I must admit, with everything else going on this summer I did not exactly greet Semicon West with boundless enthusiasm. More like, "Semicon West? Already? whimper..."
But the show takes place whether we're ready for it or not, and this year brought the usual mix of big equipment announcements and less spectacular, but equally important innovations. Probably the biggest of the former was Applied Materials' line of high-k and metal gate products. Among the latter, I was especially intrigued by K-Patents' refractive technique for chemical composition monitoring.
I also spent some time wearing my Solid State Technology contributing editor hat, with two articles in the magazine's e-daily. One introduces Intermolecular, a company bringing combinatorial methods to process integration challenges. The other brings a photomask vendor, a design software supplier, and a chip manufacturer together to talk about yield challenges.