R&D

Clean room, Hillsboro, Oregon, 2014

Clean room, Hillsboro, Oregon, 2014

“Fabs” were the most expensive factories in the world. Here microelectronics, barely a few atoms thick, were fabricated using robotic systems in super-clean air.

Used with permission of Intel Corporation

Research & Development

In the Global Era, companies followed many different strategies in conducting research and development. Some, like Mars in their work on the cacao genome, favored collaboration. They funded joint research with the Department of Agriculture, IBM, and several universities. Results were shared with others to develop. In contrast, when Intel developed a new generation of transistors, it believed it needed to carefully shield research from competitors to reap the full advantage from its investment.

Tri-Gate computer chip, 2011

Tri-Gate computer chip, 2011

In 2011, Intel was the first semiconductor company to use 3-D transistors. Smaller and using less power, this innovation kept the company ahead of competitors.

Intel Achievement Award winners, 2014

Intel Achievement Award winners, 2014

Big challenges, the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology, a focus on team achievement, and good pay motivated the scientists and engineers who developed Tri-Gate.

Used with permission of Intel Corporation

Bell Labs experimental transistors, 1948

Transistors were the building blocks of the digital revolution. Making transistors ever smaller was a key to functional improvements and cost reductions.

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Transistor photomicrograph, 2011

Transistor photomicrograph, 2011

Academics first discussed 3-D transistors in the 1990s. Convinced the idea was commercially viable, Intel secretly began proof of concept in its research lab.

Used with permission of Intel Corporation

Cacao research nursery, Vietnam, 2014

Cacao research nursery, Vietnam, 2014

Openly publishing the cacao sequence allowed hybridizers around the world with no connection to Mars to take advantage of the information.

Compliments of Mars, Inc.

Cacao beans, 2013

Cacao beans, 2013

Cacao, the source of chocolate, was grown in equatorial regions of Africa, South America, and Asia by small landowners using simple tools.

Hand pollination, 2013

Sequencing the cacao genome provided scientists a road map and testing technique, but they bred new cultivars through traditional means. Hand pollination was still key.

Compliments of Mars, Inc.

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Roche 454 picotiter testing plate, 2010

Roche 454 picotiter testing plate, 2010

DNA samples from cacao were prepared and loaded onto picotiter plates for sequencing. Scientists used them to understand the genetic basis for variations in a species.

Harvesting cacao, Ghana, 2011

Harvesting cacao, Ghana, 2011

Diseases and low productivity endangered cacao production. Hybridizers and seed companies did not invest in cacao research because farmers were too poor to implement improvements.

Compliments of Mars, Inc.