Over the past 50 years, few developments have influenced human life more than the evolution of semiconductor technology. Electronic devices, such as computers or mobile telephones, which are now taken for granted, would have not been possible without the exponential technological progress experienced over decades, as proposed by Moore's Law . The drive to reduce costs while increasing functionality has lead to the development of fabrication technologies that allow the production of devices with feature sizes under . This enables the manufacture of integrated circuits (ICs) with billions of devices on a single chip.
The wide range of knowledge gained from the production of small structures had an impact also on fields other than electronics. The highly developed processes are used in a modified form to manufacture small sensors and actuators, generally known as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).