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Engineering CommunismHow Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley$
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Steven T. Usdin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108743

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108743.001.0001

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The Minifab, 1975–1990

The Minifab, 1975–1990

Chapter:
(p.248) 10 The Minifab, 1975–1990
Source:
Engineering Communism
Author(s):

Steven T. Usdin

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300108743.003.0010

This chapter focuses on Berg's idea of minifab production. In the late 1970s, Berg came up with an idea for an invention that he believed could revolutionize microelectronics. The idea was to shrink the basic functions of silicon-chip making, which normally took place in ultraclean rooms housed in multi-billion-dollar factories, or “fabs,” so that they could be accomplished by a device small enough to fit onto a desktop. Berg believed that such desktop fabs, or “minifabs,” would be economical for creating custom chips, such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). The chapter reveals that Berg was given a budget for this project, including hard currency to import foreign equipment, and the right to recruit staff. Several experienced engineers who had worked for Berg at the LKB also joined the minifab project.

Keywords:   minifab, microelectronics, integrated circuits, engineers, equipment

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