This study focuses on the plasma processing of materials, a technology that impacts and is of vital importance to several of the largest manufacturing industries in the world.
Foremost among these industries is the electronics industry, in which plasma-based processes are indispensable for the manufacture of very large-scale integrated (VLSI) microelectronic circuits (or chips).
Plasma processes used today in fabricating microelectronic devices have been developed largely by time-consuming, costly, empirical exploration.
The chemical and physical complexity of plasma-surface interactions has so far eluded the accurate numerical simulation that would enable process design.
A plasma is a partially or fully ionized gas containing electrons, ions, and neutral atoms or molecules.
In Chapter 2, the panel categorizes different kinds of plasmas and focuses on properties of man-made low-energy, highly collisional plasmas that are particularly useful in materials processing applications.
For example, graduate programs specifically focused on plasma processing are rare because of insufficient funding of university research programs in this field.
By contrast, both Japan and France have national initiatives that support education and research in plasma processing.
Yet there is no fundamental obstacle to improved modeling and simulation nor to the eventual creation of computer-aided design (CAD) tools for designing plasma reactors.
The key missing ingredients are the following: ., application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), will gain an increasing fraction of the world market in microelectronic components.