Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Hubert Bilan’s name. We apologize for the error.
POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) — The North Country will soon be very familiar with the semiconductor industry, as Micron Technology is set to build a mega computer chip fabrication in Central New York.
Micron’s announcement to build the facility at White Pine Commerce Park in the town of Clay came in early October.
The $100 billion investment will take place over 20 years. The computer chip manufacturing campus will include technology equipment to manufacture memory chips.
This brought excitement to local colleges, including Clarkson University, which is known for its engineering programs.
“This is just a wonderful trend to see companies come back and bring advanced manufacturing back to the states and to have our students be part of creating those products,” Clarkson Dean of Engineering William Jemison said.
Clarkson University has a special relationship with the semiconductor industry as its Center for Advanced Materials and Processing research department invented a polishing process for chip wafers called chemical mechanical planarization.
According to the Hubert Bilan, the center’s laboratory manager, this process helps ensure that chip wafers are perfectly smooth before they are processed into computer chips.
“If we’re able to polish it down to about a very smooth roughness, we’ll be able to guarantee that every single chip printed on this board will behave perfectly identically and give us a high quality product,” Bilan said.
Students are taught CMP right in Clarkson’s labs. Dean Jemison explained that these processes are now used at chip fab’s around the globe, including by Micron.
“People come from around the world, Asia, Europe and the United States to learn about that technology and we’ll keep advancing that technology, working with Micron on that research and other research as well,” he said.
With a promised 45,000 new jobs coming to Central New York with Micron’s facility, Jemison said that opportunities will also be created for Clarkson students studying other programs.
“We’re educating the workforce for many different industries,” Jemison said. “One of the reasons they came to New York was the number of outstanding educational colleges and universities in the region and we’re certainly one of them, so we’re looking forward to working with them to provide what they need to be successful.”
Micron Technology is hopeful that construction on CNY’s facility will begin as early as 2024 and phase one of the project is expected to be complete by the end of the decade.