The Visionary's Dilemma

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Novel technologies often are born prior to identifying application arenas that can provide the financial support for their development and maturation. After creating new technologies, innovators rush to identify some previously difficult-to-meet product or process challenge. In this regard, microsystems technology is following a path that many other electronic technologies have previously faced. From this perspective, the development of a robust technology follows a three-stage approach. First there is the ''That idea will never work.'' stage, which is hurdled only by proving the concept. Next is the ''Why use such a novel (unproven) technology instead of a conventional one?'' stage. ... continued below

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701 pages

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WALSH,STEVE; MYERS,DAVID R.; SUMPTER,CAROL W. & JAKUBCZAK II,JEROME F. October 12, 2001.

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Description

Novel technologies often are born prior to identifying application arenas that can provide the financial support for their development and maturation. After creating new technologies, innovators rush to identify some previously difficult-to-meet product or process challenge. In this regard, microsystems technology is following a path that many other electronic technologies have previously faced. From this perspective, the development of a robust technology follows a three-stage approach. First there is the ''That idea will never work.'' stage, which is hurdled only by proving the concept. Next is the ''Why use such a novel (unproven) technology instead of a conventional one?'' stage. This stage is overcome when a particular important device cannot be made economically--or at all--through the existing technological base. This initial incorporation forces at least limited use of the new technology, which in turn provides the revenues and the user base to mature and sustain the technology. Finally there is the ''Sure that technology (e.g., microsystems) is good for that product (e.g., accelerometers and pressure sensors), but the problems are too severe for any other application'' stage which is only overcome with the across-the-board application of the new technology. With an established user base, champions for the technology become willing to apply the new technology as a potential solution to other problems. This results in the widespread diffusion of the previously shunned technology, making the formerly disruptive technology the new standard. Like many technologies in the microelectronics industry, the microsystems community is now traversing this well-worn path. This paper examines the evolution of microsystems technology from the perspective of Sandia National Laboratories' development of a sacrificial surface micromachining technology and the associated infrastructure.

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701 pages

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SEMI Technology; OSTI as DE00800820

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  • SEMICON Southwest 2001, Austin, TX (US), 10/16/2001--10/17/2001

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  • Report No.: SAND2001-3255C
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 800820
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc742205

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • October 12, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 19, 2015, 7:39 p.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 3:52 p.m.

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WALSH,STEVE; MYERS,DAVID R.; SUMPTER,CAROL W. & JAKUBCZAK II,JEROME F. The Visionary's Dilemma, article, October 12, 2001; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc742205/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.