BAE Systems was recently awarded $6m under Phase II of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Electronic and Photonic Integrated Circuits (EPIC) program to further develop ‘mixed-signal’ technology.
BAE Systems said in a statement that mixed signal technology will significantly reduce the size, weight, and power consumption of military electronic systems while increasing performance.
‘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 centre wavelengths, and silicon-germanium waveguide photodetectors.
The Phase II award brings the total EPIC contract value to nearly $14m. 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.