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MIT Lincoln Lab announces Compound Semi facility

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Advanced research facility will focus on projects such as 3D-integrated focal plane arrays for scientific imaging and surveillance, integrated electro-optical systems for space-based optical communication, and microsystems for integrating quantum information bits

Work is expected to start in the next couple of months on a long planned $279 million project to build a Compound Semiconductor laboratory – Microsystem Integration Facility (CSL-MIF) at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the US.

The project is funded by the US Air Force military construction (MILCON) program, under the direction of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), who will manage the building of the 160,000-square-foot, three-story facility. Lincoln Laboratory will install and calibrate the facility’s fabrication equipment. Of the 160,000 square feet, 35,000 will be high-end clean room space.

The CSL-MIF building project has been over a decade in the making. In 2014, the US Department of Defense acknowledged a critical need for Lincoln Laboratory facility modernisation, and the CSL-MIF was one of two MILCON building projects. The second building project programmed for MILCON funding is a new Engineering Prototyping Facility (EPF) for establishing advanced fabrication and integration laboratories for large system prototypes. Together, the CSL-MIF and EPF make up a larger facility modernisation effort called the West Laboratory Project.

“The CSL-MIF will enable the most advanced microelectronics research and prototyping in critically important national security areas for decades to come. We look forward to the many technology advances that will be developed through the combination of this new laboratory and our outstanding staff,” says Lincoln Laboratory director Eric Evans.

When finished, the CSL-MIF will enable scientists and engineers to grow, fabricate, and characterise compound semiconductors and package specialised heterogeneously integrated electronic prototypes.

Technologies of focus will include 3D-integrated focal plane arrays for scientific imaging and surveillance, integrated electro-optical systems for space-based optical communication, superconducting microsystems for integrating quantum information bits (qubits), and advanced 3D-ladar imaging systems.

The capabilities of the CSL-MIF will be complementary to those of the laboratory’s existing Microelectronics Laboratory (ML), the US government’s most advanced silicon-based research and advanced prototyping fabrication facility.

“The combination of the new CSL-MIF with our existing ML infrastructure will be a powerful and differentiating resource for the laboratory in the advanced microelectronics area. The two facilities together will allow us to explore and demonstrate complex heterogeneously integrated microsystems that could not be realized without access to the capabilities provided by these two specialised facilities,” says Craig Keast, associate head of the the laboratory's Advanced Technology Division and technical lead on the CSL-MIF project.

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