The integrated circuit (IC) technology makes use of many diverse fields of science and engineering.
- The physics and operation of semiconductor devices involve understanding of band theory of solids, statistical distribution of electrons and holes in semiconductors, and fundamentals of electrostatics fields.
- The design of microelectronic circuits requires a sound knowledge of electronics and circuit analysis.
- The optical lithography tools, which print microscopic patterns on wafers, represent one of the most advanced applications of the principles of Fourier optics.
- Plasma etching and chemical mechanical planarization involve some of the most complex chemistries used in manufacturing today. Ion implantation draws upon understanding from research in high-energy physics.
- Thin films on semiconductor surface exhibit complex mechanical and electrical behavior that stretches our understanding of basic materials properties.
- Computing skills are necessary to design, model, simulate and predict processes and device behavior, extremely vital to manufacturing.
- A thorough knowledge of statistics is required to manipulate data and process control.
As the devices are shrinking in size approaching nanoscale regime where molecular and atomic scale phenomena come into play, elements of quantum mechanics become important.
One of the great challenges in integrated circuit manufacturing is the need to draw on scientific principles and engineering developments from such an extraordinary wide range of disciplines. Scientists and engineers, who work in this field need broad understanding and the ability to seek out, integrate and use ideas from many fields.