How the Semiconductor Industry Will Transform the Next Wave of Emerging Technologies
By David Britz, New Business Development, Applied Materials
Materials engineering is the backbone for the semiconductor industry, and we have developed many unique materials and manufacturing techniques to continue to shrink transistors. The same technologies we have built to make smaller, more complex transistors now have the ability to transform everything from AR/VR to 3D printing, to advanced coatings for jet engines. Never has the incentive been stronger for emerging technology companies to look at the semiconductor industry as leading edge partners for defining 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. At first glance, a commercial jet engine and semiconductor equipment would seem to have nothing in common. In reality, there are numerous commonalities between what happens inside these two machines. Making an integrated circuit is an incredibly complicated and tightly controlled process. As a result, semiconductor equipment must operate reliably and consistently for thousands of hours. The environment inside a semiconductor chamber is harsh - potentially exceeding 1,000 degrees celsius with continuous exposure to highly corrosive or oxidizing gases, while rotating wafers at up to 1,000 RPM. Similarly, the hot section of a jet engine has extreme temperatures, oxidation, and corrosion while rotating at thousands of RPM. And like semiconductor chambers, jet engines need to run reliably and consistently for thousands of hours. It is not surprising that many engineers at Applied Materials (Applied) have spent time in both of these industries.
At Applied, we have developed unique coatings and chamber materials to meet customer specifications on uptime and process control under the most severe conditions.
Never has the incentive been stronger for emerging technology companies to look at the semiconductor industry as leading edge partners for defining and building the digital future.
The benefits of this cross-industry development are clear, but creating fertile grounds for collaboration requires thinking creatively about partnership mechanisms and incentive structures. This is particularly difficult in an industry and value chain that has seen much consolidation over the past 30 years. To combat this, Applied has embraced an open innovation model to attract and cultivate non-traditional partners from industry, academia, and government. We recognize that difficult problems are most often solved by teams and have developed the tools, process, and culture to help them succeed. Ceramic coatings are just one technology that we look forward to applying in new spaces. We will continue to collaborate with leading edge partners to define and build the digital future.