Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Information Microsystems

Relating to computer and other digital electronic systems

Showing 9 results for Microsystems + Resources RSS
Carver Mead was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1934 and holds B.S. (1956), M.S. (1957), and Ph.D. (1959) degrees in electrical engineering, all from Caltech.
Microelectronics support nearly all Department of Defense (DoD) activities, enabling capabilities such as the global positioning system, radar, command and control, and communications. Ensuring secure access to leading-edge microelectronics, however, is a challenge. The changing global semiconductor industry and the sophistication of U.S. adversaries, who might target military electronic components, suggest the need for an updated microelectronics security framework.
Since its inception in 1991, DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has been working to create and prevent strategic surprise through investments in compact microelectronic components such as microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices. MTO-derived innovations and 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.
In this episode DARPA’s podcast, MTO program manager Dan Green discusses the Agency’s work to develop semiconductor materials, among them gallium arsenide and now gallium nitride, that open pathways to both military and civilian technology in categories spanning from electronic warfare to radar to communications.
For many years beginning in 1994, DARPA provided substantial funding in the then emergent arena of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMs). With lineage in microelectronics technology, MEMs researchers cleverly adapted standard semiconductor-fabrication methods to fabricate miniature mechanical structures such as flexible membranes, cantilevers, and even trains of interdigitated gears, and integrated these with electronics to create a menagerie of MEM systems. Among the target deliverables for the DoD were inertial navigation devices for smartening up weapons and tracking soldiers, miniaturized “laboratories on a chip” for such uses as detecting biological weapons in the field, and optical switches and displays. DARPA’s patient support is widely credited with adding consequential momentum to the field of MEMs, which since has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar market in the military and civilian sectors.