- X-ray lithography
- Microwave plasma processing
- Electron/ion microbeams
- Artificially structured materials
- Laser assisted procession
- Design testing
Microfabrication remains the basic manufacturing technology of the semiconductor industry. Semiconductor manufacturing technologies are concerned with the creation of smaller structures for semiconductor chips. The methods are based on silicon, and structure the surface of the silicon. Here, the trend continues to ever smaller device sizes using shorter wavelength light in optical systems.
At some future point, other technologies, whether x-ray lithography, electron beam lithography, or other ideas, will take over, and such technologies appear as specific technologies in the list. Developing the methods to continue the push to ever smaller device sizes is important to the health of our electronics industry and to the creation of defense systems that rely upon such advanced devices.
Semiconductor manufacturing technologies are essential to the success in production of next-generation integrated circuits. Given the importance of these ICs to the U.S. economy, semiconductor manufacturing technologies make a major contribution to the economic prosperity of the U.S. through job creation in the semiconductor and downstream industries. In addition, these technologies enable harnessing of information technology by creating improved components for computing systems, and by enabling better interface devices for human-computer interactions.
Given the importance of semiconductors in such military applications as computing, simulation, and smart weapons, semiconductor manufacturing technologies make a significant contribution to a number of national security goals. They enable the creation of components for real-time knowledge of the enemy and near-real-time distribution of this knowledge to the fighting forces, contributing to the JCS Top 5 Future Warfighting Capabilities as well.
Although the Japanese dominate the low and medium technology used in semiconductor plastic packages, there is overall parity in the most advanced packaging technologies. Companies from Japan, Europe, South Korea, and the United States have all demonstrated advanced package types, such as multichip modules, although the materials used to make them are produced mostly by Japanese companies. These advanced packages are capable of housing high-density semiconductors-- or many semiconductor devices--with increased system performance, reduced space requirements, and lower costs. In some leading-edge areas, the United States has benefited from a more sophisticated military market than exists in Japan. U.S. companies are actively moving this technology into the commercial world.