After 38 Years, Standards Still Play an Essential Role

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After 38 Years, Standards Still Play an Essential Role

By James Amano, director, SEMI International Standards

The first SEMI Standards Committee was formed in 1973 to address silicon wafer dimensional specifications. At the time, there was a proliferation of over 2,000 different wafer specifications, leading to major inefficiencies at a time when the industry was just getting underway. In order to address this problem, a group of wafer suppliers banded together under SEMI and rapidly developed consensus specifications for 2-inch and 3-inch wafers, and by the mid-1970s over 80% of wafers being shipped conformed to these new standards.

Since that time, the SEMI Standards Program has expanded, both geographically and technically. The program now has 23 technical committees in Europe, Japan, Korea, North America, and Taiwan, tackling technological challenges in the microelectronics, display, and photovoltaic industries. This release of Standards Watch takes a look at our newest committees: 3DS-IC (Three-dimensional Stacked IC), High-Brightness LED, and PV Materials.

A common characteristic of these new committees is the strong interest from key industry players. Over the years, several studies have reinforced the fact that standardization has played an essential role in enabling industry growth and cost reductions. For example, a 2007 NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology study, part of the United States Department of Commerce) estimated $9.6 billion in benefits between 1996 and 2011 due to standard test methods and software standards. Standards have been crucial in empowering the microelectronics industry to become one of the most dynamic in the world, and have the potential to play the same role in HB-LED, 3DS-IC, and photovoltaics.

Of course, creating the committees is just the first step. To create the high-impact standards necessary for cost-effective, high-volume manufacturing, technological expertise from every step of the industry supply chain is required. If your company is active in the 3DS-IC, High-Brightness LED, or photovoltaic materials, make sure to register for the new committees. Registration is free and ensures that you will be informed of meeting schedules, ballots, meeting minutes, and other pertinent committee information.

January 2011