Semiconductor Research Corporation and Nanoelectronics Research Initiative Launch Nanoelectronics Research Center

Governor Mitch Daniels joined executives from IBM, Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today to announce plans to open a $61 million nanoelectronics research center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The collaboration is designed to create new research opportunities that will lead to development of atomic-scale technologies and drive future breakthroughs in computing.

Officially billed as the Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architectures (MANA), the center will link Notre Dame and Purdue University with the development resources of national laboratories and the trillion-dollar per year technology industry. Together, the team of academia and business will work to develop and exploit a new class of semiconductor materials and devices -- nanoelectronics -- that stretches beyond today’s state-of-art chip technologies.

“For Indiana, this means national leadership in a central technology of the future, and we’d be excited to welcome it anywhere in our state. But it’s a special thrill to see it come to Notre Dame, which now enters new dimensions of research prominence and contributions to its home state through the partnership with Purdue,” said Daniels.

Technology giants such as AMD, Freescale, IBM, Intel, Micron and Texas Instruments, in partnership with NIST, sponsor the SRC’s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), which will spearhead research at the Indiana center. A team of university professors, students and researchers, as well as engineers and other professionals from sponsor companies and organizations, will begin research at the center later this year.

“The challenge for nanoelectronics is to ensure that society’s expectations for electronic applications can continue to be met,” said Dr. Jeff Welser, director of the NRI and an assignee from IBM to SRC. “Thanks to efforts like those of the State of Indiana, City of South Bend and IBM, these universities will work with industry on initial research needed to enable future breakthroughs in nanoelectronics. Semiconductor technology is the underpinning to everything from the cell phones in our pockets to the supercomputers in our research labs, so nanoelectronics progress is crucial to innovation not only in all areas of science and technology, but to our nation’s continued economic growth.”

The Indiana center is one of four nanoelectronics research centers sponsored by the research initiative with the others located on university campuses in California, Texas and New York. While each is aimed at furthering the development of the nano-sized transistors, the centers have become the seed for expanded technology investment and economic development for local communities, Welser said.

"Our teaming with the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative is part of a NIST-wide effort to explore new models of public-private partnerships to accelerate and promote innovation," said NIST Acting Deputy Director Richard Kayser. "We look forward to the challenging work ahead to take nanoelectronics and the U.S. economy to new levels of accomplishment, competitiveness and growth. As part of the partnership with the NRI, NIST looks forward to interacting directly with the work at MANA."

Following the construction of the Albany Nanotech Center in Albany, N.Y., which houses the NRI’s Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration, global technology company AMD announced plans to locate a $3.8 billion integrated circuit manufacturing center near the site. The investment was one of several the center scored, as suppliers and partners flocked to the area bringing more than 1,000 new jobs and millions of dollars in investment to the area.

“The Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architecture is a giant stride in the development of the technology of small things,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame's president. “It promises to move us past the limits currently imposed by the laws of physics and enable the building of advanced devices, circuits and systems that will be faster, more powerful and more compact than those that currently power our cell phones, computers and other electronic devices.”

The center will be led by Notre Dame and include a network of universities in the Midwest with nearly one third of the research taking place 150 miles southwest of the center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Other universities in the collective research team include University of Illinois, Penn State University and the University of Michigan.

“Purdue is an outstanding partner for this new NRI Research Center. Purdue has long been a leader in the theory and application of nanoelectronics,” said Victor Lechtenberg, Interim provost of Purdue University. “The opportunity to form a partnership with Notre Dame in the Midwest Academy for Nanoelectronics and Architectures will be synergistic and enhance the capabilities of both institutions. This partnership will help solidify the Midwest as a key player in nanoelectronics nationwide.”

Notre Dame will invest up to $40 million in the new center and the state will provide up to $15 million. IBM and the NRI have committed to investing $5 million, and the City of South Bend will invest $1 million in the operation.

“The City of South Bend also is committing additional millions of dollars over several years to complete preparation of the Studebaker corridor into a future hub of nanoelectronics commercialization and manufacturing in support of new jobs and investment associated with the Midwest Academy of Nanoelectronics and Architectures,” said South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke. “Where Studebaker once made wagons and Oliver made chilled plows, we’re expecting thousands of jobs with dozens of nanotechnology companies creating technological wonders that have yet to be imagined.”

The announcement of the new center comes less than a week after IBM announced the completion of its investment in one of the world’s fastest supercomputers located on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. The upgrades to the supercomputer, which is co-managed by Purdue and Indiana universities, is part of the commitment by IBM and its partners to bring more than 1,000 new jobs and new investment to Indiana following their selection to modernize the computer services of the state’s Family and Social Services Administration.

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