Integrated onto a Single Chip
DARPA begins efforts to bridge compound semiconductor and silicon integrated circuit communities
THE DEFENCE ADVANCED RESEARCH Projects Agency (DARPA) under its diverse accessible heterogeneous integration (DAHI) programme 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 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.
According to DARPA Microsystems Technology Office, 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. This integration would provide DoD systems with the benefits of a variety of devices and materials integrated in close proximity on a single chip, minimising the performance limitations caused by physical separation among devices.
This effort also seeks to enable complex signal-processing and self-correction architectures to be brought to bear. The DAHI Foundry Technology effort hopes 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 inte- grated circuit (IC) communities together for new ways to integrate components onto a single silicon wafer. “Such convergence would enable foundry-style production of high-performance microsystems, leveraging today’s silicon IC manufacturing base,” states DARPA.