Chartered closure

SINGAPORE—Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing will close the oldest of its five chip-making plants here by March next year, laying off 500 workers.

The move will save the giant chipmaker $25 million a year and allow the company to significantly increase production of more advanced computer chips at its newer plants.

Chartered has lost a total of $801 million in the last two years, but plans to invest $560 million in the latest chip technology in a bid to catch up with market leaders.—MAD

Leaping lithography

ALBANY, NY—The University at Albany (UAlbany) and International Sematech (ISMT), a global consortium of semiconductor manufacturers, have completed negotiations on a joint five-year program to accelerate the development of next generation lithography.

Under the terms of the contract, ISMT will conduct a program in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography infrastructure, focused on advanced work in three areas—mask blanks, resist and EUV extensions—at UAlbany's new 300-mm wafer cleanroom complex. The program is designated as International Sematech North.—MAD

O2 finds breathing room

TEMPE, AZ—O2 Science, a regional provider of respiratory therapy services and home healthcare products, has opened a pharmacy within its corporate offices here.

The pharmacy includes a cleanroom, where the mixing of medications is handled; a pharmacy dispensing area; and a section devoted to the provision of educational materials and information resources for respiratory patients, healthcare professionals and caregivers.

O2 Science's pharmacy will provide customized specialty compounding of respiratory medications and pharmacy compliance programs and also serve as an information hub for patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals seeking knowledge about respiratory therapy medications supplied by the company.—MAD

Shipley shape

MARLBORO, MA—Shipley Company, LLC, has opened its Advanced Technology Center (ATC), a facility dedicated to the development of lithography, interconnect, low-k dielectric and other critical materials needed to produce new generations of microelectronic devices.

The new 65,000-square-foot ATC building, which includes an ISO Class 3 cleanroom, is the first phase of Shipley's multi-phase plans for 193-nanometer exposure systems and track technologies. The new building also includes a comprehensive metrology and modeling facility and an additional 65,000 square feet that would enable Shipley to double the size of the facility in the future.—MAD

Pass the oregano

AMHERST, Mass.—Oregano, a spice found in most kitchens, has proved effective as an antimicrobial agent against Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The findings show that “UMass oregano,” a clonal line of oregano developed at the school, offers meat and poultry processors a consistent source of antimicrobial activity. Ethanol extracts of the clonal line were used to assess its inhibitory potential against Listeria monocytogenes in both broth and meat systems.—MAD

Undulating ultraviolet

ATLANTA, Ga.—Georgia Institute of Technology researchers say they have developed a better-performing, less costly method of disinfecting water used in food processing.

Like current technologies, the new Advanced Disinfection Technology System relies on ultraviolet (UV) radiation to eliminate molds, viruses and bacteria, according to researchers. The heart of the new advanced system is a pair of cylinders, one inside the other, to handle water more efficiently and improve the overall effectiveness of the disinfection process. The smaller cylinder rotates inside the stationary outer cylinder while water is pumped through the gap separating the two.—MAD

Sweaty strains

BERKELEY, Calif.—Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have determined that spores of an anthrax cousin swell by a significant amount as humidity increases, a surprising discovery that could lead to a rapid way of detecting anthrax.

The researchers, along with Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, had been examining size differences between spores of different Bacillus bacteria strains when they realized spores changed in size under different environmental conditions, such as humidity.—MAD

Intel intrepidity

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Intel Corp. will shell out $2 billion for a 300-mm conversion of its Chandler, Ariz. manufacturing plant.

Once it opens in 2005, it will be the company's fifth facility to produce chips on the larger wafers, says Craig Barrett, Intel's chief executive officer. Intel, he added, can save more money with 300-mm chip plants because five of them can manufacture as much as 10 factories that produce 200-mm wafers.

Meanwhile, Intel donated $17.5 million worth of old six-inch process tools to the University of New Mexico's (UNM) Manufacturing Training and Technology Center for micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) research and development.—MAD


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