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US Commerce Department inks deal with Google to develop chips for researchers

The news breaks weeks after the US restricted CHIPS-funded companies' investments in China

The US Commerce Department has announced its cooperative research and development agreement with Google to manufacture chips that will facilitate researchers' efforts to develop new nanotech-based semiconductor devices.

Per reports, the chips will be manufactured by semiconductor company SkyWater Technology at its Bloomington, Minnesota, semiconductor foundry.

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Back in July, the solely US-owned pure-play silicon foundry SkyWater confirmed $15 million in funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for the development of an open-source chip design platform.

Following the agreement, Google will pay the initial cost of setting up production and subsidize the first production run. NIST, with university research partners, is tasked with designing the circuitry for the chips.

The University of Michigan, the University of Maryland, George Washington University, Brown University, and Carnegie Mellon University, are among the partners that will contribute to the chip design. 

"NIST anticipates designing as many as 40 different chips optimized for different applications. Because the chip designs will be open source, researchers will be able to pursue new ideas without restriction and share data and device designs freely," the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The news breaks weeks after the US blocked CHIPS-funded companies from investing in China. The Commerce Department will reportedly accept applications from companies for the CHIPS funding no later than February 2023. 

The US Senate’s "Chips and Science" Act, passed on July 27, pledges $52 billion in subsidies for US semiconductor manufacturers.

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