Semiconductors: How We Enable the Tech Powering Everyday Life

    Semiconductors, microchips or chips: They're the brains behind the devices you use every day. Learn about some of the technology that makes chip manufacturing possible and why these innovations are more important than ever. 

    What if you couldn’t call or text your loved ones, take your morning commute via train, bus, car or electric bike, or make a touchless payment at the grocery store?

    Without semiconductors, you wouldn’t be able to.

    Also called microchips (or chips for short), semiconductors are the brains behind just about every device you rely on in a day, from phones and laptops to laundry machines and cars.

    Global demand for chips is only expected to grow, especially with new devices and technologies. For example, with advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), devices like your phone require more processing power than previous models and may need to be manufactured with more chips. Take electric vehicles (EVs) as another example. EVs require around double the amount of chips as conventional vehicles. As more people adopt or consider EVs, chip production will need to increase to meet these demands. 

    Behind the Critical Technology Powering Chips

    A computer chip consists of various pieces and parts that make it function. In fact, there are more than 1,000 steps involved in the chipmaking process utilizing hundreds of materials in various process steps. And once the chip is made, it must be further “packaged” into an electronic device, which can incorporate special materials to keep the chip cool while it functions.

    Honeywell is a key supplier of electronic materials that support the digitalization revolution, including a critical part of the chip known as interconnects. Interconnects are the electronic links between the billions of transistors in a semiconductor. Honeywell is a supplier of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) sputtering targets metals, a key material in the interconnects in a semiconductor chip. 

    Sputtering targets are made from various metals and alloys, such as copper, aluminum, titanium and more, which are refined to very high purity and processed to achieve very specific material properties so they can help high-performance chips function properly. Honeywell is the only US-based manufacturer of copper manganese sputtering targets, a key material used in the most advanced semiconductors. 

    Each sputtering target provides the foundation (or seed) conductive layer for the interconnects. Without this foundation layer, semiconductor chips would not operate.

    Honeywell is also a critical supplier of inorganic polymers used in the manufacture of advanced chips. Our polymers ensure the accurate layout of the interconnects in a chip and fill the extremely narrow gaps between interconnects and other features on a chip.

    Honeywell also develops and manufactures a variety of thermal solutions which ensure high-performance chips do not overheat while they operate.

    Facts and Figures Behind Chips and Honeywell Semiconductor Materials 

    • 1,000 times – How much faster today’s semiconductors operate compared to the mid-1980s supercomputer.

    • 3 months – Average time it takes to manufacture leading-edge chips, making them some of the most complex manufactured products around. Leading-edge chips are critical for applications including AI and machine learning.


    Learn more about how Honeywell can help semiconductor manufacturers with innovative electronic materials.