ARLINGTON, Va., 23 Oct. 2009. Scientists at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., have awarded another contract for work on gallium nitride integrated circuits (GaN ICs)that will lead to the next generation of high dynamic range mixed signal technology and high frequency RF power sources.
DARPA awarded a $12.4 million contract to the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif., for the Nitride Electronic NeXt Generation Technology (NEXT) program to enable advanced A/D converters for future aviation communications, avionics, and other electronic systems.
DARPA awarded another NEXT contract less than two weeks ago to TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. in Hillsboro, Ore., to make technological breakthroughs in nitride integrated circuits (ICs). Northrop Grumman partners on the program are the University of Calif. Santa Barbara, Arizona State University and Pennsylvania State University.
"The goal of the NEXT program is to increase the operating frequency of GaN devices to 500 gigahertz while maintaining its high breakdown voltage in a large-scale integration process," says Mike Wojtowicz, Northrop Grumman's NEXT program manager. "This will enable the next generation, high dynamic range mixed signal technology and high frequency RF power sources."
The Northrop Grumman team will develop device and integration technologies for large-scale-integration nitride transistors of at least 1,000 transistors that simultaneously provide extremely high-speed and high-voltage operation. Northrop Grumman won the contract in September.
The DARPA NEXT program is under supervision of Mark Rosker in the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), which is responsible for enabling new platform capabilities by exploiting breakthroughs in circuits, devices, materials, and mathematics for beyond-leading-edge components with revolutionary performance for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).