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Editor's Blog

The blog is written by Semiconductor Fabtech's Editor-in-Chief, Mark Osborne. Mark is also the Senior News Editor for Photovoltaics International and the PV-Tech website. He has launched multiple technology titles in print and online covering manufacturing in the automotive, shipping, semiconductor and solar sectors in a publishing career spanning three decades. Mark started blogging in 2005, the first technology editor to do so and has worked online since 1996. A veteran manufacturing technology journalist and editor, Mark as been responsible for a series of innovative formats for delivering technical content to an engineering-based audience.

Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Reports: END OF AN ERA

28 July 2011
There will be no further quarterly conference calls from VSEA, and that includes for the benefit of myself and anyone else that is interested in the ion implant space - to compare and contrast the niche but fascinating area of this semiconductor technology area. Read more >>

SEMICON West: Losing a job I didnā??t know I had lost!

07 July 2011
It’s that time of year again, when bags are packed and the semiconductor suppliers head-off to San Francisco for SEMICON West. Though not attending myself this year, due to an inconsiderate eldest daughter being in a stage show in London next week, I did find out that I have been sacked from a job I had undertaken for a few years that is organised by SEMI in conjunction with SEMICON West. Read more >>

If you canā??t beat them buy them!

04 May 2011
Big news today is that ion implant market leader Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates is to be acquired by Applied Materials for approximately US$4.9 billion.
Though this is most definitely a semiconductor play for Applied, it does raise some issues over Applied’s motives as Varian launched the Solion implanter to the solar manufacturing industry a year ago, having poured significant capital into developing the technology. Read more >>

Intel to go revolutionary

26 April 2011
Otellini’s revolutionary comments were on the back of announcing they would increase capital spending in 2011 by a further US$1.0 billion. Much of that added spending would directed at the 14nm node though some would be allocated to ramp at the 22nm node that bit bigger as demand was proving extremely strong for its latest MPU’s. Read more >>

Guest blog: A Perspective on the Impact of Japanā??s Disaster

30 March 2011
Bill McClean, IC InsightsThis guest blog was provided by Bill McClean, IC Insights, covering new analysis of the impact on the semiconductor industry from the recent disasters in Japan. One thing we have learned in over 30 years of analyzing the semiconductor market is that when the forecasting environment is at its most confusing state (e.g., the memory market bubble of 1984, the internet bubble of 2001, the financial collapse of 2008/2009, etc.), the best thing to do is go back to basics. Read more >>

Chip Shots

The Chip Shots blog channels the observations of Fabtech's and PV-Tech/Photovoltaic International's Senior Contributing Editor--USA, Tom Cheyney, a 20-year veteran of semiconductor, advanced micro/nanoelectronics, and solar manufacturing trade journalism. For 15 years, Tom was editor in chief of MICRO (the original home of Chip Shots) until it ceased publication in July 2006. Tom calls Los Angeles home. View MICRO Magazine archive.

Cross-pollinator: Ascent Solarā??s new boss Farhad Moghadam gets his geek back on

26 October 2009
Farhad Moghadam loves to make semiconductor analogies when he talks about his corner of solar photovoltaics. The former Applied Materials and Intel exec is wearing a new hat these days as he marks his third month as president/CEO of Ascent Solar. The company just announced its latest conversion efficiency numbers for its copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide thin-film PV cells (14.1% peak) and modules (11.7% peak, 10.5%-plus median) and will be ramping its roll-to-roll CIGS-on-polyimide process to volume scale in its Thornton, CO, factory early next year. Read more >>

Rudolph likely to leverage Adventa process control IP into solar space

04 August 2009
adventa_logoRudolph Technologies' acquisition of Adventa Control Technologies for an undisclosed wad of cash has immediate implications for those trying to keep their semiconductor manufacturing processes, equipment, and factories under tight control. ACT's software lurks in some 80% of those fabs, with somewhere upwards of 18,000 of its systems installed. The buy certainly won't hurt Rudolph's bottom line either, as the addition of ACT should double the revenues of the company's data analysis and review biz unit. But the move by Rudolph, which launched its own photovoltaic-specific Solar Discover process control and yield management package earlier this year (and which is already an option on Spire's turnkey cell lines), may also end up benefitting the PV production crowd. To read the rest of the blog, click here to go to pv-tech.org. Read more >>

A few words from Lehman on why DRAM, solar industries don’t compare, but polysilicon does

10 September 2008
lehmanbldgThe news has been grim for Lehman Brothers today, but one part of the giant investment bank that's doing yeoman work is its solar energy equity research group, led by analyst Vishal Shah. His daily email newsletter and periodic reports are some of the most informative and cogent in the space. Read more >>

SMIC plows ahead with process migration plans, but will chip foundry ever make money?

09 September 2008
Since its inception, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., better known as SMIC, has pursued an aggressive plan to join the elite chip foundry companies. During the Chinese firm's chase of the big two--TSMC and UMC--it passed Chartered to ascend to the number-three slot a couple of years ago, although it has been nip and tuck with the Singaporean concern since then, alternating between third and fourth place. But the one cornerstone of SMIC's gameplan where it has failed miserably is one of the most basic to any business model--profitability. Read more >>

National Semiconductor execs are all smiles when it comes to SolarMagic

08 September 2008
halla_nationalNational Semiconductor may have seen net income slip a bit in its latest quarterly results, but Brian Halla and his team have shown no erosion in their excitement over the company's initial product foray into the photovoltaics market space, launched in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008: SolarMagic. Read more >>