January 18, 2007

Fishin' For Chips

By: by Westchester County Business Journal


A new valley is being carved out in New York state at a speed equaled by the growth of the industry itself. nanotechnology.

The Tech Valley began to take shape shortly after Gov. George Pataki proposed creating a Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics in his 2001 State of the State address. The endeavor to replicate the success of California's Silicon Valley began in earnest the following year with the conversion of the Harriman State Office campus to the Harriman Research and Technology Development Corp., which was placed under the wing of the Empire State Development Corp. Its 200 acres offered physical buildings, central utilities, labs and land to expand. IBM matched New York's $1 million in seed capital for the startup and was ready to roll.

The 18-county partnership involved in the Tech Valley initiative stretches from the Canadian border to the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The initiative has grown into an array of both U.S. and foreign partners and is one of the largest global centers for nanotechnology in the world with millions of foreign dollars invested into New York's nano market. Albany Nano Tech (www.albanynanotech.org) is made up of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (http://cnse.albany.edu) and five centers: Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, Center for Advanced Technology in Nanomaterials/ Nanoelectrics, Interconnect Focus Center, Nanoscale Metrology/Imaging Center and the Energy/Environmental Technology Applications Center.

The 450,000-square-foot complex, now worth $2 billion, will expand to more than 650,000 square feet and increase in value by 50 percent by the end of 2007. Albany Nano Tech has attracted more than $1 billion in direct private investment. The 100-plus industrial and academic partners include IBM, ASML, Tokyo Electron, International Sematech, SUNY Albany, which is home to Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

ASML recently shipped one of two extreme ultraviolet Alpha Demo Tools to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to conduct research into next-generation lithography technologry. The other went to ASML's research and development lab in the Netherlands, The SUNY school was ranked as the nation's numberone college for nanotechnology and microtechnology by Small Times magazine.

Alain Kaloyeros, president of Albany Nano Tech, predicts the Capital Region will become the world's first "Nanopolis."

"Two of the most influential tool suppliers, Tokyo Electron (Japan) and ASML (Netherlands), have chosen us to open their first R&D labs outside their home countries. We're finding companies are moving to Albany from other parts of the world primarily due to the resources we offer."

Kaloyeros's vision for the college is essentially the same: a world-class academic center on par with the world's greatest research universities.

In July, Albany Nano Tech announced the formation of a multiyear partnership with the University of Albany CSNE and IBM Armonk, Advanced Micro Devices of California, Infineon. Technologies AG of Germany and Micron Technology of Idaho. The $600 million seven-year consortium, called the International Venture for Nanolithography, will work on developing microchips with smaller features and also focus on building a future work force for the technology industry.

In September, IBM, Applied Materials and Albany Nano Tech formed a partnership to conduct research and development in six key areas, including 32 nm (1/3,000 the width of a human hair) computer chip device node, 300 min epitaxial substrates and ultralow-k dielectrics and nanoscale process technologies, The goal is to develop real-time visualization, three-dimensional holography, intuitive software for artificial intelligence, nanobiochips for blood testing, DNA sequencing, drug development and delivery, extremely powerful computing stations and servers and smaller, lighter and more efficient electronic delivery devices. That $300 million initiative will take place over the next five years.

IBM's Hudson Valley Research Park in Dutchess County, where the company produces the 300 mm silicon wafers that power up its z9 mainframes and p Series Unix servers - as well as a gainer's Xbox or Gamecube - is a key component of the Tech Valley initiative. East Fishkill and Poughkeepsie's IBM facility work in tandem, with East Fishkill producing the chips that go into the mainframes produced in Poughkeepsie. The company recently announced a partnership with Sony and Toshiba to "downsize" chip size from 65 nanometers (1 nanometer equals a billionth of a meter) to 32 nanometer and below.

Saratoga County's Luther Forest Technology Campus is expected play a pivotal role in Tech Valley's growth.

"This is a 3-square-mile site, bigger than any town or village in our county," said Jack Kelly of Saratoga's Economic Development Corp. "It is a shovel-ready 'lite' site; 800 acres will be used to build out the semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility We were very fortunate to secure AMD as Luther Forest's first tenant. Once the construction and operation of Luther Forest is complete, it will create nearly 10,000 new, high-salary manufacturing jobs."

Kelly estimates the total cost of Luther Forest at nearly $160 million. "We expect a return of $6 billion to $7 billion on this investment," Kelly said. "Like other areas of the state, we have lost many manufacturing jobs, and we see the technology sector is the future for New York. This (Luther Forest) is the largest manufacturing project going on and the biggest one in more than 30 years."