Pete Dunn's Silicon Songs
At last a Web site dedicated to songs about semiconductor manufacturing technology!


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Peter N. Dunn, Orktunes International, BMI.

I Want to Be Like A Chip Why? It's counterintuitive - but there are many reasons. Chips get faster every year....they're pure inside.......they have good timing and a terrific sense of direction....and they're very thin. Get the whole story on emulating our silicon cousins in this 2006 composition.

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Gigabit DRAM The song that asks (and answers) the musical question, "How big is a gigabit?" Called "infectious and spooky; a techno cantata," by noted music writer Sally Cragin in The Noise magazine. Celebrating the development of memory chips that can hold over a billion bits of data - you may be using one right now!

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Moore's Law Marking the 40th Anniversary of Moore's Law, Intel founder Gordon Moore's 1965 prediction that the number of transistors on a chip would continue doubling. Moore's Law has become one of the tenets of the electronics industry, referenced in thousands of articles and presentations each year - and now in at least one song.

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Oh, My, Dr. Ohmi Tadahiro Ohmi of Tohoku University is one of the world's most distinguished researchers of the ultra-clean technology used to keep tiny particles off semiconductors during manufacturing. Ohmi's work helped advance the concept of making chips in a "lights out" facility - where no people would be on the manufacturing line. This 1991 song (which I had the honor of presenting to Dr. Ohmi at a dinner some years ago) is from the perspective of the last person left in such a facility.

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(They Call Me) Mr. X For a while, in certain circles, X-ray lithography was the Next Big Thing - the ultimate tool for printing chip circuitry at ever-smaller sizes. It never caught on, because traditional optical lithography has been extended way beyond where anyone thought possible in 1994 when this song first appeared. Today, in certain circles, EUV lithography is the Next Big Thing - we'll see!

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Semiconductor Drummer From its birth in 1960, the chip industry has been marked by periods of roaring growth interspersed with crushing downturns. It's an odd and challenging rhythm, driven by technological and emotional factors. This 2003 song personifies the force underlying the world's techno party.

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Clean Room Love People who work in chip factories have to be covered head to toe in "bunny suits -" special garments that prevent human contaminants (skin, hair, even exhaled particles) off the sensitive microscopic circuits. But boys and girls will be boys and girls - "they can wrap our bodies up in uniforms/But underneath it all our hearts stay warm."

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ASIC Puppy This decidedly lo-fi look at the overall chipmaking process was the first of my Silicon Songs, recorded in 1989 and released the following summer. An ASIC is an Application Specific Integrated Circuit; a chip designed for one particular function or product, as opposed to general-purpose chips that can be used in multiple ways. Recorded using my first home computer, a Macintosh Plus, running Ed Bogas's never-quite-equalled Studio Session software.

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Stepper Guys A "stepper" is a camera-like tool that's used to print circuit patterns onto silicon with almost unimaginable precision. And "stepper guys" are the scientists and engineers who develop them. Everything else you need to know is included in this 1992 hip-hop paean.

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Phase Shift Boogie A stepper isn't any good without a photomask - a piece of glass that acts like a photographic negative, holding the circuit patterns to be printed onto the silicon. Photomask technology has, of necessity, made huge strides in the last 10-15 years, with the mask becoming a complex optical element filled with non-printing features and phase-shifting capabilities. The lyrics to this 1993 offering were posted on bulletin boards in photomask facilities in both the U.S. and Asia, which made my day when I heard about it.

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Planet Silicon "Silicon turns me on/When I turn it on...I love life on Planet Silicon." This California good-time-with-a-shadow rocker was released in 2002.

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Semicon/West 1996 Radio Commercial Parody Every summer for 20-plus years, Semicon/West has brought together chipmakers and the thousands of companies, small and large, that supply them with machines, materials, services, and other necessities of silicon life. My co-workers at Solid State Technology magazine and WaferNews (a newsletter I founded) kindly provided outstanding performances for this look at how such a trade show could be sold on AM radio.

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Copyright 2005 by Pete Dunn; songs P and © Orktunes International, BMI - All Rights Reserved