Hans Stork, chief technology officer of ON Semiconductor, talks to Steve Rogerson in our series of interviews for CIEonline. Stork joined ON Semiconductor in 2011 as senior vice president and chief technology officer responsible for the company’s product research and development. With nearly three decades of experience in technology and product development, he has held various leadership positions including group vice president and CTO of the silicon systems group at Applied Materials, and senior vice president and CTO of Texas Instruments and director of silicon technology development at TI.
During his career, Stork has worked with some of the semiconductor industry’s leading innovators including Hewlett Packard and IBM Research.
He holds a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and an electrical engineering ingenieur (Cum Laude) from Delft University in the Netherlands. He has authored numerous scientific articles and papers, served as a board director for Sematech and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for IMEC.
His hobbies include competitive ballroom dancing and outdoor sports such as running and biking.
1. Does the increased use of renewable energy mean we no longer have to be as concerned about energy conservation?
Not immediately. The demand for energy will continue to go up, so we will need to be more efficient to use that. Renewable sources will be a complement to existing sources, but the demand will continue to outstrip what it brings. This is just because of the shear number of people getting a higher standard of living and using more energy. If you look at Asia where there are large amounts of people in their younger years and are getting a glimpse of what the wealthier countries have achieved, that will drive global demand.
2. What do you think has been the most significant development in automotive technology in the past decade?
With regards to the use of energy, I would point towards electric vehicles becoming practical. They carry enough battery power, they are efficient and can travel for miles or kilometres, and there are sufficient charging points. This has led to unusual shapes of cars and even tiny cars. The price is still a bottleneck but there are no technology obstacles to that changing.
The other development is the rapidly increasing autonomy of cars, with all the safety aspects and warnings about being drowsy and monitoring the traffic. Google is showing you can have completely autonomous cars. I see a rapid pickup of that. We are seeing the simpler aspects already, such as letting the car park itself, and that can even happen in real traffic. Unfortunately, it will lead to more cars on the road not less, but the traffic will be more electronically controlled.
3. Will nanotechnology change the world?
It already has if you look at IC technology. When you talk about nanomaterials, they will change the world eventually. Certain nanotechnologies enable more strength for the same weight and better understanding of this will enable advancements, but they need to work together with other elements. Lots of things have to change at the same time. Over tens of years, the impact will be more significant but nanomaterials are only one element of this. From 2014 to 2020, we will see things happening in the world that we have never thought of and nanomaterials will make some things more practical.
Lighter things tend to be more energy efficient. It may make flying transportation more personal, but a lot of things have to come together to make that practical. Nanotechnologies are only one aspect of that.
4. Isn’t dancing meant to be fun rather than competitive?
It is hard for me to leave my competitive spirit at home, but for most people dancing is a fun activity. But whenever you have multiple people in one place, some will try to outdo the others and some form of competitiveness will happen. Regardless of the competitive spirit, it remains one of the most satisfying things that I do. The ability to manage your own body is a challenge that is very enjoyable.
My interest goes back to the days of the Dirty Dancing movie. Our children were small and we spent our lives working and taking care of the family. I worked for IBM in those days and they had a staff newsletter that was advertising lessons in ballroom dancing. So we tried it to get away from the kids and it was fun. And some people said we were good at it and one thing led to another.
5. What are the advantages of manufacturing in Vietnam compared with other Far Eastern countries?
Vietnam is currently a low cost region, so it helps with our cost structure. The country is also putting serious effort in education to help the population follow engineering careers. They also want to increase the standard of living of their population. They want to develop the capabilities themselves. The country is building an infrastructure as well. It suits our need for low cost, high volume production.