention in the past two years, attracting major equipment vendors like ASML, Entegris, KLA-Tencor, Lam Research, Novellus Systems and Varian to exhibit at the Secondary Market Pavilion at SEMICON Taiwan. “2009 was an interesting year. It started with increasing supply of used tools, as fabs were reducing capacity, reducing leverage, and many also went bankrupt. In the second half of the year, we saw a reverse of that trend, with reduction in supply as more fabs were increasing utilization, to the point where additional tools were required to meet the demand,” said Kae Huang, senior manager of Business Development at Novellus Systems. “2010 has been a robust year for refurbished systems. We currently expect that demand will continue to be strong in 2011; however, the availability of core tools is shrinking quickly. “

A Promising Outlook for 2011

In the IC Keynote Speech, a speaker from UBS Investment Research, Jonah Cheng, indicated that PCs and handsets are still the major end applications of semiconductor chips. It is expected that the global PC market and handset market will go up by 10 percent year-over-year from 2010 to 2011. Philip Koh from Garner Advisory concluded modest chip correction would occur programmed in the back-half of 2010 and into 2011 as semiconductor growth re-aligns with system growth. Besides, China continues to dominate the Asia/Pacific semiconductor market; India and other Asia Pacific countries show long-term growth potential.

Driven by strong IC market expansion and growth in emerging markets, sales of global semiconductor equipment are up in all regions in 2010. According to the 2010 year-end edition of the SEMI Capital Equipment Forecast, in 2010, Taiwan is projected to be the largest market at US$ 9.99 billion, while total semiconductor equipment sales worldwide will reach $37.54 billion. The materials market, driven by rising production capacity around the world, is expected to show healthy growth in this area as well as it reaches $9.3 billion in 2011, with Taiwan continuing as the second largest semiconductor materials market in the world. Taiwan is one of the world’s most important semiconductor manufacturing centers.

With the promising market outlook for the overall and emerging market, SEMICON Taiwan 2011 will return to Taipei on September 7-9 featuring theme pavilions for LEDs, MEMS, 3D ICs and Advanced Packaging/Testing, Advanced Materials, Green Management, Parts OEM, and the Secondary Market for capital equipment. For more information, please visit

December 7, 2010