New York set to host $10B semiconductor research facility with IBM and Micron

Elsewhere, BAE Systems bags first CHIPS Act funding

Upstate New York is set for a $10 billion semiconductor research facility to work on next-generation chip manufacturing, with IBM and Micron part of the scheme.

Semiconductor investment in the US continues apace with the University at Albany in New York to host a research facility, according to the Wall Street Journal. This will be overseen by NY Creates, which promotes tech projects and investment in the state.

The new facility will be home to the latest chip-making equipment from ASML, the Dutch company which is the sole global supplier of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machines capable of defining silicon features at the smallest scale.

The facility is tipped to be one of the first recipients of machines featuring ASML's high numerical aperture (High-NA) technology, developed to enable multiple future production nodes, starting at the 2nm level.

Companies that will work on next-gen semiconductor projects at the Albany site include IBM and memory maker Micron Technology, plus other suppliers of chip manufacturing equipment such as Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron.

IBM is also working with Japan on advancing its semiconductor industry, helping the government-backed chip company Rapidus to design and produce its own advanced 2nm chips. Rapidus started construction of its 2nm wafer fabrication plant in Hokkaido in September.

According to a report in the Financial Times, various semiconductor makers are racing to be the first to produce 2nm chips. The front runner is said to be TSMC, which already has 3nm silicon in volume production and previously discussed its upcoming next-generation 2nm node, known internally as N2, which is still slated to go into production in 2025.

The FT claimed Samsung is offering cut-price versions of its latest 2nm prototypes to customers in an effort to attract the interest of big names such as Nvidia, and Intel is expected to be producing its own generation of 2nm chips (Intel 20A) sometime next year, although there are said to be doubts about its ability to meet this timescale.

Micron previously committed $100 billion over the next 20 years to build in New York state what it claimed would become the largest semiconductor fabrication plant in the history of the US.

Funding for the New York Albany research project is understood to be coming from New York state itself, although the region was also identified by the US Department of Defense as a Microelectronics Commons regional innovation hub to receive funding as part of the CHIPS and Science Act.

A live webcast from New York governor Kathy Hochul today (December 11) is expected to confirm the details of the new semiconductor research facility.

Elsewhere, the US Department of Commerce disclosed that the first funding granted under the CHIPS and Science Act has gone to BAE Electronic Systems, a business unit of defense company BAE Systems, to support the modernization of its Microelectronics Center in New Hampshire.

The grant of $35 million in federal incentives will go towards replacing aging tools and boosting production of chips for critical defense programs including the F-35 fighter jet, the Department of Commerce said.

According to BAE, the Microelectronics Center is one of the few domestic defense-centric foundries for producing gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitride (GaN) high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) wafers. ®

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