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THz Heterogeneous Integration for Next generation Communications (THINC)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0022809
Agency Tracking Number: 0000266454
Amount: $200,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C54-19d
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-06-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-06-26
Small Business Information
1114 Corto Camino Ontare
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
United States
DUNS: 117158465
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Green
 (704) 578-2545
Business Contact
 Daniel Green
Phone: (704) 578-2545
Research Institution

Project Summary This proposal introduces a novel semiconductor manufacturing approach to fabricate
mm-Wave analog circuits that will enable future 5G and 6G communication networks to expand their
bandwidth by orders of magnitude at an energy efficiency and cost structure that supports rapid
proliferation. The benefits of advanced networking have far reaching implications including improved
manufacturing efficiency broadly (with more informed processes) as well as enabling less intensive use of
daily resources by, for example, enabling telecommuting. The proposed effort combines high performance
compound semiconductors with silicon-scale manufacturing to realize a “beyond Moore’s Law” capability
for heterogeneous integration. This combination of technologies is critical and timely. Compound
semiconductor device technologies including Indium Phosphide, Gallium Arsenide, and Gallium Nitride
offer tremendous potential for higher energy efficiency and output power at millimeter-wave bands that
exceed the capability of conventional silicon processes. In particular, Indium Phosphide heterojunction
bipolar transistors are the fastest semiconductor transistors that have been demonstrated but remain niche
to a few millimeter-wave applications due to the inability to scale to an 8” manufacturing process.
Conversely, Silicon technology has scaled to 12” manufacturing and achieves low cost for high volume
markets but has fundamental performance limits. Each of these foundry models is also segregated by their
specific markets. This proposal describes an approach that will add flexibility to millimeter-wave integrated
circuit manufacturing that can be realized at a fraction of the direct investment than would be needed for
conventional process evolution and with the ability to deliver circuits into the terahertz frequency regime.
The central heterogeneous integration innovation is a pseudolithic integrated circuit built from compound
semiconductor transistors integrated onto a silicon interposer. Therefore, the chip comprises various
transistor chiplets that need not be from a single device technology. Furthermore, the interposer offers a
low-cost alternative for integration of digital components in close proximity with analog components. The
approach can tap into the available compound semiconductor facilities based in the domestic semiconductor
industry and build heterogeneous solutions within a US-centric manufacturing model.
Phase I will integrate an Indium Phosphide transistor into silicon and demonstrate that ultra-high frequency
performance is retained up to frequencies as high as 500 GHz, exceeding the capability of current SiGe
foundries. Under Phase I, the company will investigate scaling an integration process including choice of
dielectric materials to preserve the high-frequency performance of transistors and the yield and performance
impact of the heterogeneous integration as measured by maximum operating frequency. By collecting the
statistics on the yield of the process, the cost model of heterogeneous integration will be established to
identify the future millimeter-wave applications that can be addressed by this technology. Successful
selection for a Phase II award would address a design for manufacturability study through a multi-transistor
analog integrated circuit including millimeter-wave power amplifiers to accelerate manufacturing of
solutions for base station communications enabling market penetration by 2028. Beyond the
communications market, the heterogeneous integration capability will broadly address and grow the
millimeter-wave market well beyond its anticipated $25B market by the end of the decade.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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