Who dropped the ball this time around? Try Silicon Valley and low-k dielectrics.
Richard Wallace, vice president and editorial director of the Electronics Group at CMP Media, the owners of SBN, confirmed what the locals have known for years: California is a third world nation.
During a trip last week, Wallace went ballistic after experiencing problems with his cell-phone and wireless LAN connections in the hi-tech capital of the world--Silicon Valley. He was also irate about the Spartan conditions at the Semicon West press room ( see July 23 story ).
What our fearless leader forgot to mention is that California also boasts an unstable power grid, a rotten primary and secondary education system, a stupid housing market, and an incompetent state government. The weather ain't bad, however.
Meanwhile, what's perhaps the biggest hoax in IC production? It turns out that low-k dielectrics doesn't work after years of promises and hype, disclosed Wilbert van den Hoek, chief technology officer and executive vice president at Novellus Systems Inc., during a presentation at last week's Semicon West trade show (see July 15 story ).
In a feature article that appeared in this week's EE Times, van den Hoek went on to say that low-k has been a complete "failure" at the 130-nm node. Another fab-tool maker dropped hints that low-k is possibly doomed at 90-nm (see July 21 story ).