UA awarded $10 million for new center

By Zach Thomas and Charles Ratliff

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Environmentally-safe production is at the forefront of many companies' concerns, and the UA is poised to take the lead in this national trend with a new $10 million grant.

The grant, which will be received over four years, will be used to form a new center studying environmentally-friendly semiconductor production.

A joint venture between the National Science Foundation and the Semiconductor Research Center, the University of Arizona will now be the home of the NSF/SRC Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Working as a team with Stanford University, MIT and Berkeley personnel, the center promises to provide research and educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduates and will be working closely with the semiconductor industry.

"A major part of this is educational," said Farhang Shadman, UA professor of chemical engineering and center director. "As such a program does not already exist, it is a fantastic opportunity for students."

Tom Peterson, head of the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, said this will be the first center focusing on environmentally safe, or benign, processes in the microelectronics industry. This particular focus is important in the Southwest because these processes will use less water or recycle water.

"We're looking to solve environmental problems before they happen," Peterson said.

Shadman said he expects to initiate a student exchange between participating universities as well as new courses for the UA.

Prospective engineers in any field can expect a "reasonable dosage of environmental training," he said.

On the research front, Shadman anticipates significant commitments and funding from industry in areas like water conservation and reduced chemical emissions from semiconductor producers.

Said Shadman, "The fact that they are coming forward and being proactive in this area is very visionary."

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