Material innovations driving industry: Om Nalamasu, Amat

There is lot of activity in IoT, Industry 4.0, etc. Deep tech actually includes semiconductors, photonics, AI-related startups, sensors, biotech, etc.

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update
Om Nalamasu, Amat

Applied Materials manipulates materials with atomic precision. In an exclusive chat, Omkaram Nalamasu,  Senior VP & CTO, Applied Materials, said: "We are doing this at 200mm/300mm to 2.9mx3.4m

glass. Growth in transistor volume is over 33 percent/year cost reduction for 70+ years.


"Materials engineering on an atomic level - is done by creating, removing, and analyzing. The idea is to reduce cost. Moore's Law is now slowing. Material innovations are driving the industry. The future will be driven by data. In 2018, machine-generated data exceeded human generated data by 70 percent. There will be an explosion in the connectivity of devices. Each one is generating data. So, there is

a data deluge.

"If the computation goes forward as it is, by 2025, 10% energy is going to be consumed by data centers. AI is the new and the biggest computing wave. We apply this technology in building a sustainable world. The future will have new architectures, structures/3D, etc."

He added that materials engineering will also be applied to drive solar PV to grid parity.  Materials engineering is driving costs of EV batteries down. EV manufacturing cost will be in parity with ICE (internal combustion engine) by 2030 with no subsidies.  Over the past 8 years, battery prices should have come down 6-fold as the manufacturing

capacity reached the 100Gwh mark.


In health and longevity, there would be $10-$100 cost reduction in genome recognition. In autonomous vehicles, the cost of LiDar should go below $1,000 around the corner.

Applied's Open Innovation Playbook:

* Identify inflections early, determine high value problems

* Develop building blocks.

* Accelerate time to market.

He said: "We work with hundreds of universities and research institutes across the globe. We have also invested in ~80 companies, including 3 in India. We have invested ~$US300 million so far. We had invested in Kotak Urga, NEA Venture Fund, and Tessolve. The later, exited.


This September, Applied Materials is hosting a deep tech competition in Bangalore. It has invited startups from deep tech from all over India. VC investments in deep tech are also growing globally. It has increased from $9.9 billion in 2015 to $17.9 billion in 2019F.

From 2015-18, over 2,091 companies were started in deep tech, in electronics and photonics. There were 725 in advanced materials, 974 in AI, 1,546 in biotech, and 914 in drones and robotics, etc.

There is lot of activity in IoT, Industry 4.0, etc. Deep tech actually includes semiconductors, photonics, AI-related startups, sensors, biotech, etc.


He added: "We have grown in India, from 2 to over 4,500, since 2007. We have a collaboration with IIT Madras in AI/ML. We also have a collaboration with IIT Mumbai for 13 years. It is the center of excellence for nanoelectronics.

"People in India have good ideas. However, it may be difficult for them to scale up. We have a lab-to-fab idea. META (materials engineering tech accelerator), a major expansion of the company’s R&D capabilities, is aimed at creating new ways for Applied and its customers to drive innovation as classic Moore’s Law scaling becomes more challenging."

* Applied Materials defines itself as a company with the broadest materials engineering capability.

* The future is big data and AI.

* We are looking at a sustainable world.

* We are looking at autonomous vehicles.

* We are looking at reducing LiDar prices to below $1000.


Materials engineering is critical for a better tomorrow. There needs to be open innovations and collaboration.