American Semiconductor Innovation Coalition Readies Advanced Semiconductor Research Proposal For US CHIPS And Science Act
The bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, passed by the US congress and signed into law on August 9, will make a once-in-a-generation investment in the US semiconductor industry and the country’s position in semiconductor manufacturing and packaging. The US Department of Defense’s VHSIC (Very High Speed Integrated Circuit) Program, which ran from 1980 to 1990, is the most recent program in memory with similar goals. The VHSIC program gave a huge boost to semiconductor design and manufacturing 40 years ago. The program produced VHDL, the VHSIC Hardware Description Language, which is an essential part of today’s semiconductor design toolkit, as well as helping to drive many advances in materials science, advanced lithography, semiconductor packaging, and IC testing. It was also responsible for helping semiconductor manufacturers to break the 1-micron feature-size barrier and boosting the speed of Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chips, making CMOS the mainstream process technology for the rest of the 20th century and well into this century. If the CHIPS and Science Act produces similar technology advancements, the US will have made a very wise investment.
Following the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, the Department of Commerce released their “CHIPS for America” implementation plan, a $50 billion multi-project program to be housed within the department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This plan has four primary goals:
- Expand domestic production of leading-edge semiconductors in the US
- Build a sufficient and stable supply of semiconductors manufactured with mature semiconductor process nodes
- Invest in the R&D required to ensure that next-generation semiconductor technology is developed and produced in the US
- Create tens of thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs and more than a hundred thousand construction jobs
The CHIPS for America plan includes three initiatives, one of which is to strengthen US leadership in R&D by investing $11 billion in a National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP), as many as three new Manufacturing USA Institutes, and metrology research and development programs at NIST.
The American Semiconductor Innovation Coalition (ASIC), a coalition of more than 150 technology companies, US national laboratories, universities and nonprofit organizations involved with US semiconductor manufacturing, has developed a vision and a plan for implementing the NSTC and NAPMP. That vision and plan leverages existing resources such as the Albany NanoTech Complex, an existing public/private partnership for semiconductor research, development, prototyping, and education, and home to SUNY Poly’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. This site already provides strategic support for semiconductor process development, pilot prototyping, and test-based integration for onsite corporate partners including IBM, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML and Lam Research. These same companies are also listed on the ASIC organization’s membership roster. GlobalFoundries, DuPont, and NVIDIA, recently joined ASIC as well.
The ASIC team submitted a collective response for the Request for Information from the Department of Commerce earlier this year and is awaiting the department’s Request for Proposals. Mukesh Khare, a Vice President at IBM Research who was recently appointed to the Department of Commerce’s Industrial Advisory Committee, said that NSTC and NAPMP could be stood up through ASIC and its vision in just six months, thanks to the resources and organizational structures already in place such as the Albany NanoTech Complex .
TIRIAS Research believes that using an established facility like the Albany NanoTech Complex as the seed crystal for NSTC and NAPMP makes quite a bit of economic sense and should be considered. Further, IBM’s involvement also makes quite a bit of sense as the company’s research arm has pushed the boundaries of semiconductor technology for decades. Altogether, there’s quite a bit of relevant institutional memory with a large dollop of expertise to commend ASIC’s vision.
For more information on the Albany NanoTech Complex, see “IBM Research Albany Nanotech Center Is A Model To Emulate For CHIPS Act.”