Electronic System Design and Manufacturing Sector – M-SIPS, National Policy on Electronics, etc.

Semiconductor Tech: What exactly is India going to manufacture?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Semiconductors

Mains level: Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • Despite recent setbacks, including the withdrawal of Foxconn Technology Group from a joint venture with Vedanta, Ltd., India remains committed to its semiconductor ambitions.

What are Semiconductors?

  • Semiconductors are a class of materials that exhibit a unique property of electrical conductivity, lying between conductors and insulators.
  • Unlike conductors, which allow electricity to flow freely through them, and insulators, which do not conduct electricity at all, semiconductors have an intermediate level of electrical conductivity.

Key characteristics of semiconductors include:

  1. Electrical Conductivity: Semiconductors conduct electricity better than insulators but not as effectively as conductors. Their conductivity can be controlled and modified.
  2. Band Gap: Semiconductors have an energy band gap that separates the valence band, where electrons are tightly bound, from the conduction band, where electrons can move more freely. This band gap is smaller than that of insulators but larger than that of conductors.
  3. Temperature Dependency: The conductivity of semiconductors is highly temperature-dependent. As the temperature increases, their electrical conductivity also increases.
  4. Doping: Semiconductors can be intentionally doped with impurities to alter their electrical properties. Doping introduces additional charge carriers, either electrons or holes, which can enhance or diminish conductivity.

Semiconductors and Transistors

  • Semiconductor Chip Composition: At its core, a semiconductor chip consists of transistors crafted from materials like silicon. Transistors encode information as 0s and 1s and manipulate them to create new data.
  • Three Parts of a Transistor: A transistor comprises the source, the gate, and the drain. By manipulating the gate to open or close, data is stored and manipulated in the semiconductor chip.
  • Metal Layers and Connectivity: Transistors are connected to multiple metal layers on top, forming a complex network of electrical connections that enable the chip to execute multiple tasks.

Understanding Semiconductor Nodes

  • Naming Convention: Semiconductor nodes were historically based on two numbers: gate length and metal pitch. As transistors shrunk, this naming convention evolved.
  • Discrepancy and Progress: With advancing miniaturization, both gate length and metal pitch ceased to contribute to node names. Today’s cutting-edge 7 nm node has no physical parameter close to 7 nm.

Importance of Legacy Nodes

  • Advantages of Legacy Nodes: While advanced nodes range from 10 nm to 5 nm, India’s current focus is around 28 nm or higher. Starting with legacy nodes offers advantages for cost-effective applications in robotics, defence, aerospace, industry automation, automobiles, IoT, and image sensors.
  • Revenue Source: Commercial fabs maintain the production of legacy nodes alongside advanced nodes, catering to various demands. The revenue from legacy nodes is still significant in the semiconductor market.

India’s Semiconductor Journey

  • Sensible Approach: India’s choice to start with legacy nodes is strategic. It equips the country for long-term success, as demand for legacy nodes in applications like electric cars and infotainment systems increases.
  • Future Potential: With continuous improvement and development, India’s semiconductor industry has the potential to grow and become a global hub for semiconductor technology.


  • India’s focus on legacy nodes lays a solid foundation for its semiconductor ambitions.
  • Embracing these nodes equips the nation for growth and positions it as a player in the global semiconductor landscape.
  • With a commitment to innovation and advancement, India has the potential to become a key player in the semiconductor world.

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