Thursday, March 22, 2018
Publication Date: 02/1/2008

Archive >  February 2008 Issue >  Front Page News > 

Innovations Reap Huge Savings for Semiconductors
Russell Hajdaj prepares silicon wafers that will be "baked" as part of the processing required for producing new types of semiconductor devices. Photo: NIST photo Copyright Robert Rathe.
Gaithersburg, MD — A new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that investment in measurement science has and will continue to have a dramatic effect on innovation, productivity, growth and competitiveness in and among high technology sectors. The report, "Economic Impact of Measurement in the Semiconductor Industry" is available on the NIST Web site (see web address below).

Citing the semiconductor industry as a case in point, the analysis, prepared for NIST by RTI International, estimates that the $12 billion spent on advancing measurement capabilities during the decade beginning in 1996 will have saved that sector more than $51 billion in scrap and rework costs by 2011 — a net benefit of approximately $39 billion.

330 Percent ROI
RTI estimates that for every dollar spent on measurement, the industry as a whole saw a $3.30 return. (Dollar amounts represent 2006 dollars adjusted for inflation.) The report found that the strategic focus on measurement technologies pursued by the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), a consortium of chip manufacturers and related stakeholders, benefited both the industry and consumers through the reduction of defect rates and the miniaturization of feature size. The advances fostered through this effort, among others, resulted in lower costs, higher product quality and ever faster processing speeds.

Measurement technology has allowed the industry to keep up with "Moore's Law," which predicts the number of transistors per chip will double every two years.

By the early 1990s, the industry realized it would no longer be possible to satisfy this benchmark without the ability to manipulate nanoscale-sized features. The report credits the initiative to augment nanoscale measurement capabilities outlined in the ITRS and its predecessor as one of the factors that helped manufacturers to increase the possible number of transistors per chip from 3.1 million in 1996 to 1.7 billion in 2006 while making marked improvements in quality, design, software and interoperability.

The report underlines the importance of measurement science to the semiconductor industry and highlights several areas that need further improvement if the industry is to stay on pace. These areas include the need for new standards for measuring features lengths at 32 nanometers, new techniques for controlling radio-frequency electromagnetic energy and high-frequency magnetic fields, and better chemical and materials standards, as well as new and more accurate calibration, interoperability and test standards. RTI gathered the information for this analysis through surveys and other means. The answered queries accounted for more than 80 percent of the semiconductor industry, and the results were taken to be representative of the industry as a whole. The results may also be viewed as conservative in that RTI was able to quantitatively estimate productivity impacts but not increases in quality.

For more information:; to see the report, "Economic Impact of Measurement in the Semiconductor Industry" go to the NIST Web site at

Indium Corporation’s Dr. Lasky to Teach Statistics, DOE, SPC at SMTA Ohio Valley Chapter Training
CLINTON, NY - Indium Corporation’s Dr. Ron Lasky, Senior Technologist, will deliver a special statistics training at the SMTA Ohio Valley’s Chapter meeting on April 19 at Corporate College, Warrenville Heights, Ohio. 
SEMICON West 2018 to Spotlight Smart Technologies, Workforce Development
MILPITAS, CA - SEMICON West, the flagship U.S. event for connecting the electronics manufacturing supply chain, has opened registration for the July 10-12, 2018, exposition at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. 
TTI Dedicates Andrews Distribution Center to Honor Founder and CEO, Paul Andrews
Bill Speer, left, TTI Facilities Director; Hobey Strawn, TTI Vice President Operations Americas; Don Akery, President, TTI Americas; Paul Andrews, TTI CEO; Mike Morton, TTI COO; Chris Goodman, TTI Sr. Vice President Finance and CEO 
Fort Worth, Texas – During a company kickoff event for employees attending the annual TTI sales leadership conference, a special dedication ceremony took place to unveil the name of TTI’s newly constructed distribution center. Named in honor of the company’s founder and CEO, Paul Andrews, the facility has been crowned the Andrews Distribution Center.

Avnet Adds Programmable Logic Alternative to 96Boards Community with New Ultra96 Development Board
PHOENIX, AZ – Avnet , a leading global technology distributor, today announced the new Ultra96™ development board. Avnet’s Ultra96 board adds a wide range of potential peripherals and programmable logic acceleration engines not previously available on the 96Boards platform. Avnet will be previewing and accepting pre-orders for the new board at the Linaro Connect Conference, March 19-23, Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong.

search login