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30 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2022 Several decades ago, the U.S. produced almost 30% of the world's PCBs; now we make only 4%. is means that despite the chip fab- rication plants being built in the United States, we will still be vulnerable to supply chain dis- ruptions for the PCBs and other microelec- tronics those plants produce. As we have seen with COVID and real time political and mili- tary rumblings in Asia, it is not hard to imagine we could see a disruption to critical sources of PCBs and other microelectronics. On our cur- rent course, the U.S. is not prepared to weather such a supply chain storm. ere are three things that need to happen to reverse this trend for PCBs, to protect the eco- nomic and national security of this country: 1. Encourage existing PCB manufacturers to increase production. e demand signal from customers must be clear, strong, and sustainable. 2. For those companies to move ahead, they need to invest in R&D and capital improvements to keep pace with global industry. ere must be a good case for the investment community to join in this effort. ey need to see the future value of such an investment and how their input figures a mutually beneficial public/ private partnership. 3. Reclaiming a fair share of the world's supply of microelectronics requires consistent investment by the federal government. e DoD has led the way in this area. While only constituting about 10% of the demand for PCBs, DoD is, through policy and budgeting, pushing for a secure, trusted, reliable, and resilient supply of PCBs. e Pentagon already knows what many in Washington are just now learning: Microelectronics are key to both the economic and national security interests of the country. e decline of American innovation and man- ufacturing is not inevitable. Policymakers can act now to revitalize the nation's microelectron- ics industry through a comprehensive strategy of public and private investment. PCB007 Travis Kelly is CEO is Isola- Group and current chairman of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America. To read past columns, click here. In a newly published study, a team of research- ers in Oxford University's Department of Materi- als led by Harish Bhaskaran, Professor of Applied Nanomaterials, describe a breakthrough approach to pick up single nanowires from the growth sub- strate and place them on virtually any platform with sub-micron accuracy. The innovative method uses novel tools, includ- ing ultra-thin filaments of polyethylene terephthal- ate (PET) with tapered nanoscale tips that are used to pick up individual nanowires. The nanowires are then transferred to a transparent dome-shaped elastic stamp mounted on a glass slide. Nanowires, materials with diameters 1,000 times smaller than a human hair and fascinating physical properties, could enable major advancements in many differ- ent fields, from energy harvesters and sensors, to information and quantum technologies. DPhil student Utku Emre Ali (Department of Materials), who developed the technique, said, "This new pick-and-place assembly process has enabled us to create first-of-its-kind devices in the nanowire realm. We believe that it will inex- pensively advance nanowire research by allow- ing users to incorporate nanowires with existing on-chip platforms, be it electronic or photonic, unlocking physical properties that have not been attainable so far. Furthermore, this technique could be fully automated, making full-scale fabrication of high-quality nanowire-integrated chips a real possibility." (Source: University of Oxford) New Nanowire Assembly Process Could Enable More Powerful ICs

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