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It is needless to say that the technological progress which we have seen in the past decade has played an important role in the advancement of modern society by supplying better, cheaper, and a huge variety of novel goods. If these advancements where not possible then probably our society is not composed as it is as many things would be totally different. Buying something, getting medical cure, entertainment and many other things would be totally different from what they are now and from what they would be in the near future. Technology would not exist if micro-electronics was not developed and researched at today's level. Recent developments in emerging technologies and its impact on business and economics would indicate that forecasts are less than accurate in predicting the future. Few would have accurately forecasted innovations such as of the Internet or the innovation of wireless communications through small devices such as mobile phones.
The latest breakthrough in technological research is nano-electronics , if even partially realized, over the next few decades has the potential to realign society, business and economics at the structural level. Nano-electronics at the consumer level will touch all aspects of economics: wages, employment, purchasing; pricing, capital, exchange rates, currencies, markets, supply and demand. Nano-electronics may well drive economic prosperity or at the least be an enabling factory productivity and global competitiveness.
Evolution of Micro electronics and Nano-electronics
The intensive effortÂ of electronics to increase the reliability and performanceÂ of its products while reducing their size and cost has led to the results that hardly anyone would have daredÂ to predict. In-fact many think that electronics made a revolution in human history. True, there has been a real revolution: a quantitative change in technology has given rise to enormous change in human capabilities. There appeared smaller and smaller electronic components performing increasingly complex electronic functions at ever higher speeds. It all began with the development of the transistor.
Prior toÂ the invention of the transistor in 1947, its function in an electronic circuit could be performed only by a vacuum tube.
Vacuum tubes were found to have several built-in problems. The main problem with these tubes was that they generated a lot of heat, required a warm-up time from 1 to 2 minutes, and required hefty power supply voltages of 300 volts dc and more. Another problem was that two identical tubes had different output and operational characteristics therefore designers were required to produce circuits that could work with any tube of a particular type. This meant that additional components were often required to tune the circuit to the output characteristics required for the tube used.
The above figure shows a typical vacuum-tube chassis. The actual size of the transformer was approximately 4 Ã- 4 Ã- 3 inches while the capacitors are approximately 1 Ã- 3 inches.
The first transistors had no striking advantage in size over the smallest tubes and they were more costly. The largest advantage the transistor had over the best vacuum tubes Â was that it consumed much less power than a vacuum tube did. Besides they promised greater reliability and longer life. However, it took years to demonstrate other transistor advantages.
The advent of microelectronic circuits has not, for the most part, changed the nature of the basic functional units: microelectronic devices were still made up of transistors, resistors, capacitors, and similar components. The major difference is that all these elements and their interconnections are now fabricated on a single substrate in a single series of operations.
Several key developments were required before the exciting potential of integrated circuits could be realized.
The development of microelectronics depended on the invention of techniques for making the various functional units or on a crystal of semiconductor materials. In particular, a growing number of functionsÂ have been given over to circuit elements that perform best: transistors. Several kinds of microelectronic transistors have been developed, and for each of them families of associated circuit elements and circuit patterns have evolved.
The bipolar transistor was invented in 1948 by John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley of the Bell Telephone Laboratories. In bipolar transistors charge carriers of both polarities are involved in their operation. They are also known as junction transistors. The npn and pnp transistors make up the class of devices called junction transistors.
A second kind of transistor was actually conceived almost 25 years before the bipolar devices, but its fabrication in quantity did not become practical until the early 1960's. This is field-effect transistor. The one that is common in microelectronics is the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor. The term refers to the three materials employed in its construction and is abbreviated MOSFET.
The two basic types of transistor, bipolar and MOSFET, divide microelectronic circuits into two large families. Today the greatest density of circuit elements per- chip can be achieved with the newer MOSFET technology.
An individual integrated circuit on a chip now can embrace more electronic elements than most complex pieces of electronic equipment that could be built in 1950.
In the first 15 years since the inception of integrated circuits, the number of transistors that could be placed on a single chip has doubled every year. The 1980 state of art is about 70K density per chip.
The first generations of the commercially produced microelectronic devices are now referred to as small-scale integrated circuits (SSI). They included a few gates. The circuitry defining a logic array had to be provided by external conductors.
Devices with more than about 10 gates on a chip but fewer than about 200 are medium-scale integrated circuits (MSI). The upper boundary of medium-scale integrated circuits technology is markedÂ by chips that contain a complete arithmetic and logic unit (ALU). This unit accepts as inputs two operands and can perform any one of a dozen or so operations on them. The operations include addition, sub-straction, comparison, logical "and" and "or" and shifting one bit to the left or right.
A large-scale integrated circuit (LSI) contains tens of thousands of elements, yet each element is so small that the complete circuit is typically less than a quarter of an inch on a side.
Integrated circuits are evolving from large-scale to very-large-scale (VLSI) and wafer-scale integration (WSI).
Since the transistor was invented over 50 years ago, the trend in electronics has been to create smaller and smaller products using fewer chips of greater complexity and smaller 'feature' sizes. The development of integrated circuits and storage devices have continued to progress at an exponential rate; at present it takes two or three years for each successive halving of component size.
. Nanoelectronics refer to the use of nanotechnology on electronic components, especially transistors. Although the term nanotechnology is generally defined as utilizing technology less than 100Â nm in size, nanoelectronics often refer to transistor devices that are so small that inter-atomic interactions and quantum mechanical properties need to be studied extensively. As a result, present transistors (such as in recent Intel Core i7 processors) do not fall under this category, even though these devices are manufactured under 65Â nm or 45Â nm technology.
Nanoelectronics are sometimes considered as disruptive technology because present candidates are significantly different from traditional transistors. Some of these candidates include: hybrid molecular/semiconductor electronics, one dimensional nanotubes/nanowires, or advanced molecular electronics.
Although all of these hold promise for the future, they are still under development and will most likely not be used for manufacturing any time soon.
Fears of massive unemployment have greeted technological changes ever since the Industrial Revolution. Far from destroying jobs, however, rapid technological advance generally has created many new important opportunities. In the quarter-century, the industrial economics were flooded with new technologies while at the same the amount of unemployed people has drastically been lowered. Lately with the help of new findings in the area of microelectronics and nanoelectronics it will have a fundamental impact on both the numbers and types of jobs in the industrial worlds in the following years. The microelectronic revolution affected employment in enterprises ranging from steelworks to research companies, since technology in history has had evolution and it needed much more labour in order to do the said research. On the other hand, goods that incorporate microelectronic devices generally require significantly less labor to produce than thc goods they replacc, a fact that extends thc cmploymcnt implications of the technology wcll beyond its dircct impacts on automation.
And :i third causc of apprchcnsion is thc spccd with which the technology is advancing. Although microelectronic controls will not swccp through thc industrial world ovcrnight, most cxpcrts cxpcct thcm to be firmly cstablihd in production proccsscs, products, :ind daily activitics ovcr thc next two dccadcs.
Set against thcsc conccrns, howevcr, is the fact that microclcctronic technologies hold the promise of incrcascd productivity ovcr a hroad rangc of industrial cntcrpriscs. In thcory this should lead to enhanced ccoriornic growth, which in turn will translate into ncw rolx That, in csscncc, is how tcchnological changc has opcratcd to incrcasc cmploynicnt in thc industrial world-at lcast until the niid-'7Os. Put crudely, thc
cxtra production madc possible by tcchnological changes coincidcd with rising wealth and increased
dcmand for m;inufacttircd goods and services, a combination that Icd to high rates of economic growth and
ncar-full cniploynicnt. nut thcrc arc good reasons why thosc historical trcnds may not provide a rcliable guidc to thc future. Both thc hopcs and the conccrns for low Icvcls. Yet thcrc is good reason to takse , riously the Colin Normon, o Senior Raeurcher at Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C., is author of a forthcoming book on technology and society, Thc God That Limpcd.
microelectronics must be scen in the light of other cconomic forccs and in thc context of dccp structural
changes that haw lxcn taking place in the industrial labor force ovcr thc past fcw decadcs.
As is 'wcll known, combination of technological changes and economic and social prcssurcs lcd to a
sharp reduction in thc developed world's agricultural work force over the past half-century. In cvery major
Western industrial country thc agricultural labor force now rcpresents lcss than 10 per ccnt of the working
population; in thc United Statcs and Britain the proportion is bclow 4 pcr cent. Whilc thc number of agricultural workers has dccrcascd, however, output has riscn substantially in gcneral-a phcnomenon that has becn dubbcd "jobless growth." Now tlicrc arc indications that in many parts of thc'world jobless growth is occurring in manufacturing industries ;IS wcll. According to studics by Britain's Scicnce Policy
Rcsearch Unit, cmploymcnt in manufacturing industries in most Western industrial countries rosc stcadily
in the OS, lxgan to tail off in the OS, and dcclincd in thc '70s. At thc samc time, output, whilc fluctuating in tune with rccessions, has increased. "The phcnomenon of jobless growth has now become established in the goods producing scctors -of the- advanced industrial countries causcd mainly through technological
change," the study suggests. Underlying this trend is thc fact that invcstment in ncw production technolo
gics has sought largely to rationalize and streamline production proccsscs rather than to cxpand output at a
timc of deprcsscd demand and high wage rates. This was cspecially true of invcstmcnts in new automobile
manufacturing tcchnologies in Britain and the United Statcs during thc late '70s.
Whilc thcsc job and invcstment pattcrns havc ken developing, cmploymcnt in the tcrtiary. sector of the
economy- finance, insurance, government, scrviccs, and so on- has been cxpanding rapidly (Table 1). In the United Statcs, for example, 92 pcr ccnt of the ncw jobs crcatcd ktwccn 1966 and 1973 wcrc in this sector, and in cvcry major industrial country 'the tcrtiary sector now account$ for at lcast half thc labor force. It is important to note that it is the productivity increascs in thc manufacturing industries that have themselves created the economic growth that in turn led to the increased demand for the services of the tcrtiary sector. This transition from agriculturc to industry, and more rccently to tertiary sector employmcnt, has not been smooth or even. Some industries havc continucd to expand their cmploymcnt, whilc others, such as steel and textiles, have contracted. Within thc scrvicc sector, too, growth rates have bccn highly uncven, with sharp increascs in govcrnmcnt employmcnt in most countrics and steady gains until recently in banking, insurance, and similar occupations. During the '70s thc sharp ris'cs in cncrgy prices, the high rates of inflation, and slow ratcs of productivity growth havc had dcep and wry obvious impacts on levcls of cmploymcnt. At the cnd of the dccadc, unemploymcnt stood at more than six million in Europe, about G per ccnt of the American work force was out of a job, and even in japan, whcre lifetime employmcnt guarantees arc common, the official uncmploymcnt total reached one million. Thcsc high totals are duc in part to policies designed to dampcn dcmand and bring down rates of inflatian. Yct a return to high lcvcls of dcmand for tho products of sonic labor-intcnsivc industries, such as stecl and shipbuilding, is considcrcd unlikely evcn if inflationary prcssurcs modcratc, hccause. the markctcfor thcse' products is reaching saturation. It is against this background that the microclcctronic rcvolution must bc asscsscd. Since the technology is less than a dccadc old, it is impossiblc to draw conclusions about thc spccifc impact on joh Ievcls. Iht thcrc is alrcady suficicnt cxpcriencc to rcach some gcncral conclusions.