U.S. signs deal with Google to make chips locally after NIST report – The Hindu

U.S. signs deal with Google to make chips locally | Photo Credit: REUTERS
The U.S.’ technology standards institute on Tuesday signed a deal with Google to help researchers in the country develop new nanotechnology and semiconductor devices. The deal was signed between the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the technology company.
The chipsets will be manufactured by SkyWater Technology, a U.S.-based pure-play silicon foundry. As part of the deal, Google will pay the initial cost of setting up production and will subsidise the first production run. And NIST, with university research partners, will design the circuitry for the chips. The circuit designs will be open sourced to allow academic researchers and startups to use the chips without restriction or licensing fees, the Commerce Department said in a statement.
The deal comes just weeks after NIST released a report on challenges facing the U.S. chip industry. The report outlined challenges in measurement, standardisation, and modelling and simulation.
Metrology, or the scientific study of measurement, is an important aspect of standardisation. And this is required in every stage of semiconductor technology development, from basic and applied R&D in the laboratory to demonstrating proof of concept, prototyping at scale, factory fabrication, assembly and packaging, and performance verification prior to final deployment.
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“Metrology underpins our [the U.S.] ability to address the challenges faced by semiconductor manufacturers. Making investments in metrology capabilities today will future-proof technology needs and support U.S. leadership for the next generation of microelectronics,” the report noted.
The NIST and Google collaboration is aimed at building on measurement capabilities that can be used to develop standards in the future.
SkyWater will produce chips in the form of 200-millimeter discs of patterned silicon, called wafers. Universities and small businesses can dice these into thousands of individual chips at their own processing facilities. [The 200mm wafer is an industry standard format compatible with the manufacturing robots at most semiconductor foundries.]
Giving researchers access to chips in this format will allow them to prototype designs and emerging technologies that, if successful, can be integrated into production more quickly, NIST noted. This is aimed at taking the new technology to market fast.
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Printable version | Sep 14, 2022 12:04:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/us-signs-deal-with-google-to-make-chips-locally-nist-skywater-nanotechnology-semiconductor/article65889033.ece


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