May 18, 2011

New Chip Horizon At NanoCollege

By: by Larry Rulison, Business Writer, Times Union


ALBANY -- On the same day that the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering opened its doors to the International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation Monday, the school also announced at $10 million deal with a Los Angeles area company to produce computer chips that would be powered with photons instead of just electrons.

The company, APIC Corp., is going to work with the NanoCollege to produce chips that would use photonic integrated circuits. Current chips use metal wiring that is powered by electrons.

"This is really leading edge," said Richard Brilla, vice president for strategy, alliances and consortia at the school.

By using light instead of electricity to power chips, computing speeds could be increased by 60 percent while reducing power usage by 90 percent, the college said.

Raj Dutt, chief executive officer of APIC, said by telephone Monday that his company designs the chips in Los Angeles but has a fabrication clean room in Honolulu, Hawaii. He said a team is being organized at the NanoCollege. As many as 20 new jobs are expected to be created as part of the partnership, with most being in Albany.

"We are busy hiring right now," Dutt said.

Dutt envisions chips that would use both photons and electrons at the same time. He says he chose to come to the NanoCollege because of its pilot manufacturing capabilities.

The $10 million is going to be spent over the next 18 months, the NanoCollege said, with work also being done at APIC's headquarters in Culver City, Calif., outside Los Angeles.

"This collaboration will enable APIC, a recognized leader in next-generation photonics technologies, to break new ground in the development of innovative photonics integrated circuits," NanoCollege Chief Executive Officer Alain Kaloyeros said in a statement.