U-Michigan a partner in two CHIPS Act Midwest microelectronics hubs
As part of $238 million in new funding from the CHIPS and Science Act, the University of Michigan is a founding member of two of the eight Microelectronics Commons regional innovation hubs announced recently by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Microelectronics Commons program establishes a network of technology hubs designed to accelerate domestic hardware prototyping and “lab-to-fab” commercialization of semiconductor technologies, as well as develop the U.S.-based semiconductor workforce. Ultimately, its goal is to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign microelectronics and safeguard the nation from supply chain risks, according to the program’s website.
U-M will play key roles in:
- The $32.9 million Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons Hub, led by the Applied Research Institute (ARI) and the state of Indiana and involving 130 hub members.
- The $24.3 million Midwest Microelectronics Consortium Hub, led by the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium and the state of Ohio and involving 65 hub members.
“We at the University of Michigan look forward to playing a lead role in advancing the semiconductor and microelectronics innovation coming out of the Midwest,” said Valeria Bertacco, the Mary Lou Dorf Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at U-M and leader of the Michigan Advanced Vision for Education and Research in Integrated Circuits, or MAVERIC collaborative.
“The Midwest region has a deep bench of talent in semiconductor research and education, a growing semiconductor industry ecosystem and a strong manufacturing base. U-M is committed to applying its expertise and infrastructure to fostering a secure, resilient and innovative domestic semiconductor sector.”
Microelectronics Commons hubs are funded for five years. Each will work in one or more of the areas identified as critical to the DoD mission: secure edge/internet of things (IoT) computing, 5G/6G, artificial intelligence hardware, quantum technology, electromagnetic warfare and commercial leap ahead technologies, according to DoD. More information about the projects within the hubs will be released at the Microelectronics Commons Annual Meeting in October.
These hubs represent only the latest developments at U-M in support of revitalizing the domestic semiconductor sector. Other efforts include:
- Leading a $1.2 million National Science Foundation Future of Semiconductors (FuSe) project to prototype new materials for high-power electronics applications such as electric vehicles, a smart grid, radar and defense. Additionally, U-M leads an NSF FuSe teaming grant to develop multi-functional semiconductors for next-generation communication systems. And researchers are contributing to a FuSe project to integrate two types of advanced semiconductors to improve heat dissipation and efficiency.
- Co-founding the Michigan Semiconductor Talent and Automotive Research (MSTAR) center, a public-private partnership led by KLA and technology innovation hub imec. The Michigan STAR center is focused on advancing semiconductors for the auto industry. Additional founding members are MEDC, Washtenaw Community College and General Motors.
- Partnering on regional semiconductor workforce development through MSN Force: A Midwest Semiconductor Collaborative Network for Work Force Training, led by Wayne State University. The NSF-funded network will develop and run in-person and virtual training modules aligned with industry needs, with the goal of providing students and workers with equitable access to the semiconductor industry.
- Hosting college students from across the country in the Michigan Semiconductor Hands-On Research Experience, a program funded by NSF, with support from the Semiconductor Research Corporation to broaden participation in the field.
“U-M has deep expertise and premier research facilities spanning the semiconductor technology stack—from materials and device fabrication to circuit design and AI hardware solutions. We’re well prepared to apply these resources to advancing US microelectronics technology and talent,” said Becky Peterson, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of U-M’s Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF).
U-M is among the largest U.S. institutions educating students in microelectronics and computing. Today more than 5,800 students are enrolled in its microelectronics-related undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. programs. More than 40 influential microelectronics startups have spun out of the university in recent decades, advancing areas such as automated semiconductor manufacturing, ultra-low power IoT devices and next-generation memory that offers unprecedented density and power improvements. In addition, over 95 local companies have utilized the LNF over the past five years.