Spotlight: SkyWater aims to boost, secure semiconductor production
Points to note…
+ SkyWater Technology’s new 60,000-square-foot expansion — which will produce specialty microelectronics for customers ranging from medical device makers to the U.S. Space Force — embodies the push to boost domestic semiconductor production and the public-private partnerships company leaders and government officials say are critical to the effort.
“It’s definitely unusual to be expanding a semiconductor facility in the U.S.,” Sonderman said. “It’s a sign that instinctively it all was in flight before some of this awareness around U.S.-based manufacturing became apparent. But now it’s certainly putting us in a very nice position as we begin to repatriate the way semiconductor manufacturing is done.”
+ The Department of Defense is spending $170 million over several phases to build the expansion, which includes 12,000 square feet of additional clean room space for SkyWater, the only U.S.-owned and operated pure-play foundry or semiconductor fabrication facility. The investment comes under DoD’s Trusted and Assured Microelectronics program, which works with industry and laboratories to produce technology solutions for national security and defense.
+ SkyWater’s new clean room will specialize in part in making radiation-hardened or “rad-hard” semiconductors, Sonderman said. These chips, he said, work in “harsh environments, places where detonations can occur, places where you have a need for sensitivity to high degrees of radiation.” Applications include certain Space Force communications needs, superconducting technologies used for quantum computing, in which Sonderman said SkyWater is a leader, and medical devices.
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