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    Tuesday
    Oct152013

    Proof: R&D Investment Pays Off 

    Thomson Reuters announced its 2013 Top 100 Global Innovators the week of Oct 7., 2013, a list of the who’s who in innovation based on a series of proprietary patent metrics using its Derwent World Patents Index database.

    The 2013 honorees comprise many of the likely suspects: AT&T, Apple, Google, Ford, L’Oreal and Microsoft, as well as some that aren’t so likely: Alcatel Lucent, Blackberry and Ericsson.

    Annually, Thomson Reuters analysts look at all companies around the world that file patents and perform a deep dive analysis of those with 100 or more unique inventions over the last three-year period. They measure each patent holder according to the number of its unique inventions, its success of applications to grants, the global nature of its patent portfolio and its influence on future innovation.

    The company also performs financial analysis on the Top 100, to see how they fare year over year, as well as compared to the S&P 500 stock index. Read More

    Wednesday
    Oct092013

    Semiconductor Companies: You Need Digital Marketing, Now

    Photo Credit: http://insights-on-business.comIn 2012, the top ten semiconductor companies locked up 51% of the business, with Intel leading that pack – with nearly 16% market share followed by Samsung with 10%. It was, of course a mixed bag of economic results – with different companies taking different strategies, some succeeding and some failing. Only 3 players showed growth.

    Yet, when we look forward instead of back, we find that an industry that stands to equip not only the rest of the world with cellphones, tablets and even a few laptops. More importantly, there are smarter washers, dryers, thermostats, door locks, haptic shoes and countless other expected wearables that extend beyond watches. Solar and wind energy?  Medical applications? The Internet of Things (IoT) offers semiconductor companies an unprecedented opportunity for automated, intelligent interactions. And while the traditional electronics markets will continue to drive the lion’s share of the business, then next ten semiconductor companies whose market share ranges from 1 to 2% will be looking to step up their game. They will start to find those new entrants who will deliver smarter water pumps and filtration, smarter tennis racquets and lighting systems. Read More

    Thursday
    Oct032013

    Stanford scientists publish theory, formula to improve ‘plastic’ semiconductors

    Photo Credit: Stanford UniversityAnyone who’s stuffed a smart phone in their back pocket would appreciate the convenience of electronic devices that could bend. Flexible electronics could spawn new products: clothing wired to cool or heat, reading tablets that could fold like newspaper, and so on.

    Alas, electronic components such as chips, displays and wires are generally made from metals and inorganic semiconductors -- materials with physical properties that make them fairly stiff and brittle.

    In the quest for flexibility many researchers have been experimenting with semiconductors made from plastics or, more accurately polymers, which bend and stretch readily enough.

    “But at the molecular level polymers look like a bowl of spaghetti,” says Stanford chemical engineering professor Andrew Spakowitz, adding: “Those non-uniform structures have important implications for the conductive properties of polymeric semiconductors.” Read More

    Tuesday
    Oct012013

    Taiwan Chip Industry Powers the Tech World, but Struggles for Status

    Photo Credit: The New York TimesTien Wu, chief operating officer of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, has a problem: the brightest young people in Taiwan do not want to work in the island’s signature business, chip making.

    “All the college freshmen are asking, ‘Why should I join the industry? I’d rather work for Facebook, Apple or Google,’ ” Mr. Wu said in an interview.

    Taiwan, an island of 23 million people, is the world’s biggest chip maker. The industry generated about $63 billion in sales here last year — more than one-fifth of the global total, according to the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association. Made-in-Taiwan chips are major components in many of the world’s PCs, smartphones, cameras and other gadgets. Read More

    Thursday
    Sep262013

    Graphene on Chip Closing the Gap with Germanium

    Photo Credit: Photonics.comGraphene-based photodetectors can efficiently convert infrared light into electrical signals, three independent studies report this week. The work "makes it very likely that graphene will soon replace germanium and compound semiconductors in high-performance light detectors," said editors at Nature Photonics, which published all three papers. 

    Graphene — a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice — with its exceptional electrical and optical properties, is being pursued as a more attractive alternative to germanium or compound semiconductors for silicon-based photonics. Attempts to integrate photodetectors made of materials such as germanium onto a chip have resulted in bandgap-limited detectors that can process light of only a specific wavelength range. But graphene — a zero-bandgap material — has been shown to convert all wavelengths used in telecommunications equally well, and recent graphene integration work has yielded high-performance optoelectronic devices such as modulators, polarizers and photodetectors. Read More