Chip Act and Wave Surfing…

Massive subsidies to regain the edge of the US semiconductor industry will not likely succeed unless progress is made in winning the global race of idea flow and monetization.

Topics: Applied Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Semiconductor Technology

Intelligent use of subsidies for winning the global idea race is a must for gaining and regaining semiconductor edge.

The US semiconductor industry started with the invention of Bell Labs. Subsequently, it attained supremacy in semiconductor production due to the success of making computers better and cheaper. Notably, the rise of the PC wave made Intel and Silicon Valley seemingly unsinkable technology superpowers. But during the first two decades of the 21st century, America has lost it. The USA now relies on Asia to import the most advanced chips. Its iconic Intel is now a couple of technology generation behind Asia’s TSMC and Samsung.

Furthermore, China’s aggressive move has added momentum to America’s despair, triggering a chip war. But why has America lost the edge? Why does it rely on TSMC and Samsung to supply the most advanced chips to power iPhones, Data centers, and Weapons? Is it due to Asian Governments’ subsidies? Or is it due to America’s failure to understand dynamics, make prudent decisions and manage technology and innovation?

Invention and rise and fall of US semiconductor supremacy

In 1947, Bell Labs of the USA invented a semiconductor device—the Transistor. Although American companies developed prototypes of Transistor radios and other consumer electronic products, they did not immediately pursue them. But American firms were very fast in using the transistor to reinvent computers—by changing the vacuum tube technology core. Due to weight advantage, US Airforce and NASA found transistors suitable for onboard computers. Besides, the invention of integrated circuits by Fairchild and Texas instruments accelerated the weight and size reduction of digital logic circuits. Consequentially, the use of semiconductors in building onboard computers kept exponentially growing. Hence, by the end of the 1960s, the US had become a powerhouse in logic circuit semiconductors. But America remained 2nd to Japan in global production, as Japanese companies were winning the race of consumer electronics by using transistors.

US Semiconductor–from invention, supremacy to despair, Rokon Zaman, The-Waves.org

Published by reginaldgoodwin

Engineering Physics, Bachelors of Science, December 1984 Microelectronics & Photonics, Graduate Certificate, February 2016 Nanoengineering, Masters, December 2019 Nanoengineering, Ph.D., Summer 2022

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