May 19, 2020
By Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/Ivan Cholakov

Mark Lewis, director of defense research and engineering for modernization at the Pentagon, provided an update on the Department of Defense’s modernization efforts during his keynote on day one of the AFCEA/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

Lewis is focused on the modernization priorities that will inform the warfighter of the future and will set them up to be successful in the 5-, 10- and 15-year time horizons.

March 25, 2020

Honeywell International Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, is awarded a $10,340,614 cost-plus-fixed-fee job order under basic ordering agreement N00164-18-G-GM66 for engineering sustainment support services of the strategic radiation-hardened microelectronics facility and production capability. Work will be performed in Plymouth, Minnesota, and is expected to be complete by March 2022.

January 27, 2020

Graf Research Corp. of Blacksburg, Virginia, has been awarded a $49,500,000 single award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with cost-plus-fixed-fee task orders for research and development. The contract provides for applied and advanced research for the advancement of trusted and assured microelectronics technologies; trust assessment strategies in areas related to known and potential system vulnerabilities; development and implementation of mitigation strategies and methodologies to prevent vulnerabilities; development and implementation of mitigation strategies and methodologies to prevent vulnerabilities before mitigation is required.

October 3, 2019

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, has been awarded a $42,156,000 bilateral, shared ceiling increase modification (P00003) to previously awarded FA8650-15-D-1953 for research and development. The Microelectronics and Embedded Systems Assurance (MESA) contract modification will provide for basic, applied, and advanced research and development to develop, evaluate, and facilitate the transition of technologies to improve the security and reliability of microelectronics and embedded systems. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by September 21, 2022. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $90,877,000. No funds are being obligated at the time of the award.

July 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The NSF’s Quantum Leap initiative includes a number of programs aimed at advancing the quantum technology research and helping the United States maintain a competitive edge over other nations.  Nicolle R. Fuller/ NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investing in a number of research institutes designed to advance quantum technologies in four broad areas: computation, communication, sensing and simulation. The institutes will foster multidisciplinary approaches to specific scientific, technological, educational, and workforce development goals in quantum technology, which could revolutionize computer and information systems.

July 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock/Kritsana Maimeetook

The fight to secure microelectronic chips is becoming as basic as the chip itself. With chips facing a myriad of threats throughout their life cycle, experts are incorporating security measures into the development of the chip from the foundry to assembly. Other approaches safeguard against threats that could appear as the chip moves through the supply chain. The bottom line for microelectronics security is that necessary measures cannot wait until the device is in the hands of the user.

July 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Using traditional processes for manufacturing silicon chips, researchers can fabricate 1 million nanosized robots on a single chip. The robots may one day crawl around inside the body to collect data on the brain or the spinal column. Shutterstock/solarseven

Nanosized robots capable of crawling around on a person’s brain or underneath the skin may sound like a nightmare to some, but researchers suggest the mini machines could serve medical purposes such as gathering data on the brain or the spinal column.

July 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Some of DARPA’s research into microelectronics is creating automatic security mechanisms integrated into the design of microchips, which are smaller than a grain of sand.  Connect world/Shutterstock

The colossal reliance on semiconductor chips by the military and commercial industry reaches across weapons, machines and systems that perform key defense and national security functions. And while the Defense Department and the industry use secure chips, they are expensive and hard to design. To remedy that, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, is looking to automatically include defense mechanisms into the design of microchips. The agency is creating tools to manage the supply chain custody throughout the life cycle of a microchip and increase the availability and economics of secure microelectronics.

July 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The need from the semiconductor manufacturing industry to be able to validate circuits will only grow in the future, says Lynford Goddard, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Shutterstock/fotografos

As semiconductor manufacturers aim to produce devices at the 5-nanometer node, the ability to find tiny defects created inadvertently during the fabrication process becomes harder. In addition, there is a growing need to verify that a chip was built as specified and doesn’t contain a malicious agent. Harnessing optical methods for semiconductor wafer inspection is one way to effectively look for anomalies, says Lynford Goddard, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

May 22, 2019

IBM Global Business Services, Reston, Virginia (HQ0727-19-D-4000), is being awarded a $275,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.  The purpose of this contract is to enable “trusted” manufacturing flows in the Trusted Foundry Access II contractor’s fabrication facilities; to enable a wide-range of associated leading-edge semiconductor technologies and services; and to create a trusted supply chain with the contractor, fully certified and accredited, to deliver classified and trusted mask and wafer fabrication within an “open” commercial environment.  This program provides the additional layer of security to the commercial environment that permits government access to advanced technology manufacturing capabilities for t

February 14, 2019

Nimbis Services Inc.,* Oro Valley, Arizona, has been awarded a ceiling increase of $49,500,000 to their indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract with cost-plus-fixed-fee task orders for research and development. The Trusted Silicon Stratus contract’s objective is to achieve an initial operational capability of a novel microelectronics life-cycle verification ecosystem implemented to enhance microelectronics supply chain risk management. Work will be performed in Columbus, Ohio. There are two orders currently on this IDIQ. The first task order (FA8650-18-F-1605) is expected to be complete by July 30, 2021, and the second task order (FA8650-18-F-1656) is expected to be completed by November 30, 2021.

October 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
DARPA officials envision a future battlefield made up of a collection of smaller systems in all warfighting domains communicating with one another and tailored to each mission.

The director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Steven Walker, pictures the future battlefield as a mosaic of lower-cost, less complex systems linked together in a vast number of ways to create desired, interwoven effects tailored to any scenario. The agency, known as DARPA, is standing up a new program office and investing in an array of technologies, from artificial intelligence to robotics to systems for hypersonic flight and space, to make that picture a reality.

January 18, 2017

RF Integration, Billerica, Massachusetts (HQ0727-18-D-SB01); Alpha Research & Technology, Desert Microelectronics Associates, and MicroNet Solutions Inc JV, El Dorado Hills, California (HQ0727-18-D-SB02); and Teledevices, Duluth, Georgia (HQ0727-18-D-SB03), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ), multiple award engineering services contract for the Advanced Technology Support Program IV (ATSP4) small business (SB).

October 3, 2013
George I. Seffers

Microelectronics Advanced Research Corp. (MARCO), Durham, N.C., has been awarded a $15,549,979 transaction for the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research Network (STARnet). STARnet is a nationwide network of multi-university research centers that seeks to keep the U. S. Department of Defense and U.S. semiconductor and defense systems firms at the forefront of the global microelectronics revolution. These centers are focused on discovering solutions to the intractable problems that are forecast to lie in the future of integrated circuit progress and to lay the foundations for microsystems innovations once the improvements associated with Moore's Law are exhausted.