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SAFC Hitech & Air Water Inc. Extend High-End Materials Research Services Collaboration to Support Japan Chip Industry

Local R&D Capabilities Available To Accelerate Customer Development Programs; Agreement Underscores SAFC's Commitment to Japan's Chip Market

ST. LOUIS, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SAFC Hitech(R), a business segment within SAFC(R), a member of the Sigma-Aldrich(R) Group (Nasdaq: SIAL), today underlined its commitment to Japan's microelectronics industry by announcing it has extended its collaborative partnership with leading industrial and medical gas producer, Air Water Inc., (AWI). Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies expect to continue to offer the Japan chip industry high quality collaborative research and development services in local state-of-the-art facilities.

The extended agreement builds upon the companies' foundations of providing performance chemicals to both the silicon and compound semiconductor markets in Japan, and offers Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) direct access to local, high-quality research and development facilities that can be used to develop highly advanced integrated circuits and the tools to build them.

Customer research programs will be supported at AWI's Matsumoto campus in the Nagano region of Japan. This site houses state-of-the-art laboratories and Class 1,000 clean rooms where a wide range of high purity gas and chemical related research is currently performed by AWI and SAFC Hitech. A highly collaborative approach is employed by the companies and enables research groups in Japan, the U.S.A. and the UK to discuss and comment upon newly developed data, which can be made available to customers on a confidential basis.

"The innovative, highly competitive nature of Japan's semiconductor market has proven to be a significant driver in pushing the microelectronics industry forward," commented Dr. Peter Heys, Research and Development Director at SAFC Hitech. "Extending our excellent working relationship with AWI provides valuable development resources to this key strategic market, one that we believe will continue to lead advancement of chip technology. The highly skilled scientific teams of SAFC Hitech and AWI and the world class facilities in which they work have attracted a number of Japanese multinational IDMs and OEMs. We currently have numerous programs where a customer's research engineers work closely alongside SAFC and AWI researchers to collaborate on projects."

Development work conducted at the Matsumoto facility continues the drive to support Moore's Law of developing advanced semiconductors that integrate a greater concentration of transistors per unit area to offer increased functionality while consuming less power. Such advances are expected to be achieved at the molecular level by investigating and altering the chemistry and physics of the contents of key components in the device architecture to allow electrons to maximize their required functions.

AWI's research facility employs three Atomic Layer Deposition Reactors that can deposit single, atom-thin layers of film in a controlled sequence cycle using specially designed and 'fit for purpose' chemical precursors. The facility hosts a Rapid Thermal Annealer to stabilize the crystal structure of the thin film formed and has advanced microscopy and ellipsometry equipment to examine surface topography and measure film thicknesses. An X-ray Diffractometer is available to measure the chemical composition and crystallographic structure of a film and an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer is in place to measure the qualitative and quantitative components of the material composition of newly deposited film. Advanced electrical measurement equipment allows the researcher to establish I-V and C-V plots and thus establish the flow (or non-flow) of current through the surface of the films and their substrates.

About Air Water, Inc.: Air Water Inc. (AWI) is a leading Japanese industrial gas supplier, with more than 80 years of experience. In the industrial field, which is its core business, AWI works closely with customers, offering various solutions and services designed to meet their specific needs. This ranges from large on-site supply for large volume consumers such as steel companies to cylinder gas supply for small volume customers. AWI is the only gas supplier in Japan that has a continuous support system for customers ranging from production to sales. In its electronics-related business, AWI developed the original medium-sized cryogenic air separation high-purity nitrogen gas generator - the 'V1' - in 1984. Since then, AWI has brought many innovative changes to gas supply systems for the chip and semiconductor industry. AWI has significant business relationships with influential customers in the household appliance, semiconductor and silicon wafer industries domestically in Japan and continues to grow through ongoing development of its high quality cryogenic air separation technology. For further information about AWI, please visit

About SAFC Hitech: SAFC Hitech(R) provides a unique chemistry service translating application understanding into performance materials worldwide. Through collaborative partnerships and an integrated approach from research and development, process development and scale up to commercial manufacturing, SAFC Hitech invests in innovation and manufacturing enabling current and future technology needs. Further information can be found at

About SAFC: SAFC(R) is the custom manufacturing and services group within Sigma-Aldrich that focuses on high-purity inorganics for high technology applications, cell culture products and services for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, biochemical production and the manufacturing of complex, multi-step organic synthesis of APIs and key intermediates. SAFC has manufacturing facilities around the world dedicated to providing manufacturing services for companies requiring a reliable partner to produce their custom manufactured materials. SAFC has four focus areas - SAFC Pharma(R), SAFC Supply Solutions(R), SAFC Biosciences(R), and SAFC Hitech(R) - and had annual sales of $624 million in 2008. SAFC is one of the world's top 10 fine chemical companies. For more information about SAFC, visit

About Sigma-Aldrich: Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company. Its chemical and biochemical products and kits are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostic and other high technology manufacturing. The Company has customers in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals, and in industry. Over one million scientists and technologists use its products. Sigma-Aldrich operates in 38 countries and has 7,800 employees providing excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to Accelerating Customer Success through Innovation and Leadership in Life Science, High Technology and Service. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its award-winning Web site at

Cautionary Statement: This release contains forward-looking statements relating to future performance, goals, strategic actions and initiatives and similar intentions and beliefs and other statements regarding the Companies' expectations, goals, beliefs, intentions and the like, which involve assumptions regarding the Companies' operations and conditions in the markets the Companies serve. The Companies do not undertake any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

SAFC(R), SAFC Pharma(R), SAFC Supply Solutions(R), SAFC Biosciences(R), SAFC Hitech(R) and Sigma-Aldrich(R) are registered trademarks of Sigma-Aldrich Biotechnology L.P. and Sigma-Aldrich Co.

SOURCE Sigma-Aldrich Corp.
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