STARS Researcher Leads University of Washington in Race for Next Generation Silicon Chip

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Michael Hochberg is making the University of Washington an innovation hotspot for nanophotonics, a technical field poised to revolutionize silicon chip manufacturing. Dr. Hochberg is one of the Washington State’s first STARS researchers. The STARS program provides state support for recruitment of entrepreneurial researchers to Washington.

University of Washington’s STARS (Strategically-Aligned Academic Research) http://www.wastars.org researcher, Michael Hochberg, is making the University of Washington an innovation hotspot for nanophotonics — a technical field poised to revolutionize silicon chip manufacturing.

In February, the University of Washington’s College of Engineering celebrated the kickoff http://depts.washington.edu/uwopsis/news/kickoff.html of the Optoelectronic Systems Integration in Silicon (OpSIS) program. OpSis, co-funded by UW, Intel Corp. and the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, would make it dramatically easier and cheaper to manufacture silicon chips which combine light and electronics and would enable the next generation of computer chips.

The program creates a working foundry to supply cost-effective access to high-end semiconductor manufacturing, allowing any researcher in the world to partner with OpSis to build integrated electronic-photonic circuits in silicon.

At the core of the UW nanophotonics program is a driving force – Hochberg, one of the Washington State’s first STARS researchers. The STARS program, authorized in 2007 by state statute, provides state support for recruitment of entrepreneurial researchers to Washington, bringing individuals with the knowledge, skills and ability to generate research products and innovations with direct commercial applications. The program fosters both product innovation and longer‐term statewide economic development. Washington STARS follows a model in place in many other states. The strategic direction of the STARS program is managed by the Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC). The program and recruitment is administered by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) http://www.hecb.wa.gov .

“The STARS program isn’t just a good investment; it’s the kind of investment that will accelerate and escalate our economic recovery. We’re going to come out of this recession stronger than went we went in, because we’re creating the industries of the future,” said State Sen. Jim Kastama, whose legislation launched STARS. “Dr. Hochberg was recruited to the University of Washington three years ago. Since then he has launched one new company, brought to our state $8 million in research investments, and received 62 technology patents.”

“The STARs program is Washington State’s commitment to winning the future in research, technology and innovation,” said Bruce Kendall, chair of the Washington Economic Development Commission which oversees the performance criteria of the program. “The Intel partnership with Dr. Hochberg’s nanophotonics team is a clear demonstration of how STARs can pioneer leading edge innovation and lay the foundation for the nation’s future prosperity, security, jobs and competitiveness.”

UW’s OpSis places Washington state at the leading edge in this new marketplace by strengthening collaborative photonic partnerships. Emerging nanophotonics technology utilizes photons, or light, rather than electrons to carry information. Photons provide a faster, lower-power means for moving data; a single optical fiber or waveguide carries many terabits per second of data, tens of thousands of times more than a copper cable does today. And, with silicon as the base for the technology, nanophotonics improves merging with existing devices thus leveraging the established silicon chip manufacturing sector. The OpSis program is just one example of the STARS program successes. Read more about the Washington State STARS program at http://www.WASTARS.org.

About the Washington Economic Development Commission
The Washington Economic Development Commission is an independent, non-partisan commission charged by the Washington Legislature with the mission of creating a comprehensive statewide strategy to guide investments in economic development, infrastructure, workforce training, small business assistance, technology transfer and export assistance. The WEDC membership is comprised of business, labor, academic, and association and government leaders. http://www.wedc.wa.gov

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