Semiconductor toolmaker Applied Materials Inc. is set to invest at least $4 billion on a new research center at its campus in Silicon Valley.
Called the Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialization (EPIC) center, the facility will include more than 180,000 square feet of cleanroom for collaborative efforts with universities, semiconductor vendors and other ecosystems partners.
Applied Materials said the goal is to reduce the time it takes companies to bring a concept to commercialization by several years while simultaneously increasing the potential success rate on the R&D investments for the entire semiconductor ecosystem.
“While semiconductors are more critical to the global economy than ever before, the technology challenges our industry faces are becoming more complex,” said Gary Dickerson, president and CEO of Applied Materials. “This investment presents a golden opportunity to re-engineer the way the global industry collaborates to deliver the foundational semiconductor process and manufacturing technologies needed to sustain rapid improvements in energy-efficient, high-performance computing.”
The EPIC center is slated to come online in 2026 and create up to 2,000 engineering jobs.
Logic and memory
The EPIC center will be used as an innovation platform for logic and memory chipmakers to collaborate with equipment vendors.
Applied said the facility will be the first-time chipmakers can use a dedicated space within an equipment supplier facility, extending in-house pilot lines and providing early access to next-generation technologies and tools. This could be months or even years before equivalent capabilities could be done at their in-house facilities.
The EPIC center will also be used to work with academic research to strengthen future semiconductor talent and create new concepts that often lack the ability to use state-of-the-art industrial labs and hardware.
EPIC provides a full range of industrial-scale capabilities to validate ideas, increase the success rate of these inventions and reduce the time and cost of commercializing the technologies. Applied will also work with existing relationships with universities such as Arizona State University, where it has been conducting research in materials science and semiconductor technology with students and faculty.