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The Semiconductor Industry

The semiconductor industry, with the invention of the transistor in 1947 at ATT Bell Labs, and the debut of the integrated circuit (IC) at the beginning of the 1960s, was born as a promising and soon to be a formidable industry. From this modest beginning in which ICs were used in only a limited number of specialized applications, has grown a technology that is pervasive in today’s world. The introduction of the personal computer (PC) by IBM in 1980 made semiconductor microchips a household term. This large-scale integration has continued over the decades due to innovations, process advancements in manufacturing, and rapid implementation into new applications.

The semiconductor industry consists of many groups of companies and institutions, all of which contribute to its vitality. At the center are the chip-manufacturers; but they are supported by a large number of outside organizations including manufacturers of chip-processing and metrology-tools, suppliers of materials and chemicals, analytical-laboratories, industry-associations that provide manufacturing standards and organize co-operative research efforts, and colleges and universities that provide technically trained workers.

At the beginning of the 2000-millennium, the electronics-industry exceeded $1 trillion in sales per year, and semiconductors constituted $150-$200- billion of that number. 

"There is a nationwide shortage of students pursuing educational goals of math and science, resulting in fewer industry innovators," says Victoria Hadfield, president of SEMI North America. 

"This is a national problem that affects every other high-tech center in the U.S. Without interested, qualified students, America will lose its edge as the global leader in technology innovation and semiconductor manufacturing." 

San Jose, Calif.-based SEMI is a trade group representing more than 2,500 companies in the semiconductor sector and related industries. The industry's future demands that we create new knowledge and develop it into technologies that drive our economy, guarantee our national security, and improve our health and quality of life.

Learn about careers as a Microelectronic Engineer

Read success stories of RIT Microelectronic Engineering graduates

Research on Microelectronic Engineering

More information of Academic programs in Microelectronic Engineering