January 17, 2008

Nanotech College Draws New Lab

By: by Larry Rulison, Business Writer, Times Union


ALBANY -- A German company is the latest international technology firm to set up shop at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Berlin-based Atotech specializes in metals and chemicals used by various industries. It employs more than 3,000 people worldwide.

The company will have six employees working at the college's Albany NanoTech complex on Fuller Road. The group will do research and development into metallization for the semiconductor industry.

Metallization is an important piece of semiconductor manufacturing because the way metal parts are made in computer chips and other devices like sensors is key to feature size, performance and corrosion.

The team, led by Robert Preisser, Atotech's vice president of semiconductor technology, will also coordinate its research with Atotech scientists in existing labs in Germany and Japan. They will be looking to develop the next-generation copper-plating technology.

Atotech has committed to spending $5 million for R&D at the NanoCollege over the next several years. Preisser said Wednesday that the company will likely spend double that when personnel, travel and other expenses are included.

Atotech also is planning to hire two NanoCollege graduate students through fellowships. He said that the company could eventually employ between 10 and 12 people here.

Preisser is friends with James Ryan, associate vice president of technology at the college. The two worked together 20 years ago at IBM Corp. in Burlington, Vt.

Preisser said another reason he chose to locate at Albany NanoTech was because the college's industrial partners -- including chip manufacturers and tool makers -- can help facilitate commercialization of Atotech's discoveries.

"It needs to be transferred into the field," he said. "This is an environment that is very important."