In Personal Letter to Secretary of Defense, Schumer Urges U.S. Navy To Fund New High-Tech Chip Programs – California Based Company Seeking To Invest in NY If Program Is Funded

CNSE Would Help Further R & D and Manufacturing Capabilities, And Company Would Produce And Package Chips In Upstate New York, Including in Syracuse And At STC Center In Canandaigua

Schumer: New York Is Poised And Ready For Job- Boosting Chip Production for US Navy


Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Department of Defense to partner with SUNY Albany’s College for Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Department of Defense contractor, APIC, to bring new chip-fab work to Upstate New York. If the Defense Department chooses to move forward and increase demand for chips from its Fully Laser Integrated Photonics or FLIP program, which is near the production stage, APIC could build a foundry Upstate, as well as a sensor technology integration and packaging operation in Canandaigua.

APIC, a California-based company that manufactures high-tech nanochips for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Navy, is seeking a home to produce the next generation of nanotechnology chips using cutting-edge photonics technology. Schumer is pushing the Navy to commit to its Network Enabled by Wavelength Division Multiplexed Highly Integrated Photonics (NEW-HIP) program. If the Navy moves forward and demands these chips, APIC is seeking to build a chip-fab facility at the Electronics Park in Syracuse that is owned and being renovated, with support from the New York State Assembly, by Centerstate CEO. If FLIP is funded, APIC would seek to open an additional chip-fab plant in New York, continue research and development with SUNY-Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and complete sensor technology integration and packaging work at the STC Center in Canandaigua.

“New York is primed and ready to host the next level of chip-fab work, and these projects would bring nanotechnology jobs to each corner of our state,” said Schumer. “APIC is ready to grow jobs across the state, we just need the Defense Department to step up and call on New York. We have CNSE and the best work force in the country, so I’m going to push hard to bring these jobs and this work to the Empire State.”


The Fully Laser Integrated Photonics or FLIP, is near the production stage and, if the Navy commits to using these chips in their aircraft, APIC could build a chip foundry in New York and a sensor technology integration and packaging operation in Canandaigua. Further research and development work would be done in state by both CNSE and APIC. In a letter to Defense Secretary Panetta today, Schumer urged the Secretary to consider bringing these chip manufacturing programs to Upstate New York.


The Defense Department, the US Navy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and APIC are developing a program called Network Enabled by Wavelength Division Multiplexed Highly Integrated Photonics, or NEW-HIP, which is the next wave of chip fabrication innovation that uses light instead of actual circuitry. According to Schumer, if the Navy funds APIC and CNSE to work together on the actual production for NEW-HIP, APIC will move into the Syracuse facility to begin production, where it can create scores of new jobs. The Electronics Park has received $28 million in state funding via Speaker Silver and the NY State Assembly to finance renovations that are making the site ready to host a chip-fab facility. $16 million has been directed to Centerstate to help build out and renovate 100,000 square feet of space in Building #3 on the campus, which could host APIC’s plant. In recent weeks, the U.S. Navy and DARPA have urged APIC to finalize a location and lock up a strategic partner like CNSE for the production of these new chips. Schumer said that the Electronics Business Park would be a win-win for the Navy and New York.


More specifically, the NEW-HIP (Network Enabled by Wavelength Division Multiplexed Highly Integrated Photonics) program will allow manufacturers to take the electronic computer components of a ship or an airplane and size it down to a small chip wafer, dramatically increasing its capabilities while operating on a tiny fraction of the energy now needed. Current chips use wiring for their electronic components, but new technology allows the defense department to achieve the same capabilities by utilizing light, ending the need for wires and other hardware components. The final goal of this program is to deliver qualified computer parts that improve military performance and reliability while saving billions of dollars. In order for this to occur, APIC must have a dedicated compound semiconductor fabrication facility, which they will create if the Navy decides to move forward with the project and demand these parts for military applications. 


In his letter, Schumer made a strong case for CNSE, arguing that the college was already a world-leader in this field and has strong support from New York State and Governor Cuomo and the New York State Assembly, which, under Speaker Silver has already invested $28 million to create a nanotechnology incubation center at Electronics Park in Syracuse.  Schumer also noted that CNSE is currently working with APIC on prototype development and this new relationship would build upon that existing partnership.


After initial work by the Intel Corporation and the National Security Agency (NSA), the development of NEW HIP is being led by APIC, a California-based company. Their silicon photonics foundry in Honolulu, HI created the prototype for NEW HIP, and has been instrumental in bringing this networking technology down to the microprocessor level (Fully Laser Integrated Photonics, FLIP). However to accommodate adequate NEW HIP production volumes for the Department of Defense once the technology is mature, a dedicated compound semiconductor fabrication facility is required, which Schumer is pushing to locate in Syracuse.  Once a final agreement to bring the NEW HIP production to Syracuse is in place, Schumer believes that a second facility can be developed at for the FLIP program with sensor technology integration and packaging operations at CNSE's Canandaigua STC campus, bringing nanotech chip work across Upstate New York.  This second tier of work will also need approval from the Defense Department.


FLIP is an extension to the chip level of technology the Navy is already funding for NEW-HIP (Network Enabled by Wavelength Division Multiplexed Highly Integrated Technology). APIC has teamed with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) located at the University at Albany and has demonstrated excellent progress by utilizing CNSE’s world-class nanoelectronics expertise and capabilities to accelerate the development of the FLIP program into pilot-prototype manufacture of APIC’s silicon photonic devices. CNSE considers this a strategic partnership with near-term potential.  Schumer and CNSE today are making the case to the Navy that the FLIP technology could be fielded within the next 24 months in New York if appropriate funding was provided.  Schumer also argued that FLIP’s success shows that it is a game-changer, enhances the military's capabilities, and potentially reduces the cost of weapon systems by billions of dollars annually. Recognizing that innovation always involves some technology risk, in today’s budget environment it is more critical than ever that this cost-saving technology be aggressively transitioned into weapons systems.


Schumer is advocating that the Navy utilize the Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) to produce FLIP, which was created with certain deliberate flexibilities in funding amounts and timing in order to accelerate production of game-changing technologies.


“Securing a new high-tech chip manufacturing operation could be a game changer for the entire state, and would help us cement New York’s role as the place to be when it comes to chip-fab,” said Schumer. 

APIC currently projects that approximately 200 jobs could be created at the Syracuse NEW HIP operation within a matter of a few years, with the potential for scores of additional jobs in throughout the state if the subsequent FLIP program is approved.  In the coming weeks, Schumer plans to arrange for a series of high-level meetings for CNSE and APIC with Defense and Navy officials to make the case for New York State as a defense chip manufacturing hub. Schumer also noted that successfully establishing a Syracuse foundry by the end of the year could be New York's foot in the door to bring additional military chip-fab work to the state.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to Defense Secretary Panetta appears below:

Dear Secretary Panetta,

I am writing to ask for your partnership in an exciting opportunity for both the U.S Department of Defense and New York State. It promises to save billions for our Military Departments while enabling the kind of future military upgrades you recently articulated: leaner, more capable, and less resource-intensive. At the same time, this opportunity will stimulate high-tech job growth, while assuring our Nation’s place at the apex of advanced technology.  What I am suggesting is for us to bring the world’s next generation of semiconductor technology to the United States, in New York State.  Let me explain.

For the past decade, New York State, public institutions, and high technology companies have worked tirelessly to create a foundation for leadership and growth in the semiconductor industry.  This vision gave birth to SUNY Albany’s College for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and a major public-private cluster of research, development and manufacturing.  The World-leading College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering campus in Albany started with a key investment by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and its success can be expanded and replicated across Upstate New York. CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex is a fully-integrated research, development, prototyping, and educational facility that provides strategic support through outreach, technology acceleration, business incubation, pilot prototyping, and test-based integration support for onsite corporate partners including IBM, Intel, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Samsung, TSMC, Toshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML and Novellus Systems, as well as other “next generation” nanotechnology research activities.  

Recently, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and this consortium doubled down on their initial investment and announced they will be committing billions to the next generation of semiconductor research.  This historic investment can cement New York State as the leader in this technology and establish the US as the world’s center of nanotechnology and chip manufacturing, including on-chip photonics. Using photons and fiber optics for information transfer and processing brings profound size, weight, power, performance, and cost advantages over electronics and copper. It truly is the next generation and our peers will not be far behind us.

Fortunately, as you know, the DOD through the Navy has made complimentary investments for years to bring photonic technology to our military in two important areas: networking at the platform level, and networking at the microprocessor level. The wisdom of this support is now coming to fruition.

For photonic networking at the platform level, the Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have wisely committed to maturing the technology through the NEW-HIP (Network Enabled by Wavelength Division Multiplexed Highly Integrated Photonics) program. Simply put, NEW HIP will allow manufacturers to take the electronic computer “guts” of any military platform and dramatically decrease the size, weight, and power needed while substantially increasing its capabilities.  The final goal of this program is to deliver, in volume, qualified components for platform avionics such as in unmanned systems. I note the Navy’s vision in funding this effort under their N-UCAS Unmanned Combat Aerial system. Hopefully, we will see it transition to the follow-on UCLASS Unmanned Carrier Launched Attack and Surveillance System. This investment in photonic platform networking should pay off in significantly increased performance and reliability while saving literally billions of dollars annually.  However, one necessary element is a dedicated compound semiconductor fabrication facility. That’s where New York State comes in, and the opportunity for DOD to partner in realizing this world class capability.

The developer of NEW HIP, a California company called APIC, operates a silicon photonics foundry in Honolulu, HI that created the prototype for NEW HIP, and that also has been instrumental in bringing this networking technology down to the microprocessor level, referred to as FLIP (Fully Laser Integrated Photonics), currently in development with CNSE.  Whereas this latter effort potentially promises even more value for the Nation and I look forward to future cooperation with you on it beginning with your committed partnership now on a NEW HIP production capability for your Department. Once the Navy has matured the NEW HIP technology for broad application in the next year or two, a dedicated compound semiconductor fabrication facility will be required. That’s why I am announcing an immediate initiative with New York State to develop such a facility in Syracuse. Since the Navy has committed to maturing this technology, we will in turn make sure that a manufacturing facility is established for it. We cannot afford to keep wasting our precious resources on antiquated technology that costs ever more to sustain.

In closing, I’d like to again ask you to work with me and my partners in New York State to bring the volume manufacturing of this timely military technology to a place with a proven track record of success in this field.  NEW HIP will provide dramatic capability increases while saving billions of dollars in energy use and maintenance costs. A DOD partnership with New York State and CNSE will help bring this game changing technology to reality with a compound semiconductor fabrication facility.

I look forward to working with you on this effort.