July 11, 2014

SEMICON West gives Albany, New York researchers chance to show off new technology

By: Keshia Clukey

Source: The Business Review

This week semiconductor industry leaders and researchers from around the world gathered in San Francisco, California for industry tradeshow SEMICON West 2014--and it was booths from Albany, New York that were the focus of much attention.

"For us to be visible in a place that [has] that visibility, together with the Empire State Development Corp. is very, very significant," said Mike Liehr, executive vice president of innovation and technology and vice president for research at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany.

The State University of New York recently merged with the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica-Rome, and had a booth at the event along with Empire State Development, the state's economic development arm.

The collegiate-state duo unveiled CNSE's new 450 milimeter wafers, the silicon discs on which computer chips are etched. The first of its kind in the world, the new wafer is roughly 18 inches in diameter, about 50 percent larger than the current industry standard, 300 milimeter wafers which are about 12 inches in diameter.

Along with a new etching technology from a partnership with Nikon, the larger wafers can hold 2.25 times as many chips, reduce production costs and the circuits are closer together meaning its faster than ever before.

"Albany is truly the only place world wide where you can find this," Liehr said. "We are truly at the leading edge."

The international microelectronics industry conference, held July 8 through July 10, featured about 500 suppliers to the semiconductor industry, and drew in many top companies.

Building relationships with those top companies could bring more businesses and jobs to New York, said Paul Farrar Jr., general manager of the Global 450 Consortium and CNSE vice president for manufacturing innovation.

The consortium, housed at the nanocollege, is a partnership between includes industry giants Intel Corp., GlobalFoundries,Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., Samsung Electronics and IBM. The consortium is focused on developing the next the next generation computer chip technology using 450 milimeter wafers.

Though he couldn't give specifics, Farrar said the nanocollege's booth had been approached by top companies that are interested in the technology and want to do business in the region.

A group of regional leaders from the Center for Economic Growth also attended the conference to promote upstate New York.

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