Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List


Relating to structures ranging from the atomic to millimeter scales

Showing 7 results for Microstructures RSS
Additive manufacturing, including emerging “3D printing” technologies, is booming. Last year an astronaut on the International Space Station used a 3D printer to make a socket wrench in space, hinting at a future when digital code will replace the need to launch specialized tools into orbit. Here on Earth, the Navy is considering applications for additive manufacturing aboard ships, and a commercial aircraft engine company recently announced its first FAA-approved 3D-printed part.
By combining complementary mindsets on the leading edges of electronic and radiofrequency device engineering, a pair of researchers in DARPA’s Young Faculty Award program have devised ultratiny, electronic switches that approximate inter-neuron communication. These highly adaptable nanoscale switches can toggle on and off so fast, and with such low loss, they could become the basis of not only computer and memory devices but also multi-function radiofrequency (RF) chips, which users might reprogram on the fly to behave first like a cell-phone’s signal emitter but then, say, as a collision-avoidance radar component or a local radio jammer.
Solid-state electronics began to overtake vacuum tubes in radios, computers and other electronic and radio frequency gadgetry more than 60 years ago. Now we live in a Silicon Age. Even so, vacuum electronic devices, whose origins date to the 19th century, touch our lives every day.
For millennia, materials have mattered—so much so that entire eras have been named for them. From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age to the Iron Age and beyond, breakthroughs in materials have defined what was technologically possible and fueled revolutions in fields as diverse as electronics, construction and medicine. Today, DARPA is pursuing the next big advances in this fundamentally important domain.
As a global force, the U.S. military is called upon to conduct missions that subject its platforms to extreme operational environments and structural loads. The endurance and performance of future Department of Defense platforms may call for the availability of materials with structural properties that significantly surpass current technology.