30 March 2012

DARPA seeks integration of diverse microsystems components on silicon chips

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says that its Diverse Accessible Heterogeneous Integration (DAHI) program is launching the DAHI Foundry Technology effort to advance novel methods for combining a variety of devices and materials onto a single silicon chip.

High-performance microsystems are vital for a wide variety of Department of Defence (DoD) systems that provide US warfighters with technological surprise over adversaries in areas such as communications, sensing and electronic warfare. Current fabrication technology limits the types of materials and devices that can be integrated together, forcing circuit designers to make compromises when selecting devices for an integrated microsystem.

“Enabling the ability to ‘mix and match’ a wide variety of devices and materials on a common silicon substrate would allow circuit designers to select the best device for each function within their designs,” says Thomas Lee, office director of DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office. “This integration would provide DoD systems with the benefits of a variety of devices and materials integrated in close proximity on a single chip, minimizing the performance limitations caused by physical separation among devices,” he adds.

The DAHI Foundry Technology effort also seeks to enable complex signal-processing and self-correction architectures to be brought to bear. It also aims to establish a foundry capability for the production of chips using a wide range of heterogeneously integrated devices.

“DARPA anticipates bringing the compound semiconductor and silicon integrated circuit (IC) communities together for new ways to integrate components onto a single silicon wafer,” says DARPA program manager Sanjay Raman. “Such convergence would enable foundry-style production of high-performance microsystems, leveraging today’s silicon IC manufacturing base,” he adds.

DAHI builds on the DARPA Compound Semiconductor Materials on Silicon (COSMOS) program, which focused on indium phosphide (InP) heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) integration with silicon. COSMOS is now one of the DAHI program thrusts, along with Electronic-Photonic Heterogeneous Integration (E-PHI, which kicked off in November 2011) and this new DAHI Foundry Technology effort.

Interested parties are encouraged to attend the proposers’ day workshop in April.


Visit: www.darpa.mil

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