N.C. A&T Partners with N.C. State, USC to Advance Microelectronics, Develop Workforce

By Jordan Howse / 10/23/2023 College of Engineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. ­ (Oct. 23, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has partnered with regional innovation hubs led by North Carolina State University and the University of Southern California for the massive Microelectronics Commons project to bridge and accelerate the lab-to-fab transition.

Under the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022, the Department of Defense has awarded $238 million to establish eight hubs involving more than 360 institutions nationwide to promote economic growth as they develop the physical, digital and human infrastructure to support success in microelectronics research.

“As a land-grant university, North Carolina A&T is charged with creating better opportunities for our students and our communities,” Daniel Limbrick, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering in the College of Engineering at A&T. “We are also the nation’s largest producer of Black engineers, so being a part of ‘The Commons’ helps us create more defined pipelines of talent into fields like microelectronic/semiconductor engineering, a necessary component of the CHIPS Act strategy. This partnership with DoD and USC demonstrates A&T’s continued commitment to innovative research, national partnerships and critical workforce development.”

N.C. State has teamed with A&T, Wolfspeed and five other industry partners for the Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors or CLAWS regional hub.

CLAWS focuses on wide bandgap semiconductors which offer higher voltage and temperature capacity than traditional silicon chips. They are used in power electronics, but also in RF and wireless devices for communications and radars, as well as photonic devices for sensing, communications, artificial intelligence, and future quantum technology applications.

The hub will also explore next-generation ultra-wide bandgap materials with even greater voltage and temperature capabilities, including diamond and gallium oxide electronics.

The USC-led hub, California Defense Ready Electronics and Microdevices Superhub, or CA DREAMS, includes researchers at Information Sciences Institute and the USC Viterbi Ming Hsieh Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering and A&T. Other partner institutions within higher education ​include Caltech, Morgan State University, Pasadena City College, University of California, Irvine, UCLA, University of California, Riverside, University of California, San Diego and University of California, Santa Barbara.

Industry partners included in CA DREAMS include are The Boeing Co., HRL Laboratories, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, PDF Solutions, Raytheon and Teledyne Scientific Co.

This coalition will quickly translate the sophisticated materials and devices developed in academic labs to fabrication. Its work will also focus on 5G/6G technologies.

“President Biden’s CHIPS Act will supercharge America’s ability to prototype, manufacture and produce microelectronics scale,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. “CHIPS and Science made clear to America — and the world — that the U.S. government is committed to ensuring that our industrial and scientific powerhouses can deliver what we need to secure our future in this era of strategic competition.”

Contributor: Tiniya Martin, College of Engineering communications intern

Media Contact Information: jmhowse@ncat.edu

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