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Home > Tech Reiews > Tech Bulletin Last Updated: 15:25 03/09/2007
Tech Bulletin #9: November 20, 2002

GETI/GLOCOM Platform Joint Seminar

Albany Nanotech

Summary by GETI Staff

Date: November 14, 2002
Place: GLOCOM; 6-15-12 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Speaker: Dr. Bai Xu (Albany NanoTech, University at Albany - SUNY)
Topic: Albany Nanotech: Accelerating Nanotechnology Commercialization on a Global Scale

Dr. Xu recently gave a lecture on the exciting developments taking place at Albany Nanotech. Dr. Xu also appeared at the most recent PowerMEMS 2002 conference hosted by GETI in Tokyo ("MEMS-Based Fluidic Management Systems for Micro Fuel Cells").

Albany Nanotech, located at the University of Albany in upstate New York, consists of a large tract of land that currently houses a 200mm wafer pilot/prototype facility and will soon include two "Nanofab" facilities consisting of one 300mm wafer nanoelectronics pilot/prototype facility and a 300mm wafer acceleration/incubation facility. Albany Nanotech is located close to a Bio-Technology Park and the Harriman Campus Research and Development Park at UAlbany. Albany Nanotech is the leading job creator in New York state and is, by far, the largest recipient of funding out of all of the 16 state-supported/affiliated research institutes.

Dr. Xu began his talk with an overview of the key factors driving industry in the 21st century. These include distributed yet integrated computer networks that are robust, reliable and efficient. In the future, many of the systems developed will need to be lighter and smaller and the manufacturing/fabrication process will need to be made more efficient and cost effective. In order to take advantage of the aforementioned trends, Albany Nanotech plans on concentrating on several key areas, one being nanotechnology and nanoelectronics development. Dr. Xu explained that New York state is quickly building the infrastructure needed to be competitive in the field of nanotechnology. There are nearly 800 companies in the state with a total payroll that exceeds $3b that are taking part in the growth of nanotechnology development. These include manufacturers, vendors and suppliers. Like every key emerging technology, a number of established commercial sectors directly contribute to the growth of nanotechnology, and are, in turn, impacted by breakthroughs in research and development. Materials, manufacturing equipment, and electronic systems (end equipment) will be directly impacted, not to mention nanoelectronics, photonics and nanosystems. Applications for breakthroughs in nanotechnology will have a great impact on a number of industrial sectors. They include biotechnology, telecoms/wireless, advanced sensors, lighting and energy (such as fuel cell development). Nanotechnology is, at present, an enabling technology that supports existing sectors with large, developed markets. In the future, it will give birth to a number of entirely new industries. The sector is expected to continue to create high wage jobs, and currently it is estimated that related job growth has contributed to 75,000 high wage positions and an average annual wage of over $63,000, far higher than the national average.

Dr. Xu mentioned that the key driver for growth in nanotechnology is the development of new materials and new fabrication processes. Research is being conducted on a variety of new and existing materials used in new ways. These materials include copper (for interconnects), silicon-on-insulator (SOI), Low-K (SiLC), and silicon germanium (SiGe). Research into new architectures and circuits include a great amount of focus on system-on-chip (SOC) technology. Self-assembled molecular wires and devices will allow the continued miniaturization of circuitry that will be housed in increasingly smaller packaging.

In order to reach is research related goals, Albany Nanotech has developed an innovative methodology in order to bring together industry, university and government to further the advance of emerging technology development. Key to this is university-government collaboration that is then supplemented by direct and active industry participation in research projects, including key financial and in-kind support of such projects. A partnership with industry supports short, medium and long-term technology objectives which replaces the traditional model of technology transfer to industry. The traditional model has been deemed too costly and with too long of a time lag before success can be measured. In this model, university based technology resources are used to follow government directed priorities but are highly influenced by industry driven consortia that are formed for specific projects and, as a result, are also strongly commercial-driven. Illustrating the alliance between New York and IBM in jointly funding the Albany Nanotech Center of Excellence in Electronics, part of Albany Nanotech, with $150m seed funding provides an example of such type of cooperation. The alliance was one product of a $1b state initiative to fund high technology development announced in 2001, $50m going to this center. The center will be a vital resource for education, economic development and basic research in nanotechnology and related fields. The growth of high-tech companies and the acceleration of technology commercialization will lead to substantive economic development in the Hudson Valley and throughout the state.

Another example of cooperation was announced several months ago when the world's largest computer chip makers announced a plan to build a major center for research and development for next generation semiconductor chips at UAlbany. The members of the consortium include seven U.S. firms: I.B.M., Intel, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, Advanced Micro Devices and Agere Systems, until recently a part of Lucent Technologies. There are also five overseas companies: Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands, Infineon Technologies of Germany; STMicroelectronics of France; Hynix of Korea; and TSMC of Taiwan. The $400 million project was announced after long negotiations with the state. The dire budget situation faced by the state, especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, did not deter politicians from either side of the political fence from strongly supporting the project and carrying out its $1b technology development investment plan. The only other such center created by the computer chip consortium, International SEMATECH is in Austin, Texas. The group decided to select Albany for its second facility, "International SEMATECH North." The benefits Austin received from hosting the center were substantial. Over the following next decade after the establishment of the center, Austin became a key high tech hub in the United States. It experienced explosive economic growth, drawing makers of chips, related materials, manufacturing tools and software to the region. It also gave birth to a number of venture companies that greatly benefited from being geographically located close to the center. New York Governor George Pataki even compared the landing of International SEMATECH North to "the most important economic development for upstate New York since the Erie Canal." The facility will be established in the Hudson Valley, which by far the healthiest economy in New York State. State officials expect the center could create a multitude of jobs.

Albany Nanotech plans on becoming a "$2b One Stop Shop" for not only technology development, but also for the financing and the commercialization of technology development. Albany Nanotech also places a strong emphasis on becoming a global player in nanotechnology development and will be making several announcements in the near future related to its support of developing a global alliance that supports the development of a global technology transfer infrastructure in the nanotechnology area.

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