IRG1: Semiconductor Technologies and the Road to Nanoelectronics.

(Choi, McCray, Mody)

Understanding the diverse, multi-national electronics community is the major focus of this research stream. The project addressed topics related to conventional semiconductor technologies and nanoelectronics since the 1970s, including spintronics, molecular electronics, and instrumentation. In the case of spintronics, we identified key institutions for spintronics research as well as publishing and patenting trends for the years 1988-2005. Our work on spintronics charted its transition from a laboratory-based basic science discovery made in 1988, to a field funded by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and other military agencies, to one that is supported by university-corporate partnerships. Research on molecular electronics showed how semiconductor technologists pursued new paths to move beyond the limits of Moore’s Law. Finally, we explored the development of instrumental techniques for nanoscience. Our research has shown how tools like molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) emerged as a key instrumental technique for areas such as spintronics and quantum dots. These studies have enabled us to discover “hidden histories” of nanotechnology and illuminate changing relationship between science/technology and academe/industry. As part of this research stream, Mody co-organized a conference in June 2009 at Rice University (“Instruments in Manufacturing”) in which Choi and McCray presented work.