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Sunday, May 25, 2014

#290 Semiconductors - a truly global affair

Here is an observation coming from an old timer…


Semiconductor science and engineering has become a truly global affair. While it is obviously a status quo now, it was not the case in the past. There were times some 50 years ago when the vast majority of semiconductor related activities, whether in terms of academic research or industrial manufacturing, were taking place in the United States. That is not to say that the technically and scientifically meaningful developments with respect to semiconductor device fundamentals were not simultaneously taking place in Europe and Japan. For instance, important contributions to the development of transistor after World War II came from the Radar Research Establishment in Malvern, Great Britain while other key electronic and photonic device related innovations came at that time from Japan and Russia. Yet, when the 60’s and 70’s rolled in the overwhelming impact which the U.S. had on semiconductor science and engineering worldwide was evident.


Much has changed since those early years. Today, the vast majority of worldwide wafer processing capabilities are installed in Asia with Taiwan leading the field. China is bound to become a major player with wafer processing capabilities expected to double within the next few years while Samsung Electronics is projected (did it already happen?) to take over Intel as the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world. In short, semiconductor production and R&D activities are gaining momentum all over the world including countries where semiconductor related industrial and educational initiatives are still a relative novelty.


All of those factors clearly illustrate a major paradigm shift in the distribution of semiconductor related activities across the world which took place over the last two decades or so.

Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 08:36 PM | Semiconductors | Link is the personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. With over 35 years of experience in academic research and teaching in the area of semiconductor engineering (currently holding position of a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University), he has a unique perspective on the developments in this progress driving technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.

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