Uniqarta, a Fargo company specializing in electronics manufacturing technology, has signed an agreement with NDSU that will give the company laboratory space and access to specialized equipment.
Having outgrown their existing north Fargo location, Uniqarta’s six Fargo employees will be housed in NDSU’s R2 facility in the Research and Technology Park.
Uniqarta CTO and co-founder Val R. Marinov said the location is familiar, given that the company’s technology was “born in this building, in the very same laboratory the company is occupying right now. Here in 2008-2012, a team of students, faculty and staff developed the Laser-Enabled Advanced Placement (LEAP) technology for extremely fast assembly of ultra-small electronic components. The birthplace of LEAP provides us with the optimal environment for bringing this technology to the next, commercial, stage.”
Uniqarta's LEAP technology replaces conventional pick-and-place component placement methods with an ultra-fast, massively parallel laser technique. Applicable to both ultra-thin and conventional-thickness integrated circuits, the company’s solution can achieve placement rates in excess of 100 million units per hour in high density applications. Uniqarta’s breakthrough manufacturing processes are up to 10,000 times faster than existing solutions and can accommodate ICs that are up to 10 times thinner or smaller. This gives electronics manufacturers the means to build next-generation products never before possible and will impact applications such as displays, LED lighting, wearable electronics, internet-of-things, human interfaces and health care enabling thinner, smaller and flexible form factors at reduced cost.
NDSU maintains an extensive set of state-of-the-art laboratories and research tools to be used by both internal researchers and industry partners. The R2 facility features cleanrooms with Class 100 and Class 10,000 bays encompassing 12,000 square feet of total area under filtration.
“Now we not only have better access to the R2 cleanroom facilities, but also a more direct contact and interaction with the staff in this building who are and have been extremely supportive of our efforts throughout the years,” Marinov said.
Uniqarta was founded in 2013 by Marinov, a professor in the NDSU Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and Ronn Kliger, an executive from the semiconductor industry. The foundational technology was developed as part of federally-funded university research and is licensed to the company by the NDSU Research Foundation. The company has received National Science Foundation SBIR Phase I and Phase II funding along with substantial funding from other sources.
Ronn Kliger, Uniqarta’s CEO, is located in the Boston area with one other employee. Five of Uniqarta’s six Fargo employees are NDSU graduates.
NDSU Vice President of Research Jane Schuh said, “NDSU and Uniqarta working together is a great example of the type of partnership that we are actively seeking. While the company leverages the research equipment capabilities and expertise in our Research and Technology Park, the university benefits from licensing NDSU technology that promises to disrupt the entire industry. And above all, these public-private collaborations push innovations further faster than ever before. We are proud to have Uniqarta as a partner and look forward to their success.”
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