A closeup of a computer chip, featuring a red grid surrounded by golden bands

Semiconductors and Microelectronics

For decades, the U.S. National Science Foundation has invested in the technological building blocks of the modern electronics that people depend on every day.

Semiconductors are the backbone of most electronics, from smart phones to home appliances, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to satellites. 

Breakthroughs in semiconductors and microelectronics will be key to overcoming limits in critical areas, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, manufacturing and communications.

Brought to you by NSF

NSF's decades of sustained investments have ensured the continual advance of semiconductors and microelectronics. Pioneering work supported by NSF includes:


From their liquid crystal displays to their microprocessors, NSF-supported research into semiconductor materials and microelectronics was essential to the creation of many materials found in smartphones.


Since the 1980s, NSF has funded some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, including Frontera and Delta, and made these resources widely available to the research community.

LED lights

NSF-funded research expanded the capabilities and energy efficiency of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, found in everyday electronics from smartphones and computers to streetlamps, home appliances and ceiling fans.


NSF-funded research into nanotechnologies is facilitating groundbreaking discoveries at the quantum level, enabling advances in faster computer chips, high-performance imaging systems and more.

What we support

Fundamental research

We invest in research that builds knowledge to enhance the performance, energy use, scalability, security, interoperability and resilience of semiconductor materials and microelectronic technologies.

Next-generation semiconductors

We support researchers in developing and fabricating secure, high-performance semiconductor devices built with novel and sustainable materials.

Innovations in microelectronics

We support new designs and methods that bring electrical, optical, magnetic and quantum components into microelectronics for diverse platforms and systems.

Access to fabrication facilities

We provide researchers and students across the U.S. with access to facilities where they can fabricate and test devices and systems.

Education and workforce development

We invest in education and training, in partnership with industry, to foster a nationwide research and development ecosystem for semiconductors and microelectronics.

Partnerships to accelerate progress

We partner with other federal agencies, industry and nonprofits to share data, tools, expertise and other resources; strengthen workforce development; and translate research into products and services that benefit society.

Future of Semiconductors

Supports the co-design of semiconductor materials, devices and systems to create high-performance, robust, secure, compact, energy-efficient and cost-effective technologies.

America's Seed Fund (SBIR/STTR)

Supports startups and small businesses to translate research into products and services, including semiconductors and microelectronics, with the potential to transform their industries and make a positive impact on society.

Electronics, Photonics and Magnetic Devices

Supports research on novel devices based on the principles of electronics, optics and photonics, optoelectronics, magnetics, opto- and electromechanics, electromagnetics and related physical phenomena.

Enabling Access to the Semiconductor Chip Ecosystem for Design, Fabrication and Training

Supports education, training and community infrastructure for end-to-end integrated micro/nano-electronic circuit semiconductor chip design.

Expeditions in Computing

Supports large-scale research projects in computer science and engineering, including addressing complex problems related to semiconductor technology and its applications.

Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies

Supports inclusive experiential learning opportunities that provide cohorts of diverse learners with the skills needed to succeed in advanced computing and other emerging technology fields.

Partnership for Prototyping of CMOS+X Systems 

Supports collaborative research that integrate CMOS — short for complementary metal-oxide semiconductors — semiconductor chips with emerging technologies like resistive and nanomagnetic memories.

Principles and Practice of Scalable Systems

Supports interdisciplinary research that spans the entire hardware–software stack and studies the scalability and accuracy of modern applications, systems and toolchains built on heterogeneous architectures.

Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace

Supports research to develop secure and trustworthy computing systems, including those relying on advanced semiconductor technologies.

Supplements for Access to Semiconductor Fabrication 

Supports the fabrication of research devices and systems through standard semiconductor fabrication facilities.

Additional resources