Archives:Diversity, Complementarity, and Cooperation Materials Innovation in the Semiconductor Industry
To demonstrate the contribution of diverse sets of technological and scientific knowledge to the overall advance
of semiconductor technology, this article examines two different materials used in the semiconductor industry. It first focuses on Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories' efforts to develop new means of producing device-grade that is, ultra-pure - silicon. It then looks at research efforts at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation concerning another important though less-examined material, photoresist. Finally, the article briefly outlines the importance of diversity in the development of other chemicals used in the semiconductor industry. In each case diverse skills ,and knowledge that resided outside of the firm were needed to advance the work within the firm. This sort of diversity, which I will call complementary diversity, is frequently found in cases where the technology is articularly complex and thus requires knowledge from different disciplines and/or industrial sectors. Complementary efforts also often occur in situations where a material or process from one industry gets adopted by another, and the adaptation to the new application requires that knowledge from the supplier industry and knowledge from the user industry be brought together.
Daniel Holbrookl, “Diversity, Complementarity, and Cooperation Materials Innovation in The Semiconductor Industry,” in Facets: New Perspectivies on the History of Semiconductors, ed. Andrew Goldstein & William Aspray (New Brunswick: IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 1997), 75-131.