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A white coat world

The ‘boys in the back room’ continue to fuel semiconductor developments. By Graham Pitcher.

You encounter research and development in a number of places in the electronics industry. And where you run into it determines, to a large extent, the balance between the R and the D elements.
At the basic technology level, there’s far more R than D. But at the product level, the D tends to far outweigh the R. Then, of course, there’s gathering the necessary information, which can be classified as pure R.
If you look at the larger semiconductor manufacturers, there’s a lot less R than there ever used to be. Now, these companies – with a few exceptions – tend to rely on the basic R being done by universities and similar institutions, allowing them to get on with what they believe they do best, which is D.
But basic R&D is what keeps the electronics industry moving forward. And one of the big drivers of the industry is the constant need to move to ever smaller manufacturing processes – a fact implicitly recognised by Moore’s Law.

Graham Pitcher

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