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Chemical Heritage Foundation
Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists: Studies in Materials Innovation
David C. Brock
The rise of the Digital Age has been predicated on Moore’s law -- optimal economic advantage comes from an exponential increase in the performance of electronic components, accompanied by an exponential decrease in price. It is about semiconductor mfg. technol. In the early 1980s researchers in the semiconductor industry realized that the then dominant version of a central material on which semiconductor mfg. technol. was built -- photoresist -- would soon be insufficient. Therefore, a new form of photoresist would be required. This case study examines the innovation of the first of these “chemically amplified photoresists” by IBM in the 1980s. The case supports four findings with implications for our understanding of the nature of innovation.
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