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Equipment suppliers need to continue to invest heavily in technology development and commercialization.
The government must promote the supply of highly skilled people, particularly researchers. He called education “an absolute imperative.”
The government must also ensure fair access in every country to markets and technologies.
The semiconductor producers must create a win-win environment to reduce risk and improve the overall efficiency of the industry. Even though the industry is incredibly successful, he said, it is far from using its resources at maximum efficiency.
A Need for Capital Investment
He reviewed the “food chain” of the semiconductor industry. In 1999 total revenues of the electronics industry were close to $1 trillion, or 3.1 percent of worldwide GDP. The revenues for the semiconductor components of the electronics industry were close to 16 percent of that, and capital spending for wafer-fabrication equipment about 21 percent. He stressed the magnitude of capital investment in this industry in relation to other industries. A substantial portion of this capital investment is for technology, not just for capacity. Five years from 1999 electronics revenues were estimated to grow 1.4 times, to $1.3 trillion. Semiconductor revenue is estimated to more than double, to more than $300 billion dollars. Capital spending and spending on wafer-fabrication equipment are estimated to more than double.
A Need for Alternative Technologies
In lithography, pushing the limits of technology brings a steep price in the increased cost of masks and additional requirements. The ability to extend this technology down to 0.13 microns from 248 nanometers and, subsequently, further may give the illusion that this can happen repeatedly. For example, 193 nanometers has not been attained, even though it is viable, and 157 is still in the future, so 70 nanometers will certainly present a serious dilemma. So far there is still no viable alternative to scaling. He said that the world should be concerned about the future of this technology because of its global importance. He suggested that EUV (extreme-ultraviolet) and electro-projection technologies are viable opportunities, and urged support for research on such alternative technologies.
A Comparative View of the Semiconductor Industry
He compared the semiconductor industry with other major industries. (See Figure 10.) The steel industry has grown 6 percent a year over the past 30 years, the plastics industry 10 percent, and the semiconductor industry at the “extremely