Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) Joins NORDTECH Hub in the Microelectronics Commons Network

Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) Joins NORDTECH Hub in the Microelectronics Commons Network
NORDTECH logo with headshots of contributing Cornell University faculty members
Leading CU faculty members include Judy Cha, Ph. D. '90, Darrel Schlom, Chris Ober, Greg Fuchs, Valla Fatemi, Karan Mehta, Jose Martinez, and Chris Batten

By Jaida Anekwe; January 22, 2024

CNF is excited to announce our involvement in the Northeast Regional Defense Technology Hub (NORDTECH), a collaborative initiative aimed at advancing semiconductor research and development. This move was made possible by the CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) and Science Act of 2022, enacted to explore the critical role of semiconductor technology in national security and defense.

Funded by the Department of Defense, the CHIPS and Science Act’s primary focus is to propel America toward global leadership in research and development through substantial investments in fields such as nanotechnology and quantum computing. NORDTECH is one of the major outcomes of the CHIPS and Science Act, as this consortium aims to develop new cut-throat microelectronics equipment for the semiconductor industry. NORDTECH comprises over 50 affiliates and partners, and CNF serves as one of the eight core facilities. This collaborative effort is driven by the need to bridge the gap between laboratory-scale semiconductor research and their industry applications, a process known as "lab to fab" innovation. Because of the Department of Defense (DOD)’s increasing reliance on computation power and cyber infrastructure, Nordtech is a crucial element of the The CHIPS and Science Act.

CNF was selected as one of NORDTECH’s five participating institutions, because of its 45 years of rich history serving the nanoscience industry. As one of the first institutions selected to partake in President Bill Clinton’s National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), CNF is one of the longest running nanoscale initiatives in the country. With expanded capabilities as an academic institution, Cornell boasts state of the art materials that allows CNF to serve over 1,000 users annually; and with NORDTECH’s contributions CNF plans on installing five to eight key instruments enabling facility users to design and build devices from scratch to end product.

“This is a really exciting time for CNF [...] because we have users and capabilities to serve the nation and the community [...] with the incoming [NORDTECH] funds we are able to bring in new capabilities, and users can now do things that were not previously possible.”

-Judy Cha, CNF Director

“We are in a unique position to really train folks with hands-on experiences [...] we have comprehensive tools that can make devices from scratch to the end product.”

The implementation of NORDTECH and the CHIPs and Science Act directly facilitates the growth and expansion of the semiconductor industry. With the influx of funds CNF and other participating institutes can foster extensive workforce development, as tens of thousands of technicians and engineers will be needed in the next 5 to 10 years. CNF is well-positioned to train this next generation of experts.

Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility's collaboration with NORDTECH marks a milestone in advancing semiconductor research and development. As a key player in this collaborative initiative, CNF brings its rich history in nanofabrication, unique capabilities in handling diverse materials, and commitment to training the future workforce.