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New CHIPS Report Describes Metrology Grand Challenges for the Semiconductor Sector

The CHIPS for America logo is a U.S. flag in the shape of a semiconductor chip

The CHIPS Research and Development (R&D) Office has released a document that will serve as guidance for researchers supported with CHIPS R&D Metrology Program resources to develop project plans, including research activities and outcomes, with overarching goals in line with the CHIPS Act. Metrology Gaps in the Semiconductor Ecosystem combines the results of more than two years of rigorous stakeholder engagement, market research, strategic planning, and organizational development activities completed by NIST to design a program positioned to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry through advanced measurement, standardization, modeling, and simulation.  

Data collected through stakeholder engagement and internal planning confirmed that industry, academia, and government organizations require more advanced metrology across all stages of the semiconductor design and manufacturing value chain, including basic and applied R&D in the laboratory, prototyping at scale, factory fabrication, and assembly, packaging, and performance verification. The processed described in Metrology Gaps in the Semiconductor Ecosystem resulted in a list of 10 focus areas to address the highest-priority metrology gaps affecting the U.S. microelectronics industry. 

The 10 focus areas for the CHIPS R&D Metrology Program fall into two categories: 

Automation, Virtualization, and Security

  1. Advanced Metrology for Supply Chain Trust and Assurance 

  1. Verification and Validation of Advanced Models 

  1. Advanced Modeling for Next-Generation Manufacturing Processes 

  1. Standards for Automation, Virtualization, and Security 

  1. Interoperability Standards for Equipment and Software  

Metrology for Next-Generation Microelectronics

  1. Metrology for Advanced Materials and Devices 

  1. Metrology for Nanostructured Materials Characterization 

  1. Advanced Measurement Services 

  1. Advanced Metrology for 3D Structures and Devices 

  1. Materials Characterization Metrology for Advanced Packaging 

As the CHIPS R&D Metrology Program begins to fund research projects, it will use Metrology Gaps in the Semiconductor Ecosystem as a guide, as well as continue to engage with members of the semiconductor sector through workshops and seminars, technical demonstrations and peer-reviewed publications, and with partnerships with external organizations for the purposes of commercialization and technical transfer.  

You can read the full report at 

The CHIPS Research and Development Office is investing in four integrated programs, including the Manufacturing USA institute(s), that will share infrastructure, participants, and projects. They will operate in coordination with each other, with the CHIPS for America incentives program, and with microelectronics R&D programs supported by other U.S. federal agencies to establish a robust R&D ecosystem for the nation’s chipmakers and supply chain. The CHIPS Research and Development Office and the CHIPS Program Office, responsible for semiconductor incentives, sit within NIST at the Department of Commerce. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is uniquely positioned to successfully administer the CHIPS for America program because of the bureau’s strong relationships with U.S. industries, its deep understanding of the semiconductor ecosystem, and its reputation as fair and trusted. Visit to learn more.  

Released June 5, 2023