40 Inventive Principles in Microelectronics

40 Inventive Principles in Microelectronics

By: Gennady Retseptor
© 2002. Gennady Retseptor. AVX Israel Ltd. 972-2-5720128. All rights reserved.

Both Microelectronics and TRIZ emerged independently around 50 years ago in Western countries and the former USSR.

Microelectronics has been already recognized as one of the tremendous achievements of XX century. TRIZ has started its proliferation in Western countries only in the last decade.

For people working in Microelectronics it may be interesting to know how technical solutions in their scope are looking from the point of view of TRIZ. This article is the author’s endeavor to make classification and summarize examples of TRIZ inventive principles in Microelectronics. 

Editor’s note:  There is some debate about whether one becomes more creative by reading examples of creative problem solving in fields other than one’s own, or if, for many people, examples in one’s own field are needed to get started understanding how the 40 principles work.  The editor’s experience as a TRIZ teacher has been that most people need a mixture of examples from their own field and from others, so we have been very glad to publish lists of examples from many fields.  (See References).

Principle 1. Segmentation/Fragmentation/Division

  1. Divide an object into independent parts.
  2. Make an object easy to disassemble.
  3. Increase the degree of fragmentation or segmentation.
  4. Transition to micro-level.

Principle 2. Taking out/Separation/Removal/Extraction/Segregation

  1. Separate an interfering part or property from an object, or single out the only necessary part (or property) of an object.

Principle 3. Local quality

  1. Change an object's structure from uniform to non-uniform, change an external environment (or external influence) from uniform to non-uniform.
  2. Make each part of an object function in conditions most suitable for its operation.
  1. Make each part of an object fulfill a different and useful function.

Principle 4. Asymmetry/Symmetry change

  1.  Change the shape of an object from symmetrical to asymmetrical.
  2. Change the shape or properties of an object to suit external asymmetries.
  3. If an object is asymmetrical, increase its degree of asymmetry.

Principle 5. Merging/Combining/Composition/Integration/Agglomeration

  1. Bring closer together (or merge) identical or similar objects; assemble identical or similar parts to perform parallel operations.
  2. Make operations contiguous or parallel; bring them together in time.
  3. Agglomerate objects to Bi- and Poly- system.

Principle 6. Universality/Multi-functionality

  1. Make a part or object perform multiple functions; eliminate the need for other parts.
  2. Use standardized features.

Principle 7. Nesting/”Nested doll”/Recess/Embedding

  1. Place one object inside another; place each object, in turn, inside the other.
  1. Make one part pass (dynamically) through a cavity in the other.

Principle 8. Counterweight/Anti-weight/Weight compensation/Levitation

  1. To compensate for the weight of an object, merge it with other objects that provide lift.
  2. To compensate for the weight of an object, make it interact with the environment (e.g. use aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, buoyancy and other forces).

Principle 9. Preliminary anti-action/Prior counteraction

  1. If it will be necessary to do an action with both harmful and useful effects, this action should be replaced with anti-actions to control harmful effects.

Principle 10. Preliminary action/ Prior action/Do it advance

  1. Perform, before it is needed, the required change of an object (either fully or partially).
  1. Pre-arrange objects such that they can come into action from the most convenient place and without losing time for their delivery.

Principle 11. Beforehand cushioning/Cushion in advance/Beforehand compensation

A.   Prepare emergency means beforehand to compensate for the relatively low reliability of an object.

Principle 12. Equipotentiality/Remove Tension

A.   In a potential field, limit position changes (e.g. change operating conditions to eliminate the need to raise or lower objects in a gravity field). 

Principle 13. Inversion/Reverse/“The other way round”

  1. Invert the action(s) used to solve the problem (e.g. instead of cooling an object, heat it).
  2. Make movable parts (or the external environment) fixed, and fixed parts movable.
  3. Turn the object (or process) ‘upside down’.

Principle 14. Spheroidality/Sphericity/Curvilinearity

  1. Instead of using rectilinear parts, surfaces, or forms, use curvilinear ones; move from flat surfaces to spherical ones; from parts shaped as a cube (parallelepiped) to ball-shaped structures.
  1. Use rollers, balls, spirals, domes.
  1. Go from linear to rotary motion (or vise versa).
  2. Use centrifugal forces.

Principle 15. Dynamics/Dynamicity/Dynamization/Optimization

  1. Allow (or design) the characteristics of an object, external environment, or process to change to be optimal or to find an optimal operating condition.
  1. Divide an object into parts capable of movement relative to each other.
  1. If an object (or process) is rigid or inflexible, make it movable or adaptive.
  1. Increase degree of free motion.

Principle 16. Partial or excessive actions/Excess or shortage

  1. If 100 percent of an object is hard to achieve using a given solution method then, by using 'slightly less' or 'slightly more' of the same method, the problem may be considerably easier to solve.

Principle 17. Another dimension/Change dimension/Moving to a new dimension

  1. Move an object in two- or three-dimensional space.
  1. Use a multi-story arrangement of objects instead of a single-story arrangement.
  2. Tilt or re-orient the object, lay it on its side.
  3. Use 'another side' of a given area.

Principle 18. Mechanical vibration/Oscillation

  1. Cause an object to oscillate or vibrate.
  1. Increase its frequency (even up to the ultrasonic).
  2. Use an object's resonant frequency.
  3. Use piezoelectric vibrators instead of mechanical ones.
  4. Use combined ultrasonic and electromagnetic field oscillations.

Principle 19. Periodic action

  1. Instead of continuous action, use periodic or pulsating actions.
  1. If an action is already periodic, change the periodic magnitude or frequency.
  2. Use pauses between impulses to perform a different action.

Principle 20. Continuity of useful action/Steady useful action

  1. Carry on work continuously; make all parts of an object work at full load, all the time.
  1. Eliminate all idle or intermittent actions or work.

Principle 21. Skipping/ Rushing through/Hurrying

  1. Conduct a process, or certain stages (e.g. destructible, harmful or hazardous operations) at high speed.

Principle 22. “Blessing in disguise”/“Turn lemons into lemonade”/Convert harm into benefit/Turn minus into plus

  1. Use harmful factors (particularly, harmful effects of the environment or surroundings) to achieve a positive effect.
  1. Eliminate the primary harmful action by adding it to another harmful action to resolve the problem.
  2. Amplify a harmful factor to such a degree that it is no longer harmful.

Principle 23. Feedback

  1. Introduce feedback (referring back, cross-checking) to improve a process or action.
  1. If feedback is already used, change its magnitude or influence.

Principle 24. Intermediary/Mediator/Insertion

  1. Use an intermediary carrier article or intermediary process.
  1. Merge one object temporarily with another (which can be easily removed).

Principle 25. Self-service/Self-organization

  1. Make an object serve itself by performing auxiliary helpful functions. Use self-performed actions.
  1. Use waste resources, energy, or substances.

Principle 26. Copying

A.   Instead of an unavailable, expensive, fragile object, use simpler and inexpensive copies.

  1. Replace an object, or process with optical copies.
  2. If visible optical copies are already used, move to infrared or ultraviolet copies.

Principle 27. Cheap short-living objects/Cheap disposables

A.   Replace an expensive object with a multiple of inexpensive objects, comprising certain qualities (such as service life, for instance).

Principle 28. Mechanics substitution/Replacement of mechanical system/Redesigning/Replace mechanical system with fields

A.   Replace a mechanical means with a sensory (optical, acoustic, taste or smell) means.

  1. Use electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields to interact with the object. Replace mechanical devices with physical fields.
  1. Change from static to movable fields, from unstructured fields to those having structure.
  2. Use fields in conjunction with field-activated (e.g. ferromagnetic) particles.

Principle 29. Pneumatics and hydraulics/Fluid system

  1. Use gas and liquid parts of an object instead of solid parts (e.g. inflatable, filled with liquids, air cushion, hydrostatic, hydro-reactive).

Principle 30. Flexible shells and thin films/Flexible membranes

  1. Use flexible shells and thin films instead of three dimensional structures.
  2. Isolate the object from the external environment using flexible shells and thin films.

Principle 31. Porous materials

A.   Make an object porous or add porous elements (inserts, coatings, etc.).

  1. If an object is already porous, use the pores to introduce a useful substance or function.

Principle 32. Color change/Optical properties change

A.   Change the color of an object or its external environment.

  1. Change the transparency of an object or its external environment.
  2. In order to improve observability of things that are difficult to see, use colored additives or luminescent elements.

Principle 33. Homogeneity

  1. Make objects interacting with a given object of the same material (or material with identical properties).

Principle 34. Discarding and recovering/Rejection and regeneration

  1. Make portions of an object that have fulfilled their functions go away (discard by dissolving, evaporating, etc.) or modify these directly during operation.
  2. Conversely, restore consumable parts of an object directly in operation.

Principle 35. Parameter change/Changing properties/Transformation of physical and chemical states

  1. Change an object's physical state (e.g. to a gas, liquid, or solid).
  1. Change the concentration or consistency. Use rheological liquids.
  2. Change the degree of flexibility.
  1. Change the temperature.
  2. Change the pressure.

Principle 36. Phase transitions/Use of phase changes

A.   Use phenomena occurring during phase transitions (e.g. volume changes, loss or absorption of heat, etc.).

Principle 37. Thermal expansion

  1. Use thermal expansion (or contraction) of materials.
  2. If thermal expansion is being used, use multiple materials with different coefficients of thermal expansion.

Principle 38. Strong oxidants/Enriched atmosphere/Accelerated oxidation

  1. Replace common air with oxygen-enriched air.
  2. Replace enriched air with pure oxygen.
  3. Expose air or oxygen to ionizing radiation.
  4. Use ionized oxygen.
  5. Replace ozonized (or ionized) oxygen with ozone.

Principle 39. Inert environment/Inert atmosphere

  1. Replace a normal environment with an inert one.
  2. Add neutral parts, or inert additives to an object.

Principle 40. Composite materials

  1. Change from uniform to composite (multiple) materials.


  1. Domb, E., ‘40 Inventive Principles With Examples’, TRIZ Journal, July 1997. See also:
    Business Examples:  The TRIZ Journal, September 1999
    Social Examples:  The TRIZ Journal, June 2001
    Architecture Examples:  The TRIZ Journal, July 2001
    Food Technology Examples:  The TRIZ Journal, October 2001
    Software Development Examples:  The TRIZ Journal, September and November, 2001
  2. Sze, S.M., ‘VLSI Technology’, Bell Laboratories, Inc. New Jersey, 1983.
  3. ‘Semiconductor International’: www.e-insite.net/semiconductor.
  4. ‘Electronic Packaging & Production Professionals’: www.e-insite.net/epp.
  5. ‘Electronic Components News”: www.e-insite.net/ecnmag.
  6. US 6,144,547, 2000. Miniature surface mount capacitor and method of making same.

About the author:

Gennady Retseptor received M(Sc) degree with honors from Moscow Steel and Alloys University, Semiconductor Materials and Devices Faculty in 1972 and has 27 years experience in Microelectronics, including 16 years in USSR (Semiconductors) and 11 years in Israel (Electronic Passive Components). He has two USSR patents and one US patent (reference [6]).

Gennady Retseptor is currently Quality Assurance Manager of AVX Israel Ltd, facility of AVX Corporation.