Miniaturization Changes the Supply Chain

The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding, a reality that inherently changes the electronic components that the global electronics supply chain must deliver. Component makers will need to evolve to meet these new demands. 

Analysts have predicted that the IoT market will grow to as many as 30 billion devices by the year 2020. Each of these new devices will require at least a microcontroller to add intelligence, sensors to allow for data collection, one or more chips for connectivity and data transmission, and a memory component.

McKinsey Global Institute research estimates that the impact of the IoT on the global economy might be as high as $6.2 trillion by 2025. For the semiconductor supply chain this means a potential unprecedented growth opportunity.

How miniaturization impacts the semiconductor supply chain

  • New research and development in semiconductors are being focused to improve performance leading to semiconductor miniaturization
  • Miniaturization of semiconductors is required for the continued advancement of Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE), and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Semiconductor nodes are expected to advance from the current seven to 10 nanometer level (one nano is one billionth) to the four to five nanometer level by 2020
  • Facilitating miniaturization of next-generation semiconductors is essential for electronics manufacturers and the electronics supply chain
  • Improved electronic devices will further enrich people’s lives, one of the ultimate goals of today’s supply chain leaders

Miniaturization of microelectronics

Founded in 1885 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Tanaka Precious Metals manufactures and supplies precious metals for the semiconductors supply chain. Tanaka’s precious metal precursors are used in the microfabrication processing of modern semiconductors.

Tanaka first introduced a precursor using Ruthenium early in July at the recent SemiCon West, the world’s largest semiconductor related exhibition, which was held in San Francisco.

Ruthenium (44Ru), a rare transition metal that belongs to the platinum group of the periodic table is mostly used in wear-resistant electrical contacts and thick-film resistors. It was discovered in 1844 by Baltic German scientist Karl Ernst Claus who named the element after his homeland, the Russian Empire. 

Research in the use of Ruthenium in wiring will lead to the next-generation of wiring technology. Ruthenium precursors will be essentially used in the miniaturization processing in next-generation semiconductors.

A precursor is a compound used as a raw material in a method of depositing a metal thin film, called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). This method of sublimating materials to make thin films on wafers is also known as Chamber Vapor Deposition (CVD). In addition, Atomic Layer Deposition film formation method (ALD) offers a method to make thin film on a wafer surface at an atomic level.

These precursors are vaporized as organic metal complexes through Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) and are chemically vapor deposited on wafer surfaces, according to Takana.

A MOCVD is a chemical vapor deposition using organometallic compounds as a metal source. The advantage of this method is that a thin film with a uniform thickness can be formed. 

Compared to other metals, precious metals are superior in electrical characteristics, high-melting points, and other physical properties. Ruthenium has low resistance and a good affinity with the copper used in wiring.


Ruthenium precursors are an indispensable material for the miniaturization of next-generation semiconductors, a game changer for the semiconductors supply chain.

Applications of the technology aims to assist in the manufacture and development of the increasingly smaller and powerful devices in use today as well as increasing computer speed and improving performance. 

Because computing is moving toward the IoT, miniaturized components will have a broad range of uses This development also aims at reaching the computer speeds needed in AI developments.

1 comment on “Miniaturization Changes the Supply Chain

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    July 27, 2017

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