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Chennai: US-based semiconductor maker Coherent Corp will be setting up its first Centre of Excellence in Chennai to focus on research and development of products, including EV batteries and compound semiconductor devices, the company said on Tuesday.

To set up the first-of-its-kind global facility, top officials of Coherent Corp have signed a memorandum of understanding with Guidance Tamil Nadu and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras Research Park here. The Centre of Excellence would be set up at the IITM Research Park campus in the city and focus on research and development of products and services for lasers, optical networking components and systems, electric vehicle batteries and compound semiconductor devices.

According to an official release, the innovation ecosystem at IIT Madras Research Park led by professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala and the abundance of cutting-edge engineering talent in the state were the key drivers of Coherent's decision to set up its first global centre of excellence in Tamil Nadu.

"We are glad that Coherent Corp, a company that plays an important role in the semiconductor value chain, has chosen Tamil Nadu for its first global Centre of Excellence. Our discussions in the United States with a delegation led by Coherent Corp CEO Vincent Mattera have borne fruit now," Minister of Industries T R B Rajaa was quoted as saying in the release.

"The combination of the State's vibrant business ecosystem, unparalleled talent pool and presence of pioneering academic institutions makes Tamil Nadu a destination of choice for companies like Coherent," he said.

Joint collaboration with Coherent, with its focus on materials, networking and lasers for the industrial, communications, electronics and instrumentation markets, will immensely benefit IIT Madras and its Research Park community, said Jhunjhunwala on the proposed Centre of Excellence. "We would like them to set up manufacturing in Tamil Nadu. We will make this possible," he said.

Commenting on the development, Coherent Chief Strategy Officer and Materials segment President Giovanni Barbarossa said, "With this significant investment, the Centre of Excellence signals our commitment to partner with India and invest in Indian talent to establish and grow cutting-edge technology." The availability of talent and the plug-and-play research park, which provides the opportunity to work with world-class facilities were the primary considerations in selecting Chennai,  Barbarossa added.