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Business News/ News / New York joins IBM, Micron in $10 billion chip research complex
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New York joins IBM, Micron in $10 billion chip research complex

wsj

The project at the Albany NanoTech Complex will use advanced chip-making equipment from Dutch company ASML.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said the project at the Albany NanoTech Complex would create some 700 jobs. (Photo: Bloomberg)Premium
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said the project at the Albany NanoTech Complex would create some 700 jobs. (Photo: Bloomberg)

New York state is joining chip companies to invest $10 billion in a semiconductor research facility at the University at Albany that is set to include some of the most advanced chip-making equipment in the world.

NY Creates, a nonprofit that oversees the Albany NanoTech Complex where the facility is to be built, will coordinate its construction. It will also use state funds to acquire chip-making equipment from ASML Holding, a Dutch company whose machines can cost hundreds of millions of dollars and are key to making the most advanced chips possible.

Once the machinery is installed, the project and its partners will begin work on next-generation chip manufacturing there, according to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office. The partners include tech giant IBM, memory manufacturer Micron Technology and chip manufacturing equipment makers Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron.

The expansion could help New York’s bid to be designated a research hub under last year’s $53 billion Chips Act. That legislation included $11 billion for a National Semiconductor Technology Center to foster domestic chip research and development.

Expanding domestic chip manufacturing and research has become a federal and state-level priority in recent years as concern grows in the U.S. over China’s expanding grasp over the industry. Chips are increasingly seen as a crux of geopolitical power, underlying advanced weapons for militaries and sophisticated artificial-intelligence systems.

ASML’s advanced machines use lasers and droplets of tin in a complex process to imprint the outlines of transistors on silicon. Today, the company’s extreme ultraviolet light, or EUV, machines are the most capable available, allowing chip makers to make transistors only a couple nanometers long.

The machine to be installed in Albany is the next generation of these systems, called high-NA EUV, which aren’t expected to be used in commercial chip production until 2025.

The project at the Albany complex, which began in the 1990s and has been expanded in several stages since, would create 700 jobs and bring in at least $9 billion of private money, Hochul’s office said. New York is investing $1 billion to buy the ASML equipment and construct a building with 50,000 square feet of chip-manufacturing space. Construction is expected to take about two years.

The Albany complex has produced numerous successful chip research efforts over the years but has also had its stumbles. A contracting scandal in 2016 led to the resignation of its founding leader and prompted an Austrian company to abandon plans to partner with the state on a chip factory in Utica. A consortium that was researching whether chips could be made on larger wafers of silicon collapsed in 2017.

As the U.S. offers manufacturing incentives through legislation such as the Chips Act, the federal government has also sought to limit Beijing’s access to the most sophisticated AI chips and chip-making equipment through several rounds of tightened export controls.

New York is home to a number of large chip factories, including ones operated by GlobalFoundries, ON Semiconductor and Wolfspeed. Micron is planning to invest up to $100 billion in a large factory near Syracuse that it is hoping to get funding for through the Chips Act. State officials also have offered incentives for the manufacturing facilities.

Write to Asa Fitch at asa.fitch@wsj.com and Jimmy Vielkind at jimmy.vielkind@wsj.com

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