New York State has invested more than a billion dollars in the semiconductor industry and is striving to become the preeminent location for industry specific research, commercialization and collaboration. Some of that investment is being put to use at Rochester-area colleges, such as RIT.
RIT is wrapping up a five-day short course on Integrated Circuit Fabrication. RIT has offered this type of educational training for more than 30 years. Twelve engineers, working for various firms across the United States and in other countries, are learning the latest concepts in the area of nanotechnology.
"In a lot of cases, if they're an equipment company, it may give them some new insights or applications, potential markets that they can help their company expand in to. We have a gentleman here from an implantation company, that's why he's here. Other companies may be looking at better imaging chips to put into their cameras and things like that," said Dr. Michael Jackson, course coordinator.
The idea is to keep these workers up to date on the latest concepts. It's also intended to help them become more creative and innovative.
"I have about five or 10 years of experience in the silicon fab that's old experience from the 1980s. I felt it was fairly important to become current and see how things have changed over the years and it turns out some of the things are exactly what we used to do 30 years ago and some of them are completely different," said Herb Ziegler, from Liverpool, New York.
Some of the students came from as far away as India and Singapore. They're finding that techniques used here are more advanced than back home.
"We don't do fabrication, we do a lot of equations and math and chemistry and physics of how these things are done, but in India they don't do much manufacturing of these devices," said Anand Bhushan, New Delhi, India.
Five students are on scholarship from the Rochester Regional Photonics Accelerator. It's funded through a grant that supports workforce training in any aspect of optics, imaging and photonics.
The scholarships are part of a $2 million grant secured by the Centers for Emerging and Innovative Sciences housed at the University of Rochester. For some, taking this course wouldn't be possible without that financial support.
"My company has cut back like a lot of companies on funding for training and so forth, so it really does help offset that cost," said Rick Fogarty, Baltimore.
Many of the concepts used in this five day course are being put to use by firms at Eastman Business Park.