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A 35-Year Perspective – Industry Milestones

This article continues our look back over the past 35 years since Lam was founded. In our first perspective piece, we took a look at chip technology and end-user devices. Here, we focus on the semiconductor industry and how it has grown and evolved.

In the past 35 years, wafer substrate size alone has changed three times, with the diameter increasing from about the length of a U.S. dollar bill to roughly the size of a large pizza. This might not sound like much, but increasing the wafer size is a major industry-wide undertaking, involving redesign of just about everything – fab infrastructure, process equipment, processes, etc. At the same time that wafer sizes were increasing, semiconductor device dimensions were dramatically decreasing. Thanks to significant development activity and continuous innovation, the most intricate features on chips today are more than 100 times smaller than they were in 1980, with dimensions counted practically in atoms. And the innovative doesn’t end with technology: from consortia and alliances to fabless companies and foundries, industry leaders have established numerous creative approaches to business over the years.

Check out the timeline below to learn more about some of these impressive milestones.

Read more about Lam’s anniversary at our Lam Turns 35 blog article. In case you missed it, you can also take a look at our 35-year perspectives on end-user devices, company highlights, and Lam’s technologies.


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