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Globalization of Materials R&D: Time for a National Strategy
projected end of Moore’s law and the scaling of CMOS devices. Many, including the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), anticipate that the traditional technology for cutting-edge devices will have fully evolved by 2015 and are looking for innovative solutions through new materials, new devices, or new architectures. The Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) has started a major new initiative in conjunction with the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and the NSF to focus on new nanostructures that might skirt this forecasted technology roadblock. These efforts will develop a new generation of researchers focused on new materials and structures for electronic devices. The iNEMI is road mapping the impact that these new nanodevices would have on the packaging and assembly of electronic devices. New electronic packaging will have to have micron-size leads and be capable of greatly enhanced heat transfer. Creative new material composites containing nanoparticles may provide the solution. They are being developed in many countries, and the technology is being bought or licensed from and by multinationals and start-ups around the world.
Another area of increased interest in the electronics community is sensors of all types: mechanical, fluidic, biological, chemical, radio frequency, and optical. Automotive, medical, consumer, and military end use electronics markets envision new products using inexpensive microsensors integrated with electronics processing. These sensors, called MEMs or “systems in package,” will use a variety of silicon, ceramic, and organic substrates and call for new materials, particularly organic or biological. There is strong research leadership in the United States, followed by Europe, in materials for this growing area.
In summary, the evidence presented here and the literature data in Chapter 2 suggest the situation in electronic and optical-photonic materials is mixed, with the United States leading in some areas and not in others, often determined by commercial and market factors.
The 2000 benchmarking report concluded that the strong position of the United States in superconducting materials was not “assured.” It noted that while U.S. industrial research in the field lagged behind Japan’s, some small U.S. companies maintained world leadership in the design, manufacture, and characterization of long-length conductors, although the panel warned that “the shift in U.S. corporate research away from longer-term basic studies presents a question for the future.” The panel noted that the momentum at that time favored relative improvements in the U.S. leadership position in some areas (magnetic properties, flux transport measurements and imaging, thin-film processing, and cable development), but without contin-