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Arizona State University and Applied Materials Partner to Create $270 Million Materials-to-Fab Center

Arizona State University (ASU) and materials engineering company Applied Materials have announced a joint venture to build a Materials-to-Fab (MTF) research, development, and prototyping center, with over $270 million coming from corporate and state funding.

The center will bring current semiconductor manufacturing equipment in to facilitate prototype creation from idea to fabrication and give students and faculty hands-on learning and experience. This equipment is the same as that currently used in industry production fabrications, the university said. Industry partners, startups, government entities, and academic institutions will be able to collaborate in the Center.

The MTF Center will be part of Applied Materials' Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialization (EPIC) Center, announced in May 2023, to be built in California's Silicon Valley. It will be the hub of several university centers focused on materials and process innovation. The ASU center will be dedicated to materials deposition technology, the university said.

Design of the MTF Center is in process, and completion is expected in two years at the MacroTechnology Works building at the ASU Research Park. Applied Materials is expected to commit over $200 million to the project, including capital investments, equipment operation and maintenance, and research and scholarship funding. Other funding includes $30 million from the Arizona Commerce Authority, $17 million from ASU, and $25 million in Arizona New Economy Initiative funding and bonds.

Applied Materials intends to create an endowment fund of scholarships to first-generation and/or underrepresented minority students in the engineering school. The Applied Materials Momentum Fund will also provide grants to ASU students, particularly women pursuing undergraduate degrees in engineering.

"Applied Materials is excited to build upon our successful track record of collaboration with ASU by adding the Materials-to-Fab Center to our university innovation network," said president and CEO Gary Dickerson. "Applied Materials envisions the MTF Center playing a key role in accelerating materials engineering innovations, commercializing academic research and strengthening the pipeline of future semiconductor industry talent."

"The MTF Center will accelerate the development, commercialization, and manufacturing of next-generation U.S. semiconductor-based technologies while bolstering the state's infrastructure, workforce, and research capabilities," said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. "We're proud to play a leading role supporting this first-of-its-kind alliance between one of the world's leading semiconductor technology companies and America's most innovative university."

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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