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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.

Solar-charged Kobe: SPI to install PV systems at L.A.‘s Staples Center, Nokia Theatre

13 August 2008
By the time the Los Angeles Lakers have their grudge match with the reigning NBA champion Boston Celtics on Christmas Day 2008, the home team's Staples Center venue should be getting a burst of power from a fresh batch of 1727 Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) modules on its very SoCal "surfboard"-shaped roof. Read more >>

SI’s Lammers does nice blog on semi tool/materials M&A, but what about his own employer’s status?

12 August 2008 | Comments (1)
Although David Lammers of Semiconductor International might be better known for his consummate "reportering" skills (with no apologies to George W), he's also a pretty good blogger when he gets around to it.

His latest posting, the snappily headlined "M&A Activity Picks Up in Downturn Dog Days," discusses the wave of mergers and acquisitions' goings-on in the semiconductor equipment and materials space over the past several months. Read more >>

Thin is in: Examining the benefits, challenges of the ultrathin—solar wafer, that is

11 August 2008
You got your thin wafers, your very thin wafers, and soon your ultrathin wafers. Read more >>

Just roll with it: Selected short takes from the flexible electronics, PV realm

07 August 2008
The copy flow has slowed here this week, due to a combination of laptop software problems (thanks, Microsoft Vista!) and a deadline for a print feature in the first edition of Photovoltaics International (if you haven't signed up for a free subscription at, please do!). Read more >>

Solar-cell simulation gets a dino-sized push from Synopsys’ Sentaurus

04 August 2008
Although its name conjurs connections with the dinosaur realm, fallen Roman (or Romulan) Empire heroes, or fabled half-human/half-horse creatures, Synopsys' Sentaurus has more in common with virtual reality than paleontology, ancient history, or Greek mythology. Read more >>

Signet Solar expects final acceptance test of first thin-film PV line to be completed within 90 days

31 July 2008 | Comments (1)
During our Tuesday (July 29) chat at the company's modest global headquarters in Menlo Park, Signet Solar's founder-CEO Rajeeva Lahri and VP of manufacturing Bijan Moslehi updated me on the company's latest news and future plans, including the status of the ramp of their first production facility in Mochau, outside of Dresden. Read more >>

SEMI, SEIA comment on US Senate’s failure to pass solar investment tax credit extension

30 July 2008
A cloture motion on an eight-year extension of the 30% solar energy investment tax credit failed yet again on the US Senate floor today (July 30), by a largely party-line vote of 51-43, the legislation still needing an additional nine votes to get to the senior chamber's floor for debate. Read more >>

Chip Shots hits the road, looks ahead, heats up a few Intersolar/Semicon leftovers

28 July 2008
Although I haven't finished with my post-Intersolar North America/Semicon West-inspired blogging yet, I'll be on the road again the beginning of this week, visiting a mostly solar PV cast of companies in the anachronistically named Silicon Valley. I also have a backlog of interviews and coverage to plow through that I collected before the recent double-banger event, including interviews with execs from Suniva and Skypoint Solar, as well as a report about my recent visit to Cymer's extreme-UV lithography source project. Read more >>

Local media reports Hynix in talks with solar companies about Eugene, OR, fab

26 July 2008
The impending closure of Hynix Semiconductor's Eugene, OR, 200-mm fab and resultant layoff of more than 1400 employees and contract workers announced last Thursday has sent shockwaves through the community--but the story may end up having a silver lining, or at least a sunny outcome. The local Register-Guard newspaper ran an extensive feature in Friday's edition, with the headline "Hynix, solar company talk: State, local officials report negotiations but say it's not sure thing." Read more >>

XeroCoat’s antireflective material might add zeros to the bottom line, megawatts to the power line

24 July 2008 | Comments (1)
Anyone who's been driving yield enhancement in a chip fab, conversion efficiencies in solar cells and modules or productivity improvements in either sector knows that a few percent here, a few percent there can add up to millions of dollars in savings or improved bottom-line margins. Read more >>