Online information source for semiconductor professionals

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 PV with a political twist makes it into the Sunday comics

07 July 2008
Solar energy has seen its stock rise in popular culture, not just in the marketplace. The latest photovoltaic penetration showed up in this weekend's Sunday comics section, courtesy of the sociopolitical satire strip, Opus, inked by Berkeley Breathed. Read more >>

FEI lifts heavy veil of secrecy, launches Magellan family of xtra-high-resolution SEMs

07 July 2008
While some observers of the nanoscale have lamented the impending final chapter of scanning electron microscopy's scalability, FEI has been busy pushing the workhorse analytical tool's capabilities. The roll-out of its Magellan family of "extra-high-resolution" (XHR) SEMs marks a huge milestone for the Hillsboro, OR-based company, a product launch of such magnitude that the firm's lawyers insisted I sign a multipage nondisclosure agreement last week before they'd allow me to conduct any prelaunch interviews. Read more >>

Preholiday weekend wrap-up: LDK CEO interviewed, mag site redesigns, PV-Tech gets its video on, and

02 July 2008
With the four-day July 4th Independence Day weekend about to kick off here in the States, it's time for a preholiday sampling of some WWW goodies in the semiconductor and solar PV domains. Read more >>

Advanced Energy’s solar PV newsletter exceeds infomercial expectations

01 July 2008
Many corporate newsletters offer little more than an informercial-like experience, with so-called technical or market information that often comes off like a frozen-smiled, pat-oneself-on-the-back excuse for real content. But can you honestly expect something from a company's corporate communications cabal to provide the objective quality and unshakeable editorial integrity of something like, say, this blog or the publication website on which it is published? A site, btw, which would not have the financial means to exist if not for the advertising monies that some of those same companies spend to reach the eyeballs of the most important constituency--the visitor-reader? But I digest.... Read more >>

Wakonda hopes to disrupt solar market with its high-efficiency thin-film PV on foil

30 June 2008
Although there were plenty of "me-too" technologies discussed at the recent IntertechPira Photovoltaic Summit in San Diego, one start-up outfit's approach offers more disruptive potential than most thin-film PV wannabes. Wakonda Technologies, based in Fairport, NY (but soon moving to larger digs near Boston), has been working for about three years on an intriguing TFPV variant--high-efficiency germanium and gallium-arsenide-based cells made on a flexible metal-foil substrate which is potentially scaleable to high-volume roll-to-roll manufacturing. Read more >>

JA Solar, Roth & Rau join SVTC Solar at new photovoltaic development center

26 June 2008
Although SVTC has been dabbling in photovoltaics for awhile with a few customers, it really got serious about the PV space when it formed the SVTC Solar unit in late April. The process development foundry hired solar vet Kurt Laetz to run the operation, leased 87,000 square feet of cleanroom, lab, and office space in the Edenvale Redevelopment Project Area of San Jose (now home to several PV concerns), and said it expected to be fully operational by the end of 2008, with a goal of working with 25-30 companies of varying sizes within three years. Read more >>