Electronics

Electronics is focused on specialized electronic materials and devices and circuits to achieve Army dominance over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, particularly in contested environments. The two primary thrusts of this area are Energy-Efficient Electronics and Hybrid Electronics. Energy-Efficient Electronics focuses on low-power-demand electronic components having increased performance capabilities, and Hybrid Electronics focuses on high-performance semiconductor-based conformable, flexible electronics for advanced sensors and processors.

Position, Navigation, and Timing

Increase the accuracy and robustness of position, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions for constrained applications such as dismounted soldier navigation, handheld laser designators, micro-autonomous systems, smart munitions, and missile navigation through the development of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) approaches for navigation-grade inertial measurement units (IMUs) and sensor fusion techniques to integrate optical methods, image processing, and other sensor modalities with IMUs to enhance positional accuracy.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. William Nothwang william.d.nothwang.civ@mail.mil 301-394-1163

RF Photonics

RF Photonics consists of research and development on the generation, transportation, reception, and signal processing of RF domain signals in the optical domain for applications in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR); Electronic Warfare (EW); and Position, Navigation and Timing (PN&T). These R&D efforts include research on novel RF-photonic materials and devices such as metamaterials that have specific 𝜺 and 𝝁 values (i.e., zero or negative) that can be used to design and fabricate optical waveguide, micro-resonator, or cavity devices that have new properties such as slow-light, high-Q, opto-mechanic effects, or environment insensitivity. We intend to design, investigate, and proof new concepts of RF-photonic subsystems such as analog correlation receivers, optical time/frequency transfer systems, optoelectronic oscillators for ultra-low-phase noise RF sources or long-holding clocks as well as RF-photonic phased-array antenna and radar systems. We will also pursue further development of semiconductor-based integrated photonic circuits so that the above RF-photonic devices and subsystems can be built in chip scale.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Weimin Zhou weimin.zhou.civ@mail.mil 301-394-1435

2-D Electronic Materials and Devices

The objective of this research is to investigate the growth, characterization, modeling, and application of molybdenum dichalcogenide and other 2-D atomic layer materials for energy-efficient, flexible, wearable, and multifunctional electronics, sensors, and communication devices.

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Madan Dubey madan.dubey.civ@mail.mil 301-394-1186

RF MEMS Technology

This research focuses on reducing size, weight, power, and cost while improving performance and enabling novel electromechanical and other multiphysics-based sensors, actuators, and electronic devices for electronic warfare (EW), communications, radar, power conversion,  management, and position, navigation, and timing (PNT) systems. A key focus is to extend the capability of RF systems beyond what is capable with traditional electronics through the development and integration with MEMS technology to provide highly adaptable and agile RF front-end systems through the development of innovative fabrication and integration approaches and RF MEMS components including switches, filters, variable inductors, and varactors.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Jeffrey Pulskamp Jeffrey.s.pulskamp.civ@mail.mil 301-394-0016

Microsystem Power Components

Specific research areas include:

1) Micro-scale / MEMS Power Components: High-frequency power conversion will enable fully integrated power supplies on a chip. Such power supplies are attractive for lightweight and wearable power management and distribution networks, power management for portable electronics, miniature robotic platforms, and high-efficiency antenna arrays requiring varying voltages at each element. This research area focuses on developing new, high-frequency components, enabled by MEMS and microfabrication, with low-profile and high efficiencies. The modeling fabrication and characterization of miniature power converter circuits and topologies for power supplies on chip leverages MEMS and micromachined power passive devices.

2) Heterogeneous Device Integration: Investigation of a new 3D High-Density Integration Process (3D-HIP) to create 3D stacked electronic systems compatible with diverse device technologies, substrates, and materials. 3D-HIP focuses on wafer-level packaging of heterogeneous devices with released MEMS components. Investigation of the modeling and microfabrication of MEMS power passive devices, development of fabrication processes for new power materials and devices, and development of high-efficiency materials (e.g., magnetics and dielectrics) and MEMS/micro-machined devices.

3) Wireless Power: Wireless power transfer is attractive for electronics at power levels ranging from milliwatts for body health monitoring up to kilowatts for vehicle charging, and at all levels in between. However, implementations of wireless power solutions are commonly disrupted by poor efficiency and poor adapatability in dynamic environments. New materials, circuits, and topologies are required to provide solutions that are better than the legacy power cord. For example, Soldiers are being outfitted with an ever-increasing number of electronic gadgets, each of which has unique battery requirements. An inductively coupled wireless power solution is required to distribute power from a single, centrally worn battery source to numerous electronic devices at length scales up to 1 m.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Sarah Bedair sarah.s.bedair.civ@mail.mil 301-394-0021

Wide Band Gap Power Electronics

Wide band gap power devices are key components for next-generation military subsystems. However, the reliability of these devices has not been well established, and the harsh operating conditions that will be typical in military applications are expected to introduce failure modes that are not critical to the commercial market. Therefore, investigation and modeling of key failure mechanisms in emerging GaN and SiC power devices and improved methods to test those devices are needed to ensure reliable operation.

Other specific research areas include the following:

1) GaN High-Power Electronic Devices: Design, fabricate, and test GaN/AlGaN–based high-power electronic devices. Improve the crystalline quality and reduce the background carrier concentration of the semiconductor material, as well as improve the quality of the dielectric used in field plates and for passivating the surface. Develop ion implantation activation processes for junction termination (Principal Investigator: Kenneth Jones).

2) High-Power Semiconductor Devices: Design, fabricate, and test GaN/AlGaN–based high-power electronic devices. Improve the crystalline quality and reduce the background carrier concentration of the semiconductor material, as well as improve the quality of the dielectric used in field plates and for passivating the surface. Develop ion implantation activation processes for junction termination (Principal Investigator: Kenneth Jones).

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Aivars Lelis aivars.j.lelis.civ@mail.mil 301-394-5426

High-Power Electronics

Develop components and materials that will enable the next generation of high-power military electronics. Investigate system, component, and materials implications of high-voltage (>50kV) power electronics.

Additional specific research areas include:

1) Power Control & Distribution: Investigate circuit breaker architectures and semiconductor device performance to improve the performance of 1200V-class solid-state circuit breakers. Also design sensing and supporting control electronics (Principal Investigator: Damian Urciuoli).

2) Extreme Semiconductor Switching - Design, Evaluation, Simulation, Analysis: Research supporting the Army's extreme switching needs for high-power systems. Includes surveying and analyzing Army application needs, designing appropriate evaluation circuitry and techniques, understanding mechanics and safety of working with high power, evaluating and analyzing components, collaborating with external research partners, developing models of devices and applications, and creating a better understanding of semiconductor physics under extreme electrical conditions.

3) Semiconductor Components and Simulations: Investigation of Army extreme switching needs and evaluation of semiconductor components to their maximum capabilities at high voltage, high current, varying pulse widths, varying duty cycle, across wide temperature ranges. Includes circuit design, measurement technique, data analysis, and study of semiconductor physics. Implement models and active simulations of existing or future semiconductor components, and develop an understanding of semiconductor physics and how to incorporate laboratory measurements with simulations (Principal Investigators: Heather O'Brien, Aderinto Ogunniyi).

4) Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Packaging Materials and Technologies: Investigate novel packaging materials and technologies for high-temperature and high-voltage power electronics applications to enable the next-generation of high-power military electronics (Principal Investigator: Dimeji Ibitayo).

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Charles (Wes) Tipton charles.w.tipton6.civ@mail.mil 301-394-5209

Emerging Electronic Devices

This work focuses on areas of modeling, processing, fabrication, and metrology of advanced investigating devices that exploit emerging electronic materials and devices to enable more efficient high-frequency circuits.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Tony Ivanov tony.g.ivanov.civ@mail.mil 301-394-3568

Advanced Concepts for RF Antennas

As the Army moves toward multi-mission platforms, functionality of disparate radio frequency (RF) systems must be integrated into a single system. This requires planar and vertical integration of apertures, substrates, and feed networks to enable multiple modes of operation.  Additive manufacturing is a disruptive technology that expands the design space for RF engineers allowing the ability to design and fabricate antennas not realizable through traditional manufacturing methods.

Principal Investigator:

Mr. Eric Adler eric.d.adler.civ@mail.mil 301-394-0933

III-V RF Electronics

Efforts in RF Electronics at ARL primarily entail exploitation of GaN devices and millimeter-wave integrated circuits for direct application to communication and sensing (e.g., radar).

Principal Investigator:

Mr. Edward Viveiros edward.a.viveiros2.civ@mail.mil 301-394-0930

Energy-Efficient Electronics

This research focuses on reducing the electronic load on the Soldier by addressing the demand side of the electronics that will underpin communications, computing, and sensing gear on the Soldier.  It consists of four focus area: novel materials & devices, advanced circuit topologies, heterogeneous integration, and waveform enhancement.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. James Wilson james.e.wilson889.civ@mail.mil 301-394-0328

Specialty Electronic Materials and Sensors Cleanroom (SEMASC)

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Specialty Electronic Materials and Sensors Cleanroom (SEMASC) currently occupies 10,000 square feet of class 100 and 4800 square feet of class 10 cleanroom space and is a unique research asset for the US Army and the domestic research community.  The facility houses an extensive array of micro- and nano-fabrication tools, which enable researchers to work with new materials, engineer materials with unique microstructures, realize a wide array of sensors and devices, and assemble devices into ultra-compact multi-functional systems.  Flexible and extensive processing technologies exist within the facility to work with silicon-based materials, III-V and II-VI compounds, biomaterials, and energetic materials to fabricate devices with critical dimensions down to 10 nm.  It is an unparalleled resource for achieving future Army systems with aggressive Size Weight and Power (SWaP) requirements.  Additionally, product costs scale favorably with volume; and the performance and functionality of many devices improve with reducing dimensions.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Paul Sunal paul.d.sunal.civ@mail.mil 301-394-1374

Semiconductor Research Nanofabrication Center (SRNC)

The Semiconductor Research Nanofabrication Center (SRNC) is a vehicle to enable collaboration between a broad set of regional research nanofabrication facilities to provide government, academia, and industry with a more robust and complete research nanofabrication and metrology capability.  The accessible benefits from membership include the following:

  • Serves as a platform for building local fabrication facility community and marketing expertise of member facilities.
  • Provides potential investors perspective on available intellectual property and a clearly defined path to licensing.
  • Enables rapid development of prototypes using advanced materials with modest investment.
  • Increases exposure of technology, lab use, and accelerated technology transition.
  • Provides access to comprehensive resources and materials for the rapid realization and transition of sophisticated nano-devices and systems.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Paul Sunal paul.d.sunal.civ@mail.mil 301-394-1374