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.

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