The 4th Industrial Revolution-- What it is and why it is so important to us all

This 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us, driven by the 4th supercycle of semiconductors.

Supercycle 1.0 was the Personal Computer (PC) adoption;

Supercycle 2.0 was the mobile revolution;

Supercycle 3.0 got the world on to the internet; and

Supercycle 4.0 is the world of “Hey Siri”, “Hey Alexa”, and more. Interconnection like never before where 5G delivers it with speed.

New markets in Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Internet of Things (IoT) need new sensors and those sensors require lower power and smaller chips, and these chips require new materials to deliver the performance needed.

The semiconductor chip market will reach $500B in 2024 (1), up from $420 billion in 2020, a 10% annual growth rate. Buoyed by the synergies between 5G, Artificial Intelligence, and the Cloud transition, the semiconductor industry is set for a Super Cycle, driving remarkable growth and will hit the $1 trillion mark in the next 5-10 years. We are in the beginnings of “The Interconnected World”, and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Faster chips, smaller, fine line geometries, new materials, and new processes like atomic layer deposition (ALD) techniques are the only way to get this performance. High Tech performance companies know this and the Apple A5 processor is a leading example. The EV revolution drives huge chip performance needs, and manufacturers like TSMC, Samsung, Nvidia, Micron are leading this revolution.

New performance drives new chip manufacturing processes that require finer geometry (Moore’s Law), with new materials deposited at lower temperatures.

Silicon, a core material in all chips, needs to be delivered in a new form as traditional silane, a gas, has hit a limit. However, a liquid silicon precursor substantially improves the deposition process and increases production cycle times at lower temperatures by as much as 10x. Cyclohexasilane (CHS) is that silicon precursor. In particular, silicon-based dielectrics can be deposited with CHS at lower temperatures than silane with greater efficiency and with better film quality (fewer defects), without damaging previously deposited layers.

The Interconnected World will double semiconductor chip demand, however, the Interconnected World requires new chip designs, new materials, and more efficient manufacturing processes. CHS is one key to keeping Moore’s Law alive in the face of other material limits and is an enabling material for The Interconnected World!

1. Semiconductor Digest, https://www.semiconductor-digest.com/2021/01/18/trillion-dollar-chip-industry-seen-at-semi-iss/