Research into nanoelectronics is getting a $2 million boost from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and the National Science Foundation.

The goal is to develop a nanotechnology-based alternative to traditional transistors, which form the foundation of chip technology.

The SRC, which is based in RTP, is a consortium of private sector semiconductor and related firms as well as universities.

Funding will be divided among six universities as part of the [NRI] at SRC.

“The semiconductor industry continues to actively work on developing a new device that will fuel the industry’s leadership in the nanoelectronics era, and the NSF-NRI projects bring together our country’s top researchers to help drive critical research that not only affects our U.S. national competitiveness, but also economies worldwide,” said Jeff Welser, director of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative for SRC.

Nanotechnology is viewed as a means of shrinking the size of components as well as decreasing the amount of power needed to switch transistors on and off, the SRC says.

“These investments in nanoelectronics align closely with NSF’s support for engineering and scientific research that furthers discovery,” said Lawrence Goldberg, senior engineering advisor at NSF, in a statement. “We believe these supplemental grants, which support graduate students and postdoctoral associates, will create innovative technologies and help find a solution to this significant issue facing the semiconductor industry today.”

The six centers are located at Columbia, Princeton, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Penn State, Stanford and University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.

SRC members supporting the NRI initiative include IBM, Intel, AMD and Texas Instruments.

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