The ASMC 2011 Conference was held in Saratoga Springs, NY to generally rave reviews by over 200 conference participants. In addition to a record number of corporate semiconductor sponsors and great conference facilities, special mention must be made for the exceptional welcome that ASMC received from the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation and the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau which enthusiastically greeted the conference and hosted a bus tour of the new Global Foundries site and a spectacular reception at the Saratoga Casino.
This year's conference featured three outstanding keynotes. Norm Armour, VP and GM of the new GlobalFoundries Fab 8 in Malta, talked about the collaboration that was required in building their $7.2B state-of-the-art fab, and noted that about 70% of wafer costs may now be related to equipment depreciation. Gary Patton, VP of IBM's semi R&D center, gave an in-depth presentation of the technical trends and challenges facing today's semiconductor companies. Peter Wright, director of research at Tradition Equities, gave a spirited and upbeat outlook on the probable (bullish) performance of the semiconductor stock sector over the coming years.
The conference papers covered a wide variety of topical subjects and included five student and 25 international papers. Of particular interest were several presentations dealing with 3D technology as a way of achieving "More Than Moore's Law," and how system integration is critical to providing the required cost savings needed to keep semiconductor value advancing against expected customer requirements. One paper by GF/IBM demonstrated a method of establishing metrics for defect sampling to judge the effectiveness of inspection recipes. In the lithography segment, collaboration was obvious in a joint IBM/Toshiba/GF/Infineon paper on single patterning of contacts at 32nm and 28nm, and in a paper on double patterning at 16nm by IBM/JSRMicro/KLA/Toshiba/Tokyo Electron. Touching on environmental awareness, a paper by Intel tackled the growing concerns of the industry related to a sustainable green future and what semiconductor manufacturers should start planning for now before new rules and reporting requirements are legislated.
The conference also hosted a panel discussion by industry experts from Intel, LETI, ATIC, and Albany CSNE which delved into the necessary collaborations that will be required among academia, government, IDMs, foundries, and vendors to meet the extreme challenges of building and developing the new technologies for the 20nm node and beyond, as well as the upcoming scale up to 450mm wafers.
Rounding out the conference were two in-depth tutorials on 3D technology and on the current state and challenges of EUV development, and five presentations by ISMI dealing with industry collaboration, the importance of cycle time in manufacturing and the coming transition to 450mm.
Gary Green is Principal at Green Technology Consulting. He served as a co-chair of the Interactive Poster Session at ASMC 2011 in Saratoga Springs, NY (May 16-18).