Much of the general public discussion in technology focuses on megatrends in software and applications. It is often easy to overlook the very fact that the present global shift toward digital transformation is being powered by hardware that competes with DNA in size and complexity. When the transistor was first invented in 1947, it had roughly the dimensions of a deck of cards. Today, approximately one billion transistors are often placed in a neighborhood the dimensions of postage. The equipment and software employed by the semiconductor industry to make this technology is a few of the foremost sophisticated within the world.
Materials engineering is that the backbone for the semiconductor industry, and that we have developed many unique materials and manufacturing techniques to still shrink transistors. Equivalent technologies we've built to form smaller, more complex transistors now have the power to rework everything from AR/VR, to 3D printing, to advanced coatings for jet engines. Never has the motivation been stronger for emerging technology companies to seem at the semiconductor industry as vanguard partners for outlining and building the digital future.
The first part of this story is about how materials are the building blocks to deliver better, faster, cheaper, and more efficient products. Initially glance, a billboard reaction-propulsion engine and semiconductor equipment would appear to possess nothing in common. Actually, there are numerous commonalities between what happens inside these two machines. Making a microcircuit is an incredibly complicated and tightly controlled process. As a result, semiconductor equipment must achieve reliably and constantly for thousands of hours. The status inside a semiconductor chamber is harsh - likely exceeding 1,000 degrees Celsius with endless exposure to highly corrosive or oxidizing gases, while rotating wafers at up to 1,000 RPM. Similarly, the recent section of a reaction-propulsion engine has extreme temperatures, oxidation, and corrosion while rotating at thousands of RPM. And like semiconductor chambers, jet engines got to run reliably and consistently for thousands of hours.