Semiconductor ecosystem:

The semiconductor ecosystem covers a globe-spanning value chain of highly specialised capabilities. 

Lead time:

The planned amount of time between the entry of an order for semiconductors by a customer (like an original equipment manufacturer or chip designer) and the delivery of the ordered product following the highly complex manufacturing, testing, and packaging processes. Lead times may vary for different types of semiconductors, and usually ranged between 3 to 6 months before the COVID-19 pandemic.


The quantity of goods or materials on hand to bridge periods of time where no delivery of goods and materials may take place. Such an inventory, if significant enough, may be used to counteract shortage situations, regardless of their cause, and make industry sectors more resilient.

Technology node:

The technology node, often called as process node, node size or structure size, refers to the physical size of the transistor, usually expressed in micrometres (µm) and nanometres (nm). For several technology generations, the metrical unit no longer corresponds to the actual physical transistor size and are instead used as a commercial name.

Today, technology nodes are broadly divided into two groups:

Mature technologies: Mature node sizes generally range from 1.2 µm to 28 nm and may withstand demanding environmental conditions such as higher voltages and currents. Mature nodes make up a significant share of the global chip demand and will continue to do so for the next 10-15 years.

Advanced technologies: Advanced node sizes tend to refer to 16 nm and smaller. They have significant data processing capabilities and are used for personal computers and as high-performance processors.

Examples: The range of technologies used for products and devices differ widely in the technology employed and the application it is used for:

10 nm and smaller: “computer chips”

Used in computer chips and high-performance processors for areas that necessitate particularly fast data processing. Applications include the latest generation of personal computers & smartphones, but also fields such as 6G base stations, autonomous driving, medical science, or machine learning in industrial manufacturing.

16-40 nm: Microcontrollers & microprocessors

Microcontrollers and microprocessors manufactured in the 16-40 nm range make up a significant share of the global chip demand, with forecasts indicating continued and growing demand for the next 10-15 years at least. These semiconductors have sufficient computing power to be used in a wide variety of applications, such as Industry 4.0, health devices, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, power management (incl. for automotive applications), radar, mobile communications, consumer Internet of Things (IoT) products, etc.

90 nm and larger: Sensors, actuators, and controllers

Reliability in more demanding environmental conditions cannot be achieved with too small structure sizes. Where higher voltages and currents must be operated and controlled, more “robust” technologies come to pass. For instance, high-voltage analogue mixed-signal complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies with structure sizes between 65 nm and 1.2 µm are considered cutting edge in their respective applications.

1-100 µm: MEMS

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are mechanically movable silicon structures manufactured on wafers. MEMS are used as sensors, but also as actuators. Progress in MEMS is measured in functional parameters as accuracy, offset stability, and robustness. Application areas include automotive, IoT, health, as well as industrial applications.


Generally referring to the latest or most advanced stage in the development of something, the term may be utilised for a wide range of semiconductor products depending on their application area. While the 5 nm commercial name is often named as the current cutting-edge for semiconductors, this is only true for mobile and high-performance computing applications. For instance, node sizes between 65 nm and 1.2 µm are considered cutting-edge for high-voltage analogue mixed-signal complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies in certain applications.


First and foremost, a semiconductor is a material, such as silicon, germanium, or gallium arsenide, that can act as an electrical conductor or insulator depending on chemical alterations or external conditions.

Using these substances, an electronic device capable of controlling electrical currents, emitting light, or mixing & transforming signals, can be constructed. Such devices are also called semiconductors.

Next-generation semiconductors:

Next-generation semiconductors refer to technologies that go beyond the state of the art in offering significant improvements in computing power, power management, security, energy generation, storage, transmission and efficiency, as well as other significant energy and environmental gains.


Wafers are circular disks made of a semiconductor material, usually with a diameter of 200 or 300 millimetres and as thin as 0.6 to 0.8 mm. A series of processes then applies and defines transistors, conductors, and other structures to achieve the desired circuit. Subsequently, the wafer is sliced into dice, which are mounted in packages.

Frontend manufacturing:

Frontend manufacturing describes the first part of the lengthy and complex process to produce a semiconductor. It describes all steps performed during wafer fabrication and probing and may include several hundreds of process steps. Generally, it starts with the blank semiconductor wafer and ends with verifying the functionality of the finished product.

Backend manufacturing:

Backend manufacturing describes the second part of semiconductor production, starting with dicing the wafer into individual dies. The delicate dies will then be protected by attaching them and wiring them up to a substrate. The backend processes end with packaging and sealing the die into special moulds.


Discrete semiconductor devices perform a single function, such as that of a transistor or a diode.


Optoelectronics refers to technologies that enable the conversion of electric signals into light and vice-versa. Examples include optical fibres and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).


Sensors may detect physical parameters such as heat, light, or sound and convert them into electrical signals that can be measured and used by an electrical or electronic system.


Actuators may produce a rotary (e.g., in an electric motor) or linear motion (e.g., in hydraulic or pneumatic systems) by converting energy and signals.

Integrated circuit:

Integrated circuits (ICs) are semiconductor devices that pack multiple transistors as well as other components on a single piece of semiconductor material.

There are several IC subcategories:

Analog IC: Analog integrated circuits can receive continuous (as opposed to binary) input signals and perform functions such as amplification, mixing, demodulation, and active filtering on the output signal.

Mixed-signal IC: Mixed-signal integrated circuits contain both analogue and digital circuitry on one chip, making use of both types of signals.

Logic IC: Logic integrated circuits receive an input signal and execute logical operations using binary values. The output signal result is another set of logical values. Examples include microprocessor units (MPUs), microcontroller units (MCUs), digital signal processor (DSPs), and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Memory IC: Memory integrated circuits are configured to store bits of data, and have as their primary purpose the storage and retrieval of such electronic data. Examples include dynamic random access memory (DRAM), NOR Flash and NAND Flash memory.