Arizona State University, Applied Materials partner to create $270M Materials-to-Fab Center

Jul 13, 2023, 4:05 AM | Updated: 5:52 am

ASU research Park...

Arizona State University Research Park (Arizona State University Research Park Facebook page)

(Arizona State University Research Park Facebook page)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University and Applied Materials, Inc. announced Tuesday they are partnering to create a shared research, development and prototyping facility.

The $270 million facility, the Materials-to-Fab Center, will be located in the university’s MacroTEchnology Works building at ASU Research Park in Tempe.

Sally Morton, executive vice president of knowledge enterprise at ASU, said Applied Materials has been a close partner with the university for some time.

“This is really a deepening of our alliance with Applied Materials, one of the leading semiconductor companies in the world as you’ll know,” Morton said in an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM Tuesday.

ASU President Michael Crow said the partnership will take things to a new level.

“But what is more important than the partnership is what it will do for the industry and the country. This is the beginning of a reconfiguration of the way to accelerate discovery and translational research outcomes in response to real-world challenges and the development of next-generational processes, materials, equipment and workforce,” Crow said in a press release.

Bridging the gap

The MTF Center will provide students and faculty with opportunities for hands-on learning and research on the same 300mm equipment used in leading-edge production fabs, according to a press release.

Morton said she thinks the center is a crucial step forward not just for ASU and Applied Materials, but for the state of Arizona, the entire southwest region and the Valley.

“There’s an incredible energy and a focus now here in the Valley on semiconductors, particularly with the new fabrications facilities being built by Intel and TSMC and along with those fabrication facilities, all the suppliers and other semiconductor startups and so on here in the Valley,” she said.

“But what’s been missing is really a bridge from research and development which occurs in the university all the way to prototyping and fabrication.”

Morton said the center provides a place where faculty, students, large industry partners and small startup companies can come together and do work on the next generation of semiconductors and microelectronics.

MTF will allow the state to contribute to the economic stability of the U.S. and the country’s national security, she said.

Applied Materials contributed state-of-the-art tools, and machines that can produce microelectronic chips which allow people who don’t have access to the tools to use them.

“They are faculty at Arizona State University, but also at our sister universities across the state; University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, also our students,” Morton said.

Experience with the machinery will make students “incredibly salable” to companies who have concerns about workforce development, she said.

What to know about MTF

Design of the MTC Center has started and the lab is expected to be operational within two years.

The project is supported by the following investments:

  • $30 million from the Arizona Commerce Authority
  • $17 million from ASU
  • $25 million in Arizona New Economy Initiative funding and bonds.
  • $200 million from Applied Materials including capital investments, equipment operation and maintenance and research and scholarship funding.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Balin Overstolz-McNair contributed to this report.

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Arizona State University, Applied Materials partner to create $270M Materials-to-Fab Center