Friday, May 24

New York plans to invest $1 billion to expand chip research

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York is expected to announce a plan Monday to invest $1 billion to expand chip research operations in Albany, New York, as the state aims to continue as a global semiconductor hub.

The plan is expected to create 700 new permanent jobs and retain thousands more, and involves purchasing a new version of one of the world’s most expensive and sophisticated manufacturing machinery, as well as building a new building to house it.

The initiative is expected to attract $9 billion in additional investment from chip-related companies, according to state officials. They expect it will boost New York’s chances of being selected to host a new National Semiconductor Technology Center, a planned centerpiece of the research portion of the federal money Congress appropriated in 2022 as part of the CHIPS Act.

“We hope that this level of investment will attract additional investment from the U.S. CHIPS Act to make it even bigger,” said Mukesh Khare, IBM’s vice president and general manager of its semiconductor business.

In addition to IBM, which has long conducted chip research in Albany, companies participating in the project include Micron Technology, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron.

The centerpiece of the initiative is the Albany Nanotech Complex, a group of research buildings affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany. The state plans to spend about $500 million to build a new 50,000-square-foot cleanroom building.

A different building is needed to house the next big advance in a technology called lithography, which projects circuit patterns onto silicon wafers to make chips. Advances in such equipment are needed to create smaller transistors and other circuits that can increase the power of computers and other devices.

The most sophisticated chips are currently made using technology called extreme ultraviolet lithography, or EUV. Dutch company ASML is the dominant supplier of the machines, which authorities in the United States and the Netherlands have blocked from being sold to China as part of an effort to limit that country’s progress in chipmaking.

Albany Nanotech has prototype EUV instruments and currently operates a commercial version. Under the new plan, New York will invest $500 million to purchase a next-generation EUV system – known by the phrase “High NA,” for numerical aperture – that will allow the center to develop much more advanced chips.

In addition to the permanent research jobs, state officials estimated the Albany project would generate 500 to 600 temporary construction jobs over about two years.

Albany NanoTech won’t be the first to use the High NA tool. Intel has ordered the first system from ASML, which is expected to begin installation in early 2024. The comparable machine is expected to arrive in Albany in late 2025, Khare said.

The effort is unusual in several ways, including that the new machine will be state-owned and operated as a public resource to help the U.S. semiconductor industry overall, he added.

Northeastern US states look set to play a major role in the evolution of the chip industry. U.S. Commerce Department officials also said Monday that BAE Systems in New Hampshire will receive the first subsidy under the manufacturing portion of the CHIPS Act.

Boise, Idaho-based Micron, the only American maker of chips used to store data, also said it will spend up to $100 billion over a decade or more to develop a new manufacturing site near Syracuse, New York .