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A*Star aims to extend Moore's Law at new lab

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lab? A*Star? Fusionopolis Two? Applied Materials? beamline?

Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) is planning to establish a new R&D laboratory in Singapore in collaboration with Applied Materials Inc. The lab will be funded jointly with $108.5 million (S$150 million) over several years.

The public-private partnership is supported by the country's Economic Development Board (EDB), a body that often facilitates strategic investments in Singapore in line with a long-term vision of the government. Applied Materials wasn't forthcoming today on who is contributing how much.

The joint lab will be housed at A*Star's R&D cluster at the just-opened Fusionopolis Two, a $325.5 million (S$450 million) building at One-North in Buona Vista. The site will house a 400m2 Class 1 cleanroom with semiconductor process equipment custom designed and built by Applied Materials. The facility will be staffed by 60 scientists and engineers working with extended research teams at A*Star's other research institutes.

A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) will contribute to research in low-defect processing, ultra-thin film materials, materials analysis and characterisation and modelling and simulation in many areas. The collaboration will also allow for products developed by the lab to be manufactured by Applied Materials in Singapore.

The new lab is Applied Materials' second collaboration with A*Star. In 2012, the company formed a Centre of Excellence in Advanced Packaging with the IME to develop 3D chip packaging technology.

Applied's expansion into early-stage R&D

While Applied Materials refused to say which areas that will be researched at the new lab, their president and CEO, Gary Dickerson, revealed in a press announcement that they will use their expertise in materials engineering to tackle "challenges of producing future generations of logic and memory chips." The company's Corporate VP and Regional President for Southeast Asia, Russell Tham, added that as the lab supports Applied's expansion from manufacturing into early-stage R&D and product design.

Applied Materials also plans to conduct experiments on the synchrotron at the Singapore Synchrotron Light Source (SSLS) and work with the National University of Singapore (NUS) where a new beamline for semiconductor applications will be developed. Funding for the construction of the new beamline is supported by the National Research Foundation.

- Vivek Nanda

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