IBM Unveils World’s First 2 Nanometer Chip Technology, Opening a New Frontier for Semiconductors

New chip milestone to propel major leaps forward in performance and energy efficiency

ALBANY, N.Y., May 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process with the development of the world’s first chip announced with 2 nanometer (nm) nanosheet technology. Semiconductors play critical roles in everything from computing, to appliances, to communication devices, transportation systems, and critical infrastructure.

“The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2 nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry.”

Demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency continues to rise, especially in the era of hybrid cloud, AI, and the Internet of Things. IBM’s new 2 nm chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing this growing demand. It is projected to achieve 45 percent higher performance, or 75 percent lower energy use, than today’s most advanced 7 nm node chipsi.

The potential benefits of these advanced 2 nm chips could include:

  • Quadrupling cell phone battery life, only requiring users to charge their devices every four daysii.
  • Slashing the carbon footprint of data centers, which account for one percent of global energy useiii. Changing all of their servers to 2 nm-based processors could potentially reduce that number significantly.
  • Drastically speeding up a laptop’s functions, ranging from quicker processing in applications, to assisting in language translation more easily, to faster internet access.
  • Contributing to faster object detection and reaction time in autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars.

“The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2 nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry,” said Darío Gil, SVP and Director of IBM Research. “It is the product of IBM’s approach of taking on hard tech challenges and a demonstration of how breakthroughs can result from sustained investments and a collaborative R&D ecosystem approach.”

IBM at the forefront of semiconductor innovation
This latest breakthrough builds on decades of IBM leadership in semiconductor innovation. The company’s semiconductor development efforts are based at its research lab located at the Albany Nanotech Complex in Albany, NY, where IBM scientists work in close collaboration with public and private sector partners to push the boundaries of logic scaling and semiconductor capabilities.

This collaborative approach to innovation makes IBM Research Albany a world-leading ecosystem for semiconductor research and creates a strong innovation pipeline, helping to address manufacturing demands and accelerate the growth of the global chip industry.

IBM’s legacy of semiconductor breakthroughs also includes the first implementation of 7 nm and 5 nm process technologies, single cell DRAM, the Dennard Scaling Laws, chemically amplified photoresists, copper interconnect wiring, Silicon on Insulator technology, multi core microprocessors, High-k gate dielectrics, embedded DRAM, and 3D chip stacking. IBM’s first commercialized offering including IBM Research 7 nm advancements will debut later this year in IBM POWER10-based IBM Power Systems.

50 billion transistors on a fingernail-sized chip  
Increasing the number of transistors per chip can make them smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient. The 2 nm design demonstrates the advanced scaling of semiconductors using IBM’s nanosheet technology. Its architecture is an industry first. Developed less than four years after IBM announced its milestone 5 nm design, this latest breakthrough will allow the 2 nm chip to fit up to 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail.

More transistors on a chip also means processor designers have more options to infuse core-level innovations to improve capabilities for leading edge workloads like AI and cloud computing, as well as new pathways for hardware-enforced security and encryption. IBM is already implementing other innovative core-level enhancements in the latest generations of IBM hardware, like IBM POWER10 and IBM z15.

About IBM
IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit

Media Contacts
Bethany Hill McCarthy,
IBM Research

Sam Ponedal,
IBM Cognitive Systems

i Based on the projected industry standard scaling roadmap
ii Based on current usage statistics for 7 nm-based cell phones

SOURCE IBM,-Opening-a-New-Frontier-for-Semiconductors


Seeqc’s Oleg Mukhanov, Ph.D., and NY CREATES Collaborate on AFRL STTR Phase II Program on Scaling Fluxonium Qubits


Elmsford, NY – Seeqc, the Digital Quantum Computing company, today announced the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Rome, NY, has formally granted the firm a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II award with a start date of May 1, 2021. The $1.5 million award enables Seeqc and its partner, NY CREATES, to build on the success of their Phase I collaboration and continue to jointly develop fluxonium qubit technology.

”NY CREATES and Seeqc are looking forward to enable tantalum-based fluxonium qubit fabrication at 300mm wafer scale,” said Oleg Mukhanov, Ph.D., co-founder and CTO of Seeqc. “The AFRL award and ensuing project will serve as a proof-of-concept for our eventual goal of producing fluxonium qubits cost-efficiently and at scale. By nature, these qubits can benefit all quantum applications with improved controllability and fidelity.”

“This leading-edge partnership with Seeqc and AFRL is one of the many ways in which NY CREATES is working to accelerate the burgeoning quantum ecosystem in New York,” said Douglas Grose, Ph.D., President of NY CREATES. “NY CREATES is uniquely capable of supporting the open, collaborative R&D and economic development model that will establish New York as the preeminent site for companies working on Quantum 2.0 for years to come.”

Creating a path to scalable quantum computing

The Air Force awarded Seeqc’s proposal, “Highly Manufacturable Fluxonium Qubits at 300 mm Wafer Scale,” which outlines the necessary and repeatable industrial processes

needed to manufacture fluxonium qubits. Fluxonium qubits are superconducting qubits that utilize Josephson junctions, have longer quantum coherence and are advantageous for building high fidelity circuits with large numbers of qubits.

During the first phase of the project, which concluded successfully in November 2020, Seeqc and NY CREATES established the feasibility of designing, fabricating and characterizing superconducting quantum devices at 300 mm scale. In Phase II, the teams will use multiple cycles of learning on both the circuit design and fabrication fronts, and leverage the millikelvin characterization capabilities at Seeqc’s headquarters to produce and characterize the fluxonium qubits using highly-manufacturable processes at 300 mm wafer scale. The team-work that characterized the partnership in Phase I will continue during the 18-month Phase II to demonstrate the world’s first fluxonium qubits that leverage novel materials and process technologies at 300 mm scale. The fluxonium qubits will be integrated with superconducting classical chips designed and fabricated by Seeqc into multi-chip modules providing scalable qubit control and readout infrastructure. This should open a path for a near-term development of quantum processors with superior performance.

The NY CREATES’ team, led by Satyavolu ‘Pops’ Papa Rao is working on multiple areas relating to quantum technologies. In partnership with the University of Maryland, they were the first to demonstrate transmon qubits that utilized 193 nm optical lithography for patterning. In addition to working with AFRL on multiple funded projects, the team is a member of the Brookhaven-led Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage, which was established in 2020 under the National Quantum Initiative Act. NY CREATES is also actively engaged with commercial entities working to accelerate photonic quantum computing. Researchers interested in joining the NY CREATES research team working on quantum technologies can apply through the NY CREATES website.


Advancing Digital Quantum Computing and National Security Initiatives

The Air Force’s $35 million quantum collider program is designed to accelerate quantum enabling technologies that will eventually play a pivotal role in national defense. This vital research will support Seeqc’s goal of developing a new approach to making quantum computing useful, via fully Digital Quantum Computing.

Seeqc’s solution combines classical and quantum computing to form an all-digital architecture through a system-on-a-chip design that utilizes 10-40 GHz superconductive classical Single Flux Quantum (SFQ) co-processing to address the efficiency, stability and cost issues endemic to quantum computing systems.


About Seeqc

Seeqc is developing the first digital quantum computing platform for global businesses. Seeqc combines classical and quantum technologies to address the efficiency, stability and cost issues endemic to quantum computing systems. The company applies classical and quantum technology through digital readout and control technology and through a unique chip-scale architecture. Seeqc’s quantum system provides the energy- and cost-efficiency, speed and digital control required to make quantum computing useful and bring the first commercially-scalable, problem-specific quantum computing applications to market.

The company is one of the first companies to have built a superconductor multi-layer commercial chip foundry and through this experience has the infrastructure in place for design, testing and manufacturing of quantum-ready superconductors. Seeqc is a spin-out of Hypres, the world’s leading developer of superconductor electronics. Seeqc’s team of executives and scientists have deep expertise and experience in commercial superconductive computing solutions and quantum computing. Seeqc is based in Elmsford, NY.


NY CREATES serves as New York’s bridge to the global advanced technology industry. As the primary resource for fostering public-private and academic partnerships in the state, NY CREATES attracts and leads industry connected innovation and commercialization projects that secure significant investment, advance R&D in emerging technologies, and generate the jobs of tomorrow. NY CREATES runs some of the most advanced facilities in the world, boasts more than 2,700 industry experts and faculty, and manages public and private investments of more than $20 billion – placing it at the global epicenter of high-tech innovation and commercialization.

For additional information, please visit


For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
NY CREATES: Jason Conwall |
Seeqc: Eric Becker |

Chip shortage highlights U.S. dependence on fragile supply chain

Seventy-five percent of semiconductors, or microchips — the tiny operating brains in just about every modern device — are manufactured in Asia. Lesley Stahl talks with leading-edge chip manufacturers, TSMC and Intel, about the global chip shortage and the future of the industry.

2021, May 02


Car companies across the globe have had to idle production and workers because of a shortage of semiconductors, often referred to as microchips or just chips. They’re the tiny operating brains inside just about any modern device, like smartphones, hospital ventilators or fighter jets. The pandemic has sent chip demand soaring unexpectedly, as we bought computers and electronics to work, study, and play from home. But while more and more chips are needed in the U.S., fewer and fewer are manufactured here.  

Intel is the biggest American chipmaker. Its most advanced fabrication plant, or fab for short, is located outside Phoenix, Arizona. New CEO, Pat Gelsinger, invited us on a tour to see how incredibly complex the manufacturing process is.  

First, we had to suit up to avoid contaminating the fab: head-cover – on; bunny suit – zipped; goggles; gloves… ready to go.

Lesley Stahl: I’m pristine! 

Pat Gelsinger: Everything in this environment is controlled. 

Together we stepped into a place with some of the most sophisticated new technology on Earth. 

Lesley Stahl: I need to ask you why we’re all yellow?  

Yellow filters remove light-rays that are harmful to the process. Overhead a computerized highway transports materials from one machine to the next. The process involves thousands of steps, where layer upon layer of microscopic circuitry is etched onto these silicon plates – that are then chopped up into chips that will end up in, say, your computer. Making just one can take six months.

Pat Gelsinger: You see, each one of these is a chip.

Lesley Stahl: Is a chip. I’m surprised. I thought chips were minute.

Pat Gelsinger: Well, each one of these chips has maybe a billion transistors on it.

Lesley Stahl: Oh, my goodness!

Pat Gelsinger: So there’s billion little circuits inside of it that are all on one of these chips. And then one wafer could have 100 or 1,000 chips on it.

Intel’s goal is to keep shrinking the transistors’ size, so you can pile more of them on a chip to make it more powerful and work faster.

Pat Gelsinger: Every one of these is laying down circuits that are so much smaller than anything, your hair, you know, any other part of human existence. You know, a COVID particle is way bigger than one of the lines that we’re creating here.

Lesley Stahl: How much does this fab cost?

Pat Gelsinger: $10 billion dollars.

Lesley Stahl: Billion??

Pat Gelsinger: $10 billion ’cause each one of these pieces of equipment is maybe $5 million. That’s a lot of millions of dollars.

Chips differ in size and sophistication depending on their end-use. Intel doesn’t presently make many chips for the auto-sector but because of the shortage it’s planning to reconfigure some of its fabs to start churning them out.

Lesley Stahl: I’m wondering, if we’re going to continue to have shortages, not just in cars, but in our phones and for our computers, for everything?

Pat Gelsinger: I think we have a couple of years until we catch up to this surging demand across every aspect of the business.  

COVID showed that the global supply chain of chips is fragile and unable to react quickly to changes in demand. One reason: fabs are wildly expensive to build, furbish, and maintain.

Lesley Stahl: it used to be that there were 25 companies in the world that made the high-end, cutting-edge chips. And now there are only three. And in the United States? – You.


Lesley Stahl: One. One.

Today, 75% of semiconductor manufacturing is in Asia. 

Pat Gelsinger: 25 years ago, the United States produced 37% of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. Today, that number has declined to just 12%.

Lesley Stahl: Doesn’t sound good.

Pat Gelsinger: It doesn’t sound good. And anybody who looks at supply chain says, “That’s a problem.” 

A problem because relying on one region, especially one as unpredictable as Asia, is highly risky. Intel has been lobbying the U.S. government to help revive chip manufacturing at home – with incentives, subsidies, and-or tax breaks, the way the governments of Taiwan, Singapore, and Israel have done. The White House is responding, proposing $50 billion for the semiconductor industry in the U.S. as part of President Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Lesley Stahl: Your business is extremely lucrative. In terms of revenue, you made $78 billion last year. Why should the government come in to a company, a business that’s doing so well overall?

Pat Gelsinger: This is a big, critical industry and we want more of it on American soil: the jobs that we want in America, the control of our long term technology future, and as we’ve also said, the disruptions in the supply chain.

Lesley Stahl: You have spent much more in stock buybacks than you have in research and development. A lot more.

Pat Gelsinger: We will not be anywhere near as focused on buybacks going forward as we have in the past. And that’s been reviewed as part of my coming into the company, agreed upon with the board of directors.

Lesley Stahl: Why shouldn’t private industry fund this instead of the government? The industries that rely on these chips – Apple, Microsoft, the companies that are rolling in money?

Pat Gelsinger: Well, they’re pretty happy to buy from some of the Asian suppliers. 

Actually, they don’t always have a choice. For chips with the tiniest transistors – there is no “made in the U.S.” option. Intel currently doesn’t have the know-how to manufacture the most advanced chips that Apple and the others need. 

Lesley Stahl: The decline in this industry. It’s kinda devastating, isn’t it?

Pat Gelsinger: The fact that this industry was created by American innovation– 

Lesley Stahl: The whole Silicon Valley idea started with Intel.

Pat Gelsinger: Yeah… The company stumbled. You know, it’s still a big company – we had some product stumbles, some manufacturing and process stumbles. 

Perhaps the biggest stumble was in the early-2000s, when Steve Jobs of Apple needed chips for a new idea: the iPhone. Intel wasn’t interested. And Apple went to Asia, eventually finding TSMC: the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – today, the world’s most advanced chip-manufacturer, producing chips that are 30% faster and more powerful than Intel’s. 

Lesley Stahl: They’re ahead of you on the manufacturing side. 

Pat Gelsinger: Yeah. 

Lesley Stahl: Considerably ahead of you. 

Pat Gelsinger: We believe it’s gonna take us a couple of years and we will be caught up. 

Gelsinger is making big bets: breaking ground on two new giant fabs in Arizona, costing $20 billion; Intel’s largest investment ever. And he’ll announce this week a three and a half billion dollar upgrade of this fab in New Mexico. 

But TSMC is a manufacturing juggernaut worth over a half a trillion dollars. Collaborating with clients to produce their chip designs, it’s been sought out by Apple, Amazon, contractors for the U.S. military, and even Intel, which uses TSMC to produce their cutting-edge designs they’re not advanced enough to make themselves.

Lesley Stahl: How and why did Intel fall behind?

Mark Liu: It is surprising for us too.  

We spoke remotely with TSMC chairman Mark Liu at the company headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan. His company is a leading supplier of the chips that go into American cars. In March, 2020, as COVID paralyzed the U.S. – car sales tumbled, leading automakers to cancel their chip orders so TSMC stopped making them. That’s why when car sales unexpectedly bounced back late last year there was a shortage of chips: leaving cars with no power parked in carmakers’ lots – costing them billions.

Mark Liu: We heard about this shortage in December timeframe. And in January, we tried to squeeze as more chip as possible to the car company. Today, we think we are two months ahead, that we can catch up the minimum requirement of our customers. Before the end of June.

Lesley Stahl: Are you saying that the shortage in chips for cars will end in two months?

Mark Liu: No. There’s a time lag. In car chips particularly, the supply chain is long and complex. The supply takes about seven to eight months.

Lesley Stahl: Should Americans be concerned that most chips are being manufactured in Asia today?

Mark Liu: I understand their concern, first of all. But this is not about Asia or not Asia I mean, the shortage will happen no matter where the production is located because it’s due to the COVID.

Lesley Stahl: But Pat Gelsinger at Intel talks about a need to rebalance the supply chain issue because so much, so many of the chips in the world now are made in Asia.

Mark Liu: I think U.S. ought to pursue to run faster, to invest in R&D, to produce more Ph.D., master, bachelor students to get into this manufacturing field instead of trying to move the supply chain, which is very costly and really non productive. That will slow down the innovation because– people trying to hold on their technology to their own and forsake the global collaboration.

Within the world of global collaboration there’s intense competition. Days after Intel announced spending $20 billion on two new fabs, TSMC announced it would spend $100 billion over three years on R&D, upgrades, and a new fab in Phoenix, Arizona, Intel’s backyard, where the Taiwanese company will produce the chips Apple needs but the Americans can’t make. 

Mark Liu: That was a big investment. 

But there’s a looming shadow over TSMC, which supplies chips for our cars, iPhones, and the supercomputer managing our nuclear stockpile: China’s President Xi Jinping, who has intensified his long-time threat to seize Taiwan.  

China’s attempts to develop its own advanced chip industry have failed and so it’s been forced to import chips. But last year, Washington imposed restrictions on chipmakers from exporting certain semiconductors to china. Both Liu and Gelsinger fear the escalating trade war with China may backfire, and in Intel’s case: could hurt business. 

Lesley Stahl: Are they your biggest customer?

Pat Gelsinger: China is one of our largest markets today. You know, over 25% of our revenue is to Chinese customers. We expect that this will remain an area of tension, and one that needs to be navigated carefully. Because if there’s any points that people can’t keep running their countries or running their businesses because of supply of one critical component like semiconductors, boy, that leads them to take very extreme postures on things because they have to.

The most extreme would be China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC. That could force the U.S. to defend Taiwan as we did Kuwait from the Iraqis 30 years ago. Then it was oil. Now it’s chips.  

Lesley Stahl: The chip industry in Taiwan has been called the Silicon Shield.

Mark Liu: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: What does that mean? 

Mark Liu: That means the world all needs Taiwan’s high-tech industry support. So they will not let the war happen in this region because it goes against interest of every country in the world.

Lesley Stahl: Do you think that in any way your industry is keeping Taiwan safe?

Mark Liu: I cannot comment on the safety. I mean, this is a changing world. Nobody want these things to happen. And I hope– I hope not too– either.

Produced by Shachar Bar-On. Associate producer, Natalie Jimenez Peel. Broadcast associate, Wren Woodson. Edited by Warren Lustig.


Lesley Stahl

One of America’s most recognized and experienced broadcast journalists, Lesley Stahl has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since 1991.

NPI Holds Virtual Hill Visits

News from the NPI

National Photonics Initiative News | April 2021

A diverse group of representatives from industry, academia, and scientific societies participated in this year’s quantum-focused Washington Hill meetings in early March. Over 58 virtual meetings were conducted over a period of four days. Stakeholders from IBM, Honeywell, Google, Microsoft, L3, University of Maryland, University of Oregon, Duke, University of Colorado, Harvard, SUNY Poly, University of Rochester, Toptica, IONQ, NYCREATES, SPIE, and The Optical Society (OSA) joined. In addition to advocating for investments in quantum, participants also discussed the Endless Frontier Act and encouraged members to join the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Optics & Photonics Caucus that was launched in late February.

Congressional Optics & Photonics Caucus Launches

The bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Optics & Photonics (O&P) Caucus was successfully launched in February. The Caucus is co-chaired by Representatives Joe Morelle (D-NY) and Brian Mast (R-FL) and Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Steve Daines (R-MT). It will focus on educating members of Congress about the tremendous potential of optics and photonics and find areas where the federal government can use them efficiently and effectively. The Caucus will also highlight areas of optics and photonics innovation across the country. It’s not too late to encourage your member of Congress or Senator to join the O&P Caucus!

If you missed the Caucus launch, you can watch the launch event HERE


Capital Region vying for billions in federal chip funding

Larry Rulison March 22, 2021  Updated: March 22, 2021 6:45 p.m.

ALBANY — Fab 8.2 may be only just the beginning.

A push by President Joe Biden to get Congress to approve a $37 billion federal  subsidy program aimed at bolstering the domestic computer chip manufacturing sector against Asian competition could help GlobalFoundries pay to build a second chip factory at the company’s Fab 8 campus in Malta.

But it could also help the state’s Albany Nanotech complex on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus land a new federal computer chip research lab called the National Semiconductor Technology Center that would be the envy of the nation.

The end result could mean billions of dollars in federal, state and corporate semiconductor industry investment pouring into the Capital Region and other parts of upstate over the next decade.

“It’s a perfect fit,” said Doug Grose, president of NY CREATES, the non-profit entity that oversees the state-supported chip industry research operations at SUNY Poly and affiliated sites across upstate.

Grose told the Times Union that the NY CREATES advisory board, whose members come from a variety of industry and academic backgrounds, will meet next Monday, March 29, to discuss the best way to try and land the National Semiconductor Technology Center.

“We could start at time zero,” Grose said, noting that Albany Nanotech is already considered the most advanced computer chip research center in the country with available chip production lines that could be expanded as needed.

“It would be phased in over time,” Grose said.

Biden’s $37 billion computer chip manufacturing initiative was actually started under the Trump administration in response to China’s growing influence in the computer chip industry at the expense of the United States. The idea of China controlling key aspects of the semiconductor industry’s supply chain and manufacturing output has worried the Defense Department for years as the U.S. chip industry has consolidated and outsourced more and more of its production overseas.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted the global supply chain for chips, triggering a ripple effect on the auto industry and others, has only made the issue more pressing.

GlobalFoundries, which employs 3,000 people at its Fab 8 chip factory in Malta, would be a likely beneficiary of the $37 billion fund that Biden is pitching Congress.

GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield recently told Reuters that GlobalFoundries would seriously consider building a second chip factory in Malta if Congress approves the program, which was originally spelled out — but not financed — in the Defense Department budget bill passed by Congress just before Trump left office in January.

The program was originally proposed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., now the Senate Majority Leader, under a bill called the CHIPS Act. That measure was eventually rolled into the Defense Department spending bill, although technically Congress must still approve the spending, which would provide subsidies to companies like GlobalFoundries to build new U.S. production facilities and launch the federal chip research lab.

Second chip fab in Malta only a matter of ‘when,’ Caulfield says

“It’s not a question of  if,” Caulfield told Reuters for a story earlier this month. “It’s just a question of when. And a key element of going forward will be the funding of the CHIPS Act.”

Computer chip factories today cost between $10 billion and $15 billion. GlobalFoundries spent nearly $1 million during the last three months of 2020 lobbying Congress and the Trump administration on the CHIPS Act and other initiatives.

Grose said the National Semiconductor Technology Center would attract billions in federal, state and industry investment, which would make it far larger than any previous research labs created at the SUNY Poly campus. It would also likely involve a computer chip packaging center that NY CREATES operates in Rochester if New York was awarded the center.

Just last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met with representatives from the Semiconductor Industry Association, whose membership includes GlobalFoundries and other chip companies, to update them on Biden’s plans.

“I believe we need to make strong investments in domestic manufacturing, research and workforce, and help strengthen America’s global leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation,” Raimondo said. “This is the beginning of what I believe will be an ongoing dialog between the Department of Commerce and industry leaders as we find innovative ways to invest in domestic manufacturing.”

The hope that GlobalFoundries will land some of the CHIPS Act funding has already bolstered optimism in Saratoga County, where Fab 8 is located, says Shelby Schneider, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, an economic development group.

“That’s really exciting.” Schneider said.

ams Invests in New Imaging Center of Excellence in Rochester, NY to Boost Sensor-enabled Consumer Imaging Expertise

March 02, 2021 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

PREMSTAETTEN, Austria–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ams (SIX: AMS), a leading worldwide supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, is establishing an imaging center of excellence producing state-of-the-art consumer image sensors and product validation to support key US customers from the Riverwood Tech Campus in Rochester, New York, USA. The new research and development and design center will continue the tradition of world-class consumer imaging innovation into the sensor-enabled era.

A concentration of photonics expertise in research and development in the Rochester area means that there is world-class talent base to create a state-of-the-art center of excellence for optical imaging. ams is keen to expand its engineering capacity, drawing upon the company’s excellent global position in consumer imaging and sensing in the smartphone market and the regional heritage and ecosystem in the fields of imaging and photonics.

“Rochester is the perfect choice for ams to expand its research and development in the transformative fields of consumer imaging and photonics, to create design innovations that make an impact on our world. We look forward to collaborating with institutions such as the NYS American Institute for Manufacturing for Integrated Photonics, and renowned local universities and institutes,” said David Sackett, Senior Director Research and Development, Consumer Image Sensors at ams and the site manager.

The Rochester location is in the renovated Riverwood Tech Campus near the Genesee River which is modern, attractive, and ideal for creativity and collaboration with customers and partners.

Driving innovation in new optical technologies through significant R&D investments

ams’ leading position in optical sensing is built on its broad portfolio for 3D sensing including VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) illumination, high quality display management including behind-OLED (BOLED) sensing, micro-scale proximity sensing, spectral and bio-sensing, and other optical applications. Continuous significant R&D investments allow ams to drive innovation in new optical and optical/sensor module technologies.

Going forward ams expects sophisticated camera enhancing technologies to offer attractive adoption opportunities as camera-related features will drive key value propositions for smartphone users. This includes areas such as automatic white balancing (AWB), laser-detect autofocus (LDAF) / 1D ToF, wide-range flicker detection and AR-oriented camera support functions. As an example, ams’ innovative AWB solution uses accurate spectral sensing analysis to open a new way of boosting picture quality and natural color expression and is seeing additional market traction.


Amy Flécher
Vice President Marketing Communications

IFTLE 473: More on Reshoring Microelectronics; A Closer Look at AIM Photonics

BlogsPackaging IFTLE
Jan 11, 2021 · By Phil Garrou · photonics

More on Reshoring Microelectronics

By now everyone is aware that the US government, triggered by the pandemic, is in the process of attempting to bring parts of the electronics industry that left our shores (mainly for cheaper Asian production), back onshore. [ see IFTLE 463: DoD Focused on Reshoring Electronics to the US]

Federal Computer Week just did an interesting piece Congress Moves to Bring Back Domestic Microelectronics Manufacturing”, and I’d like to highlight their point on printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Due to growing competition with China and national security concerns heightened by the pandemic, the Congress and the Department of Defense (DoD) have pushed to tighten its cybersecurity and technical supply chains. According to FCW, The Defense Department will have to stop using PCBs made in China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and other potentially adversarial countries in its mission systems starting in 2023, according to a provision in the 2021 defense policy bill. Last time I checked my desktop was free of Iranian PCBs. but not so with Chinese parts.

While regulations on PCB manufacturing won’t come out until mid-2022, changes are expected to occur in the next year as the DOD works with electronics companies, contractors, and suppliers to determine sourcing and capability needs. In addition to the new sourcing requirements, Congress also requires DOD to study the effects of expanding the restrictions to include commercial PCBs and assemblies.

AIM Photonics

Let’s take a look at some of the information Ed White, Assoc. VP recently shared on an AIM Photonics webcast broadcast by Semiconductor Digest.

The organization, located in Rochester NY, came into being in 2015 as one of the DoD National Manufacturing Innovation institutes under the MANTECH program. Since then, the company has gone through several expansions. It is currently predominantly a 300mm facility and is expanding its presence in test, assembly, and packaging to augment its capabilities in photonics.

AIM reportedly has 12K sq ft of class 1000 cleanroom. It is an open-access facility being run like an institute, not a university research lab. By that I mean they build the prototypes for you and then help transfer the process to a standard commercial operation if scaleup is required.


Chip on a card would detect COVID-19 antibodies in a minute

“Completely new diagnostic platform” could prove to be a valuable clinical tool for detecting exposure to multiple viruses.

Researchers in Rochester are developing an optical chip on a disposable card that can detect exposure to multiple viruses within a minute—including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19–from a single drop of blood.

Led by University of Rochester Medical Center researcher Benjamin Miller, the $1.7 million project is funded by the US Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program using CARES Act funds through a contract with AIM Photonics. The collaboration also involves Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, which develops and manufactures innovative laboratory testing and blood-typing solutions at its Global Center for R&D Excellence in Rochester; Syntec Optics, a maker of polymer optics in Rochester; researchers at the NY CREATES 300mm microelectronics research facility in Albany, New York, and at the University of California at Santa Barbara; and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

“This is a completely new diagnostic platform,” says Miller, the Dean’s Professor of Dermatology and a professor of biomedical engineering, optics, and biochemistry and biophysics. “We think this is going to be valuable in very broad applications for clinical diagnostics, not just COVID-19.”

Key to the technology is an optical chip, no larger than a grain of rice. Proteins associated with eight different viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, are contained in separate sensor areas of the chip. If someone has been exposed to any of the viruses, antibodies to those viruses in the blood sample will be drawn to the proteins and detected.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to fight off specific bacteria and viruses. They remain in the immune system even after a patient recovers from an infection.

“It is exciting to see the sensors work developed by AIM Photonics, over the past five years, now play a part in more effective testing for COVID-19 and future diseases,” says Michael Cumbo, CEO of AIM Photonics. “The industry, academic, and government partnership is a fundamental piece of this institute. Together, we foster successful technology developments such as this optical chip, which in turn enables a very innovative diagnostic platform.”

The card will enable clinicians not only to detect and study COVID-19, but also to better understand potential relationships between COVID-19 infection and previous infections and immunity to other respiratory viruses, including circulating coronaviruses that cause the common cold.

“But one of the attractive aspects of this is there’s a pathway for this technology to eventually be used in a doctor’s office or a pharmacy,” Miller says.

“Our goal is to have a validated benchtop prototype by this winter, early spring at the latest.”

The researchers will use blood drawn from 100 consenting convalescent COVID-19 patients to test the device’s effectiveness.

When the researchers complete and validate the initial prototype, they will be able to apply for up to $5.3 million in additional funding to move the technology closer to commercial availability.

University of Rochester, Newscenter

Contact Author(s)
Bob Marcotte

The path forward for science under a new administration


As President-elect Joseph Biden fills key positions to address global challenges from COVID-19 to climate change, the scientific community is optimistic he will prioritize research and development. In addition to the mass distribution of effective vaccines to mitigate the risk of the deadly virus, what should be among the key science priorities in his first 100 days in office and beyond?

Quantum science, 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI) have received substantial support in recent years with more than $1 billion in awards for new research institutes. The National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, signed in 2018, is a coordinated federal approach to support the development of new technologies, such as the next-generation of quantum computers and quantum sensors. The U.S. National Research Academy also called for greater public investments in high-intensity lasers to enable applications notably in energy, biology and security. To help regain U.S. competitiveness in these fields, the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) — formed by The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE — advocated for the NQI, and established the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Optics & Photonics Caucus.

We request that President-elect Biden continue to expand government support for these key industries made possible by optics and photonics, the science of light. An encouraging sign is his proposal for a $300 billion investment over four years in 5G, AI and other technologies to spur the creation of high-quality jobs. Biden’s support is well documented. In 2015, he hailed civilian and defense applications of photonics at the launch of the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) in Rochester, N.Y. The institute, he remarked, will “generate the next great breakthrough.”

Climate change will be a leading priority. Science societies, academia and industry are evaluating the impact of industrial pollution and greenhouse gases as a primary focus of the Global Environmental Measurement and Monitoring (GEMM) Initiative, research that the Biden administration is in a powerful position to elevate. Biden has pledged to move toward a “100 percent clean energy economy” and net-zero emissions by 2050. His campaign described the $400 billion plan as “the largest-ever investment in clean energy research and innovation.” Biden also vowed to rejoin the Paris climate agreement (the U.S. formally withdrew from the accord on Nov. 4, 2020) and implement new environmental policies and programs.

Over the last few years, the U.S. has been at risk of experiencing a severe brain drain as White House executive orders and immigration policies made it increasingly difficult for scientists and students to travel and study in the U.S. These experts contribute substantially to the pursuit of scientific knowledge and application. Reducing unnecessary burdens to the visa process is vital to accelerating scientific progress. Prior to the election, the Biden campaign assured it would increase the availability of permanent, employment-based visas and exempt from any visa cap recent graduates of Ph.D. STEM programs.

The scientific enterprise, much like most sectors, is weathering the fallout of the global pandemic. Many federal and academic laboratories had to shut down for several months disrupting important studies and the work of students and postdoctoral researchers in the STEM fields. Robust funding increases for scientific research are critical to overcome the adverse impact. The appointment of an Office of Science and Technology Policy Director in the first 100 days will also ensure such expertise is immediately integrated in White House policymaking.

We applaud Biden’s goal to focus on scientific integrity and science-based decision-making. In addressing our world’s greatest challenges, from a deadly, contagious virus to climate change, evidence suggests the Biden administration will live up to its commitment to trust science.

Elizabeth A. Rogan is CEO of The Optical Society (OSA).

Facilities Shaping the Future of Manufacturing


AFFOAAIM PhotonicsBioFabUSALIFTPowerAmerica Biomanufacturing, Fabrics, Lightweight Materials, Manufacturing, Photonics, Power Electronics

The future of advanced manufacturing in the U.S. is being built at innovative facilities that enable experimentation in process and product development. The people and organizations at these next-generation facilities are part of a collaborative effort to remove barriers of entry and create an ecosystem to build supply chains and provide a path for the commercialization of emerging technologies.

These next-generation facilities are working on initiatives that include:

  • Using advanced fiber technology to make programmable backpacks that have no wires or batteries but connect to the digital world.
  • Using light instead of electronics to power cloud-based data centers, increasing the speed of transfer tenfold while drastically reducing energy use and cost.
  • Extending the range of electric vehicles by reducing weight and mitigating energy loss during transfers.

This would not be possible without Manufacturing USA, a network of 16 manufacturing innovation institutes and their sponsoring federal agencies — the Departments of Commerce, Defense and Energy. Manufacturing USA was created in 2014 to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing by connecting people, ideas, and technology.

Here’s a look at a handful of next-generation facilities supported by the institutes that are shaping the future of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

AIM Photonics’ Test, Assembly and Packaging Facility

  • Location: Rochester, N.Y.
  • Institute: American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics
  • Sponsor: Department of Defense

Integrated photonics involve using light for applications traditionally addressed through electronics. It is increasingly being applied in communications, laser-based radar and sensing because it dramatically improves on the performance and reliability of electronic integrated circuits while significantly reducing size, weight, and power consumption.

The AIM Photonics facility is the world’s first open-access Photonic Integrated Chip (PIC) Test, Assembly and Packaging Facility (TAP), making it a key component in AIM’s PIC manufacturing ecosystem by providing a connection point to the photonics supply chain. The TAP facility provides development and production process capabilities that have enabled more than 120 small and medium-sized businesses — which would otherwise be priced out of the market — to bring integrated photonic chip technologies through the product development cycle.

One application being advanced at the facility is photonic sensors using light as radar — or LIDAR. Tiny LIDAR sensors that provide real-time 3D mapping for driverless cars can also be used to manage database systems for cloud computing, detect sarin gases in national security environments, enhance medical imaging and rate food safety by measuring the interactivity of chemicals. Compared to traditional electronics, this new technology can increase data throughput at least tenfold while reducing energy consumption dramatically.