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British Nanotech Firm Moving Operations to Albany, NY

Photonics.com
Oct 2006
ALBANY, N.Y., Oct., 26, 2006 -- A manufacturing firm deeply entrenched in the growing nanotechnology industry will uproot its operations in Britain and move to the Albany, N.Y., region. Aided by $30 million from New York state, Vistec Lithography Inc. will transfer its administrative offices and manufacturing line from Cambridge, England, to the Watervliet Arsenal. The money will also cover the cost of moving Vistec’s research and development laboratories to the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Vistec will establish joint R&D operations at the college's new Center for Nanolithography Development to conduct research and development of electron beam lithography equipment in nanotechnology, in partnership with the faculty and students at the college. The center will also provide a work-force training capability for high-technology jobs that will be located at the Watervliet Arsenal, according to a New York State Assembly statement.

Vistec, a subsidiary of Vistec Semiconductor Systems, is the US successor to Leica Microsystems Lithography. It makes electron beam lithography equipment, which is used to help etch miniscule molds, called masks, that are in turn used to etch circuits on blank computer chips. Its newest product lines include 300-mm wafer technology used to produce complex integrated circuits at the nanoscale. The company said it is targeting applications in nanotechnology, bioelectronics, lithography mask-making, silicon direct-write (defense/aerospace), telecommunications, micro-optics and micromechanics.

Vistec will begin moving in next summer, after the arsenal completes extensive renovations of one of its largest buildings. Vistec will occupy about 30,000 square feet of the 125,000-square-foot, century-old building. The federally funded Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership (ABTP), the arsenal’s economic development arm, is footing the bill for the renovations and installation of several clean rooms. The company pledged to invest $125 million of its own cash and said it will create 80 high-tech jobs over the next five years. It expects its suppliers to create another 50 local jobs, the ABTP said. ABTP and Vistec will work jointly to build facilities to house the Vistec Vector Beam headquarters and engineering and manufacturing operation. The company's engineering systems are expected to attract other nanotechnology and nanoelectronics businesses and industries to the arsenal campus, ABTP said.

Vistec has approximately 150 European employees. It also has facilities in Jena, Germany; US sales and service operations in Chantilly, Va., and Fremont, Calif.; and Europe/Asia sales and service center in the Netherlands.

Papken Der Torossian, president and board chairman of Vistec, said the company was also courted by Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, but that it chose Albany because of its high-technology focus.

Der Torossian said he expects the global team technology market to grow to as much as $1 billion over the next decade as more companies adopt the technology. Along with applications in biotechnology, telecommunications and other industries, electron beam lithography could be a key enabling technology as semiconductor companies search for ways to make computer chips even tinier.

Companies around the globe, including Vistec customers IBM, Advanced Micro Devices and ASML Holding NV, are working on ways to create computer chips with smaller transistors. More transistors allow more simultaneous computations and make for a faster chip. Today’s transistors measure about 65 nanometers, or 65 billionths of a meter, in length.

At UAlbany  academic and industrial researchers are working to develop the best way to produce chips with 32-nm transistors, which likely won’t be used commercially until about 2012. Alain Kaloyeros, chief administrator of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, said the addition of Vistec will complement the facility’s assortment nanotech tenants and partners.

New York State Assemblyman Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes) said $18 million of the state’s $30 million incentive will come from the assembly’s capital appropriation fund, with the remaining $12 million from the state budget.

For more information, visit: www.arsenalpartnership.com


GLOSSARY
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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