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US Inks Deal With Google To Make Chips

 |  September 13, 2022

The United States Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday that its National Institute of Standards and Technology has signed a research and development (R&D) deal with Google to create and manufacture semiconductors.

According to the department’s written statement, those chips will be used by researchers “to develop new nanotechnology and semiconductor devices,” and made by SkyWater Technology at their manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“This is a great example of how government, industry and academic researchers can work together to enhance US leadership in this critically important industry,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio commented.

Modern microelectronic devices are made of components that are stacked like layers in a cake, with the bottom layer being a semiconductor chip. The NIST/Google collaboration will make available a bottom-layer chip with specialized structures for measuring and testing the performance of the components placed on top of it, including new kinds of memory devices, nanosensors, bioelectronics and advanced devices needed for artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

NIST anticipates designing as many as 40 different chips optimized for different applications. Because the chip designs will be open source, researchers will be able to pursue new ideas without restriction and share data and device designs freely.

“Google has a long history of leadership in open-source,” said Will Grannis, CEO of Google Public Sector. “Moving to an open-source framework fosters reproducibility, which helps researchers from public and private institutions iterate on each other’s work. It also democratizes innovation in nanotechnology and semiconductor research.”

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