Midwest nanoelectronics research center to fund silicon alternatives work at universities

Author: Ann Steffora Mutschler

The $61 million collaboration between academia, industry, and US state governments is set to fund research for alternatives to silicon semiconductors at universities in Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels joined IBM, Semiconductor Research Corp (SRC) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Tuesday detailed plans to open a $61 million nanoelectronics research center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind, meant to create new research opportunities leading to development of atomic-scale technologies and drive future breakthroughs in computing technology.

The Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architectures (MANA) will link Notre Dame and Purdue University with the development resources of national laboratories and the trillion-dollar per year technology industry.

And together with industry, the groups will work to develop nanoelectronics, a new class of semiconductor materials and devices that stretches beyond todays most advanced chip technologies.

Industry players such as AMD, Freescale, IBM, Intel, Micron, and Texas Instruments, in partnership with NIST, will sponsor the SRCs Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), which will spearhead research at the Indiana center.

Research at the center is set to begin later this year by a team of university professors, students, and researchers, as well as engineers and other professionals from sponsor companies and organizations.

Dr. Jeff Welser, director of the NRI and an assignee from IBM to SRC commented in a statement,The challenge for nanoelectronics is to ensure that societys expectations for electronic applications can continue to be met. Thanks to efforts like those of the State of Indiana, City of South Bend, and IBM, these universities will work with industry on initial research needed to enable future breakthroughs in nanoelectronics.

Semiconductor technology is the underpinning to everything from the cell phones in our pockets to the supercomputers in our research labs, so nanoelectronics progress is crucial to innovation not only in all areas of science and technology, but to our nations continued economic growth,he added.

MANA is one of four nanoelectronics research centers sponsored by the research initiative with the others located on university campuses in California, Texas, and New York. While each is aimed at furthering the development of the nano-sized transistors, the centers have become the seed for expanded technology investment and economic development for local communities, Welser noted.

The teaming with the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative is part of a NIST-wide effort to explore new models of public-private partnerships to accelerate and promote innovation, NIST said.

The Albany Nanotech Center in New York houses the NRIs Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration, where Advanced Micro Devices has plans to locate a $3.8 billion IC manufacturing center.

MANA will be led by Notre Dame and includes a network of universities in the Midwest with nearly one-third of the research taking place 150 miles southwest of the center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Other universities in the collective research team include University of Illinois, Penn State University, and the University of Michigan.

Notre Dame said it will invest up to $40 million in the new center with the state providing up to $15 million. IBM and the NRI have committed to investing $5 million, and the City of South Bend will invest $1 million in MANA.


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