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NIST Report Cites Metrology, Standardization as Key Semiconductor Industry Challenges

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A National Institute of Standards and Technology report describes seven “grand challenges” that U.S. semiconductor producers should address to strengthen domestic market competitiveness and leadership.

The report centered around standardization, metrology, modeling and simulation in microelectronics design, manufacturing and packaging, NIST said Thursday.

“The measurement challenges impacting the U.S. semiconductor industry are at a critical stage and must be addressed if we are to ensure U.S. leadership in this important sector,” NIST Director Laurie Locascio remarked.

The grand challenges are the agency’s recommendations to improve each of the following areas:

  • Metrology for materials purity, properties and provenance
  • Advanced metrology for future microelectronics manufacturing
  • Enabling metrology for integrating components in advanced packaging
  • Metrology to enhance security and provenance of microelectronic-based components and products
  • Modeling and simulating semiconductor materials, designs, and components
  • Modeling and simulating semiconductor manufacturing processes
  • Standardizing new materials, processes, and equipment for microelectronics

As part of its research, NIST sought input from more than 800 industry, government and academic representatives who attended agency-hosted Semiconductor Metrology Workshops. The Department of Commerce also posted a request for information to gather data for the study.

The publication comes less than a month after President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law that includes a provision for the institute to facilitate research and development projects in the metrology discipline to help companies advance microelectronics technology.

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