One man’s trash is another man’s treasure; and to that point, one man’s clean room full of old semiconductor manufacturing equipment is another’s vision for the future of custom-chipmaking.
So when a company called SVTC had to sell the assets of what used to be the Sematech manufacturing gear in Austin, Texas, Dave Anderson, the CEO and president of Novati snapped it up. Anderson envisioned taking this small fab, where he had worked for SVTC Technologies for years, and turning it into a place where people could get unique chips made in small production runs. So in October 2012 he founded Novati, a custom fab shop for a new type of chip manufacturing, and the company is launching the new facility Monday.
While this is a pretty esoteric service, it’s poised to become an important one as biology and computer sciences converge and as more application arrise that use new materials as opposed to simply trying to cram more transistors on a chip. The company has developed a new type of image sensor for someone trying to build a better camera, it has integrated some DNA testing devices onto a chip and it has improved night vision goggles for the military by putting a different type of material on top of the traditional silicon used by chips. In doing these things, Novati has become a data point in the the upheaval hitting the chip world.
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