US National Institute of Standards and Technology announces partnership with Google to develop chips

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the conclusion of a cooperative research and development agreement with Google to produce chips that researchers could use to develop new nanotechnology and semiconductor devices. According to the partnership, Google will cover the initial cost of setting up production and will subsidise the first production run. NIST will design the circuitry for the chips in collaboration with university research partners. The institute has underlined that the circuit designs will be open source, to allow researchers from academia and small businesses to use them without restrictions and licensing fees.

The chips will be manufactured at the semiconductor foundry of SkyWater Technology, in the form of 200-millimeter wafers – discs of patterned silicon. These wafers represent an industry standard format compatible with the manufacturing robots at most semiconductor foundries; this will allow researchers to prototype designs and emerging technologies that could be integrated into production faster.