INTRODUCTION
Changes to daily life due to semiconductors
Semiconductors are now a component in all kinds of devices and are an essential part of daily life.How have our lifestyles changes in comparison with the 1970s, when Tokyo Electron (TEL) began full-scale operations in the semiconductor production equipment business as a manufacturer?
And what exactly are semiconductors?
Semiconductors refer to an element produced using certain processes on a material to enable free control of the flow of electrons. The most commonly used material is silicon (Si). Silicon is the second most common element found on Earth and it possesses many remarkable characteristics, including thermal stability, insulation, weather-resistance and low toxicity.
With the emergence of semiconductor transistors using silicon as a material, spurring the miniaturization and increased functionality of electronic circuits. Thereafter, the concept emerged of entire circuits made from semiconductors, including condensers and resistors, and the integrated circuit (IC) was born.
Large-scale integration (LSI) refers to devices with a higher degree of IC integration, defined as semiconductor IC, possessing functions such as calculation, memory and control. The miniaturization and increased functionality of semiconductors helped the evolution of electronic devices in which they are installed, helping to make our lives more convenient.
Life in 1970
How much more convenient have our lives become today thanks to the evolution of semiconductor technology? Each day, if we are hungry when we return home after work or school, we can easily reheat a meal using a microwave oven, and while we wait, we can watch TV on a big screen. But although most homes, including one-person households, now have a microwave oven, in 1970, less than 30% of homes had one. Furthermore, when we look more closely at lifestyles in those days, black and white television was the norm, and although color televisions were starting to spread, the screens were still small. Back then, videos and music were stored on magnetic tape, requiring them to be rewound each time after use. Many things would be considered inconvenient in comparison with life today.
Changes realized with the evolution of semiconductor technology
The evolution of semiconductor technology has brought major changes to common electrical appliances. Miniaturization has enabled highly functional semiconductor chips to be installed in a range of electronic devices, leading to the advancement of calculation, memory and control functions.
As a consequence, microwave ovens can now automatically measure the position and temperature of food to calculate the cooking time, and we have electric kettles that stop automatically when they detect that the water has boiled.
In addition, the development of semiconductor technology to control liquid crystal has enabled production of much larger television screens. We can also store TV programs for viewing using a hard disk drive (HDD) recorder thanks to the development of semiconductor chips with memory for large volumes of data. Now, with further evolution of communications technology, we can now enjoy music and videos anywhere, anytime on various devices.
TEL’s mission
Without semiconductors, you would not be able to do many of the things that you consider normal now. Housework would take longer than it does now, you would not be able to view beautiful images, nor readily listen to music from overseas. Neither would you be able to immediately share your experiences with friends far away.
TEL has made significant contributions to the evolution of the semiconductor technology that has enabled these. Through our approach of constant pursuit of the leading-edge, we are producing more and more innovative technology. As a result, TEL is involved in virtually all the processes required for semiconductor production, including development, manufacture, sale and support of manufacturing equipment.
Today, with the advent of miniaturization processing technology on a nanoscale, film deposition on semiconductor chip surfaces can be conducted on the level of individual atoms. Thanks to TEL’s line-up of equipment and advanced technologies, its specialists in a wide range of fields can collaborate, creating synergy for continued growth.