Versum Materials, Inc., a materials supplier to the semiconductor industry, has announced that it has broken ground on a multimillion-dollar project at its chemical manufacturing site in its hometown, Pennsylvania.

The ceremony took place on the 20th April 2017 and was attended by members of the community and local government.

The new facility will house a state-of-the-art R&D laboratory for new materials used in the manufacture of semiconductors. Scientists in the facility expect to synthesise and purify new molecules up to parts per trillion impurity levels using the latest technologies available in the industry.

The researchers will be able to assess the applications for these new molecules and scale up the molecules to kilogram quantities for customer evaluation. These new organometallic compounds will be deposited on semiconductor wafers through various cutting edge technologies for semiconductor applications. Additionally, the new facility will have capabilities for small-volume manufacturing and advance analytical and quality assessment.

Approximately 30 employees, half of which hold advanced degrees in chemistry or chemical engineering, will be based in the new facility. The company expects construction to be completed by the end of the year.

This latest expansion is part of a $20m investment that Versum has made over the past year at its hometown campus. It recently increased production capacity and modified equipment configuration to reduce manufacturing bottlenecking. Versum’s Pennsylvanian facility produces a variety of high purity specialty gases and chemicals for semiconductor manufacturers around the world, including Tungsten Hexafluoride, WF6. WF6 is used as a metallisation source for the formation of tungsten plug interconnects between multiple layers in semiconductor devices. It is an important material in the production of both logic and memory (DRAM and NAND) devices.

Jim Hart, a senior leader in Versum’s Global Technology team, stated, “Our Hometown facility continues to play an important role in our company’s success. This investment will facilitate significant advancements in the semiconductor industry, which is something the local community can take pride in.”