Ubiquitous, semiconductors power everything, not only on this earth, but also in space where the human civilization has managed to mark its footprint.
From computing devices to smart appliances, automotive to healthcare equipment, data centres to satellites in space, semiconductors are the driving force behind every electronic device and every innovation.
While you may not connect with the term semiconductors, you might have heard of chips, microchips or ICs - after all, they are the brain of every modern electronic.
The semiconductor is a small electronic device in different forms that can either power an equipment we use, or control an equipment in its function, or process the information and data in such a way that our eyes and ears can use it, he says.
There is no rule as to the number of chips that go into a single product. There isn't a cap on what kind of chips go into a device. The nature of the product makes it more difficult to judge the quality of the product.
A simple electric toothbrush, for example, has a chip in it to control the speed of the motor, so it has an electric shaver or a toy. A smartphone can have over a dozen different chips.
When it comes to a mid-size car, we have as many as 10 processor chips and about 30 - 40 semiconductor chips in that, and technologically advanced cars can have over a hundred chips - the ignition uses power devices, the LED panel in front of the driver uses semiconductor for audio and video signal processing and present it in a usable manner, and there are many processor chips in the car that control engine and other internal systems function, and thereby ensure its optimum performance.
If you consider a very high-end defense communication system, it may have hundreds if not thousands of parts. There is a chance that a spacecraft may have many more. Their complexity and technologies are vastly different.
It's a time-consuming and tedious task to make semiconductors due to the number of processes, countries and companies involved. It depends on the complexity of the chips. It can take anywhere from concept to actual production, it can take anywhere from 15 months to 18 months. For other less complex chips, it takes around 8 -- 12 months for the final product, says Balajee Sowrirajan, MD, SSRI.
These chips have an electric circuit with many components, such as transistors and wiring on a semiconductor wafer. There isn't just one semiconductor that fits in every product.
These are mainly categorised into memory chips, microprocessors, standard chips and complex systems-on-chip SoCs, and when organized by types of integrated circuitry, these are digital, analog and mixed.
And to help understand the magnitude, read this - a single semiconductor chip has as many transistors as all the stones in the Great Pyramid in Giza, and there are more than 100 billion integrated circuits in daily use around the world -- that's equal to the number of stars in our corner of the Milky Way galaxy, writes SIA.
Once these wafers are printed, chips are shipped across testing facilities such as Amkor Technology Philippines, Inc. in the Philippines and Unisem Group in Malaysia for testing and packing.
Chips on the wafer that are not functioning are discarded and the ones that are operational are further sorted, cut, and packaged.
After packaging, the final chips are shipped back to the companies such as Intel, Micron, MediaTek, Saankhya Labs, to name a few, which send them to their clients OEMs who put them in the final product.
While you might think India is missing from the global ecosystem, it isn't really the case. Leading chip companies like Intel, Micron, NXP, SSRI, amongst others, have their R&D setup in India, leveraging our country's engineering talent pool.