As SkyWater expansion shows, government’s role in U.S. chip industry is rising

The U.S. semiconductor industry may need to rely more heavily on government investment to build new plants in coming years, executives and officials said Monday at an event marking the expansion of Minnesota’s largest chip factory.

The growing cost of new chip factories — the most advanced of which exceed $10 billion — and the need to keep up with chipmakers in countries where government help is common are pushing the U.S. chip industry and government together in a way not seen since the 1980s.

The U.S. Department of Defense paid $170 million to fund SkyWater Technology Inc.’s third clean room at its factory near the Mall of America in Bloomington.

The company will use the room, which is bigger than the size of a football field and about four stories in height, in part to build radiation-hardened chips. Such chips, known as rad-hard and a relatively small portion of

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