The proliferation of electronics, due to the rise of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, big data, the internet of things and other applications, is providing a new era of growth and prosperity for the semiconductor industry, this analysis notes. DRAMs, NAND flash memory devices and processors account for a majority of chip sales, providing steady or rising revenue for top players.
The big silicon foundries are fighting for market share in making chips with 28-nanometer features; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International are prospering with their 28nm business, while United Microelectronics is not, Alan Patterson writes.
Samsung Electronics reported first-quarter operating profit of about $8.7 billion, a 48% increase from a year ago, while net profit was $6.8 billion, up 46% year-to-year. The company's chip business, with its dominant market share in DRAM and NAND flash memories, accounted for about $5.5 billion in operating profit for the quarter.
Worldwide demand for semiconductor-grade silicon wafers is running hot, and GlobalWafers sees a tight supply situation continuing through the end of next year. Pricing on 12-inch wafers is expected to increase by 5% to 10% per quarter, while slackening somewhat in the latter half of this year.
Researchers in China developed a nanoelectromechanical system device made with graphene nanoribbons, using a gold gating contact at the bottom of the trench to actuate the NEMS device. The team observed a connection between conductance and nanomechanical motion via a single-electron transistor.
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University researchers have come up with 2D quantum materials that could have applications in superconducting. The team saw magnetism develop in a microscopic flake of chromium germanium telluride at negative 197 degrees C, exhibiting characteristics related to graphene.
Radio-frequency chips, especially RF switch devices and antenna tuners, represent a growing business in the semiconductor industry because of their use in smartphones. Foundries are offering RF silicon-on-insular processes to make chips for 4G and 5G wireless networks.
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