In an ambitious move to foster innovation and collaboration in the semiconductor industry, Applied Materials, the American semiconductor company, has revealed plans to establish a research and development (R&D) centre, dubbed the Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (EPIC Centre). The company is set to pour up to $4bn into the project over the next seven years.
Located at its Silicon Valley campus, the EPIC Centre will house a 180,000 square foot cleanroom and will act as a hub where leading logic and memory manufacturers can work alongside the manufacturing equipment ecosystem. Semiconductor manufacturers will have dedicated spaces within the centre, enabling them to expand their pilot lines and gain early access to emerging technologies and equipment.
According to Applied Materials, this early access will allow chip manufacturers to start work months or even years ahead of what would be possible if they were to develop these facilities independently.
The move comes amid growing semiconductor demand and as the industry grapples with the challenges of entering the Angstrom era (10^-10/0.1 nm), which requires complex manufacturing technology. Rising R&D and manufacturing costs, lengthy timelines for new technology development, a scarcity of engineers, and the need for CO2 emissions reductions have also spurred the company’s decision to create the EPIC Centre.
Applied Materials aims to use the centre as a platform to strengthen industry-wide collaboration. Furthermore, the company intends to bolster its ties with universities, granting academic researchers access to its facilities and providing support for practical application of their ideas.
The company’s CEO, Gary E. Dickerson, voiced his enthusiasm for the venture, stating that the EPIC Centre will “transform the way global industry collaborates to enable the foundational semiconductor processes and manufacturing technologies critical to improving high-performance computing.”
The new facility is expected to be completed in the first half of 2026. It is also projected to coincide with the forthcoming National Semiconductor Technology Centre (NSTC), and the company’s investment is made with the assumption that subsidies based on the CHIPS and Science Act (commonly known as the CHIPS Act) can be obtained.