Spotlight on SEMI Women recognizes and celebrates accomplished women working in the global microelectronics industry. Nominees include women who are beacons of knowledge, leaders of organizations and initiatives, hidden heroes and innovators in our industry. They are volunteers, protectors, intellectual disruptors and activists. SEMI’s Diversity & Inclusion Board works with our member companies to shine a spotlight on these amazing women. Learn how you can nominate a woman for Spotlight on SEMI
Ellie Yieh has been a trailblazer at Applied Materials since she began her career with Applied in 1989 as a process engineer in the Chemical Vapor Deposition group. Ellie’s contributions have made a lasting impact on the business and she continues her path of innovation as corporate vice president for Advanced Product Technology Development. Ellie is responsible for the company’s state-of-the-art Maydan Technology Center and works closely with customers and business units to drive advanced product development and technology roadmaps. In addition, Ellie leads R&D for developing new memory and logic innovations that will drive future business opportunities for Applied. In 2018 she was named an Applied Materials Fellow, the company’s highest honor for outstanding technical achievement. She is also a board member of Applied Ventures, LLC, the company’s venture capital arm.
During her 30 years at Applied, she has led the development of several successful products and enabled her teams to deliver growth in profitability and market share, while building strong customer relationships and developing innovative technologies. Of note is Ellie’s leadership in developing industry-leading Gapfill technologies to address the increasingly important shallow trench isolation and inter-layer dielectric applications for denser pitches. Further, Ellie spearheaded the adoption of Applied’s low-k Producer® Black Diamond® system, helping to develop and introduce a robust, low-k film that could withstand both the newly adopted copper back end-of-line and packaging integration challenges.
Ellie’s journey in technology began when she immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan at the age of 15 with her family. She quickly stood out due to her stellar academic performance in math and science. Her academic excellence landed her at UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. Ellie’s adaptability as an Asian female became crucial as she navigated a field dominated by male engineers. She received a B.S. in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and now holds more than 100 semiconductor engineering patents. In 2016 she was inducted into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to the scientific and technological communities. She was also named one of the 2015 “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology” by the National Diversity Council.
Ellie has also been spending time championing for woman engineers. She is a member of the advisory boards for UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry and the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering group at San Jose State University.
Ellie finds working in the semiconductor industry rewarding because “the technical challenges come like clockwork so we are always on our toes working on the next problem and the next solution. I enjoy each of the challenges to put the puzzle together. It’s a team sport; we are all dependent on each other to win and when we look at a problem I am just another engineer on the team trying to solve the problem. But I am also responsible for setting higher level direction for priorities, objectives and vision. It has been very fun for me and I love what I do.”