Most read articles in March

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

Nexperia took a big step in March, moving from its established business of discrete logic and transistors to power management ICs. A new design centre in Dallas, its first in North America, taps a pool of established power and analog designers. The Chinese-owned company says it is not competing with NXP, its fellow Ditch spinout of Phillips Semiconductors.

At the same time, the fallout of Nvidia’s failed takeover bid for ARM continues with layoffs in preparation for a flotation on the stock market. However another route is being suggested, as SK Hynix looks to build a consortium to buy the processor IP designer from Softbank. A similar move was proposed by Samsung before Nvidia’s bid.

Chip design continues to be a key area of interest, with an open source design language based around Python, and Apple’s move to a 2.5D design for its M1 Ultra and its Ultra Fusion interconnect pointing the way to future chiplet designs.    


The war in Ukraine dominates business across in Europe. Siemens is housing refugees at its offices in Poland, while chip makers have withdrawn from Russia as sanctions bite. This is driving up the price of materials such as nickel, and raising the spectre of shortages in chip making materials such as palladium and neon gas. The war has also hit the European car industry and the sanctions have put paid to the launch of the Rosalind Franklin rover that was due to travel to Mars this month on a Russian rocket.

But March also saw some good news for the UK semiconductor market with the first 300mm fab. While this is not 300mm silicon wafers, the PragmatIC Semiconductor fab in Durham will use the same back end equipment with 300mm glass wafers to make billions of plastic chips.

This comes as Intel announces its leading edge, 2nm, 300mm fabs for Europe, confirming Madgeburg in Germany as the location rather than Dresden which houses the majority of Europe’s capacity. The €80bn announcement also includes packaging and assembly plants in France and Italy, a key part of a sustainable supply chain, as well as R&D in France, but the tussle over funding and support is still to come.   

March also saw the return of large scale exhibitions in person to the region, with Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022 seeing 60,000 attendees from 200 countries meeting in Barcelona, Spain. While this is a long way from the 109,000 attendees in 2019, the event could still highlight Europe’s strengths in radio, AI and quantum technologies as well as emerging 6G technologies.

And as a bit of fun, another popular article in March was the use of blockchain to prevent counterfeiting of rare malt whisky from Scotland.

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