Silicon computer chips soon will be able to perform digital, radio frequency, and photonic functions in a single chip. BAE Systems recently was awarded $6 million under Phase II of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Electronic and Photonic Integrated Circuits (EPIC) program to further develop the technology.
"Based on our current advances, I foresee a viable mixed-signal electronic/photonic application in less than five years," said Dr. Mike Grove, BAE Systems' EPIC program manager in Washington, D.C. "By incorporating selected photonic components into the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process, we are achieving chip performance levels researchers have sought for years."
The company is taking a mature electronics process in CMOS and adapting it to add complex photonics functions -- ranging from the photonic processing of massive amounts of RF bandwidth to extremely high-speed digital interconnects. CMOS-compatible devices the team developed during EPIC's Phase I include monolithic integration of ultra-low-power-consumption silicon ring optical modulators, fourth-order narrowband optical filters with tuneable passbands and center wavelengths, and silicon-germanium waveguide photodetectors.
The Phase II award brings the total EPIC contract value to nearly $14 million. DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office manages the EPIC program. BAE Systems' EPIC team includes subcontractors Bell Laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and Applied Wave Research.
About BAE Systems:
BAE Systems is the premier trans-Atlantic defense and aerospace company, delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. BAE Systems, with more than 100,000 employees worldwide, had 2005 sales that exceeded $28 billion.
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