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AI could be a game-changer for chemicals used to make chips

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Laboratory technician inspecting pharmaceutical manufacturing in contamination controlled room

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The US government plans to partner with the European Union on an AI initiative to eliminate harmful chemicals from the chip manufacturing process, according to Bloomberg.

The US and EU have developed a proposed alliance in which government agencies would use AI to determine how manufacturers can eliminate polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) from the semiconductor manufacturing process. The proposed plan is part of broader negotiations at U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council meetings being held this week in Belgium.

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“We plan to continue working to identify opportunities for cooperative research on alternatives to the use of per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in chips,” the statement said, according to Bloomberg. “For example, we plan to explore the use of AI and digital twin capabilities to accelerate the discovery of suitable materials to replace PFAS in semiconductor manufacturing.

PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” have been used in the manufacturing process for years. However, they are almost impossible to break down and often appear in the products that humans use and consume. Indeed, PFAS have been found in almost every technological device, in the foods humans eat, and even in their bodies, raising potential health risks. PFAS also contribute to pollution worldwide.

Bloomberg’s sources say the U.S. and EU are concerned that China continues to invest heavily in the production of mature semiconductors that, while low-power, are widely used in industrial applications and governmental. The West is reportedly concerned that in the absence of new manufacturing processes, China could consolidate its position as the go-to for all mature chips, creating an even more serious international security problem.

Regardless, the statement between the US and EU does not specify exactly how the countries plan to use AI to combat the problem. The proposed plan also does not specify how long it would take to address PFAS use. Indeed, the declaration between the United States and the EU is decidedly poor in details.

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“We intend, where appropriate, to continue to collect and share non-confidential information and commercial information on non-commercial policies and practices, to engage in consultation on planned actions and to develop joint measures or cooperatives to address distorting effects in the global supply chain for existing semiconductors,” the agreement states.



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