Top news in April

April 30, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Top news in April
Nick Flaherty looks back at the top news articles in April, from Foxconn and GraphCore to research breakthroughs in scandium and gallium nitride

The changing shape of the semiconductor industry continues apace. With TSMC, Intel and Samsung sitting down to discuss a 2nm fab in Europe, there are other, well-funded new entrants. Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer in the world thanks to its main customer Apple, is looking to secure its supply chain with its own memory fab.

The world’s best funded AI startup Graphcore is also making waves with its latest project. Working with a range of European and Turkish researchers, it is looking at sparse AI for real world data. The UK-based double unicorn has also opened a Japanese office.

Nanusens is looking to replicate the success of GraphCore with a CMOS-compatible MEMS technology for its accelerometer and digital tuner devices. Our CEO interview details the long journey from Barcelona to Torbay for the company via crowdfunding.

Meanwhile Alphawave sees the UK as the ideal place for funding and staffing, moving from Canada to Cambridge and looking to recruit a hundred engineers.

Then there is the next generation of Tensilica digital signal processor from Cadence Design Systems and a high brightness white LED in a tiny chip package.

European research projects have broken new ground in several areas. New ways to recover the rare earth metal scandium from industrial waste will reduce the need for mining and give the continent its own source for aerospace and EV motors. At the same time, imec has developed a process technology to boost gallium nitride (GaN) chips to 1200V, taking on silicon carbide at a fraction of the cost.

For the Internet of Things, the German-developed mioty protocol saw a significant boost with support from STMicroelectronics, while Samsung demonstrated the world's first 700MHz 4G cellular network for public safety applications in South Korea.

 

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