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NanoFab II 300mm Research Fabs, United States of America

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With the first half of Albany University's ambitious expansion plans (NanoFab I) now in place, the second (NanoFab II) is scheduled for completion in 2003. Installation of tooling will begin in the $200 million NanoFab II then, and the building should have 350 employees by 2006.

The three-story, 22,000m² NanoFab II will provide R&D, prototype manufacturing and workforce training activities. Work will progress on integrating nano-technology into ICs and MEMS, and System-On-Chip integration and fabrication. International Sematech and TEL have separately announced plans to locate research facilities in the fabs.


A major research thrust at Albany is nano-manufacturing (where atoms or molecules assemble themselves into structures), which is expected to become a multi-billion dollar market. It is even now affecting everyday items in electronics, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, transportation, telecoms, construction and aviation. Many initial applications are coming in nano-materials rather than devices, though. Nano-materials will form additives for ceramics, plastics, pigments and glass to improve and 'tailor' material properties. They will make non-brittle and even flexible ceramics, for example, and stronger metals for machine parts.

More research concentrates on MEMS. Many MEMS devices act like valves or pumps, with a huge range of biomedical applications alone for pumping blood, insulin and other hormones. In optical networks, MEMS devices normally act as mirrors, forming optical crossconnects that switch light frequencies between sets of fibers. In some devices, applying a voltage to an actuator can move an array of thousands of micromirrors to direct light to the relevant output port. MEMS devices can also be used as switches in optical networks and as active sources, tunable filters, variable optical attenuators and dispersion compensators.

Albany's current facilities include a 7,500m² 200mm wafer processing complex. The facility already has DUV litho and PVD/CVD deposition tools, furnaces, ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) and wet/dry etch systems, CMP and Mass Spectral and Infrared Diagnostics. The University also researches compound semiconductors using dedicated MBE and MOCVD systems as well as many of the 200mm wafer process tools.


International Sematech is investing $400 million to locate its next-generation, 300mm R&D center at Albany. Located in NanoFab I and II, the new center will be called International Sematech North and will be the only one of its kind in a university.

International Sematech is a 12-member global consortium of major computer chip manufacturers including AMD, Agere Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Infineon Technologies, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Philips, TSMC and Texas Instruments. It will contribute around $190 million (mostly in the form of intellectual property and other non-cash investments) to the project over the next five years, with New York State adding $210 million.

The initial Sematech project will be aimed at R&D in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and will be housed in NanoFab I. EUV will take over from DUV in reducing the light wavelengths to improve etching resolution. Albany will concentrate first on producing EUV masks and then on the light-sensitive coatings (circuits using the technology are expected to reach the market by 2007). When NanoFab II is complete, more than 500 people from the University and other institutions and businesses will be involved with the Sematech research.

The siting of the Sematech project has also played a role in Japanese company TEL's decision to locate a $200 million research project at NanoFab I and II. The company is considering building a manufacturing plant in the region, potentially bringing 900 manufacturing jobs.


Albany University provides research, development, prototyping and technology deployment for techniques like nano-electronics. It also researches micro- and nano-mechanical systems, MEMS, bio-electronics, telecommunications and wireless communications, optical devices and components, metrology, sensor-on-a-chip and MEMS devices.