6/28/2012 9:38:17 AM
Times Union: Global chips battle grows
ALBANY — Europe will not surrender to Albany when it comes to the global battle for microelectronics supremacy.
Although a recently released European Commission report found Europe lagging behind the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering efforts to develop next generation computer chip manufacturing, the Continent's leading lab is moving ahead with its own efforts.
The race centers on the anticipated switch by the semiconductor industry from 300 millimeter — or 12-inch — silicon wafers for making chips, to using much larger 450mm — or 18-inch — wafers.
It's expected that the computer chip factories of the future will be built near the research centers where 450mm technology is developed — and New York state got a huge jump on the competition last fall when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the Global 450 Consortium at the NanoCollege.
The industry group — also known as the G450C — includes the world's largest computer chip makers, including Intel, IBM, Samsung and GlobalFoundries. The companies have committed to spending $1 billion over five years to build a pilot manufacturing line at the school. The line will be set up in the new NanoFab X building that will open this fall.