With a focus on the future wave of microsystems innovation, DARPA has selected 11 organizations to begin work on the Next-Generation Microelectronics Manufacturing (NGMM) program. The Phase 0 effort will establish foundational research to inform next steps toward creating a domestic center for fabricating 3D heterogeneously integrated (3DHI) microsystems.

Selected teams are Applied Materials, Inc., Arizona State University, BRIDG, HRL Laboratories, Intel Federal, North Carolina State University, Northrop Grumman Space Systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, PseudolithIC, Raytheon Technologies, and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging.

“We’re confident these teams will help build a sustained path toward an R&D ecosystem that provides the framework for future 3DHI innovation,” said Dr. Carl McCants, special assistant to the DARPA director for the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI). “This is a high-risk mission to reimagine manufacturing science and create the U.S. infrastructure for tomorrow’s microelectronics by addressing the associated thermal, electrical, mechanical, and design challenges. Our work requires the kinds of significant research advances directly aligned with DARPA’s willingness to embrace risk for disruptive technological breakthroughs.”

NGMM’s Phase 0 performers are working to define, analyze and make expert recommendations for representative 3DHI microsystems. In addition, they are identifying the equipment, processes, hardware, and software tools and facility requirements to manufacture these microsystems. The results of these detailed analyses will inform future program phases and efforts.

Development of 3DHI technologies creates the ability to stack separately manufactured componentschips or wafers originating in different facilities, containing different semiconductors and materialswithin a single package. In realizing 3DHI microelectronics that incorporate diverse materials beyond silicon, NGMM focuses on revolutionary improvements in functionality and performance. Moreover, these advances provide an opportunity for U.S. leadership in cutting-edge microelectronics of the future.

NGMM is a cornerstone of ERI 2.0, a DARPA initiative to ensure domestic leadership in cross-functional, future-focused microelectronics research, development and manufacturing. Built on collaboration with industry and academia, ERI 2.0 targets national-level microelectronics concerns through a thematic portfolio of programs aimed at U.S. national security and economic interests. DARPA’s 2023 ERI Summit in Seattle, August 22-24, will offer a forum for further discussion. The registration deadline is July 31, 2023.