Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Electronics and Microchips

Technologies based on the manipulation of electrons and, increasingly, photons

Showing 95 results for Electronics RSS
Engineers have long wanted to build microprocessors that exploit the data-carrying and communications perks of fast-as-light photons. With support from two DARPA programs, a team of researchers has taken an important step in that direction.
Since the advent of the integrated circuit in 1958, the same year the Advanced Research Projects Agency was established, engineers have been jamming ever more microelectronic integration into ever less chip real estate. Now it has become routine to pack billions of transistors onto chips the size of fingernails.
A newly-announced DARPA program is betting that unprecedented on-chip integration of workhorse electronic components, such as transistors and capacitors, with less-familiar magnetic components with names like circulators and isolators, will open an expansive pathway to more capable electromagnetic systems. The Magnetic, Miniaturized, and Monolithically Integrated Components (M3IC), program will orchestrate research into miniaturized magnetic components with a goal of catalyzing chip-based innovations in radar and other radio frequency (RF) systems—and satisfying growing military and civilian demands for new ways to maneuver within the increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum.
Open the hood of just about any electronic gadget and you probably will find one or more printed circuit boards (PCBs)—most often in a leaf green color—studded with processing, memory, data-relaying, graphics, and other types of chips and components, all interconnected with a labyrinth of finely embossed wiring. By challenging the technology community to integrate the collective functions hosted by an entire PCB onto a device the size of a single chip, DARPA’s newest program is making a bid to usher in a fresh dimension of technology miniaturization.
Nothing is more iconic of today’s high technology than the semiconductor chips inside our computers, phones, military systems, household appliances, fitness monitors, and even birthday cards and pets. Since its inception in 1992, DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has helped create and prevent strategic surprise through investments in compact microelectronic components, such as microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices. MTO’s pioneering efforts to apply advanced capabilities in areas such as wide-band-gap materials, phased array radars, high-energy lasers, and infrared imaging, have helped the United States establish and maintain technological superiority for more than two decades.