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Northrop InP HEMT Raises the Frequency Bar

Company reports its Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit (TMIC) operating at 0.67 terahertz (THz) more than doubles the frequency of the fastest reported integrated circuit.

Northrop Grumman Corporation latest innovation was developed under a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Terahertz Electronics program. The Indium Phosphide High Electron Mobility Transistor (InP HEMT) is claimed to more than double the frequency of the fastest reported integrated circuit.

A transistor amplifier magnifies input signals to yield a significantly larger output signal.

In 2007, Northrop Grumman set a world record for transistor speed to provide much higher frequency and bandwidth capabilities for military communications, radar and intelligence applications. This InP HEMT had a maximum frequency of operation of more than 1,000 gigahertz, or greater than one terahertz.



The latest development was described at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) International Microwave Symposium by William Deal, THz Electronics Program Manager for Northrop Grumman's ‘Aerospace Systems’ sector. He told fellow scientists the TMIC amplifier is the first of its kind operating at 670 GHz.  


 

He continued, "A variety of applications exist at these frequencies. These devices could double the bandwidth, or information carrying capacity, for future military communications networks. TMIC amplifiers will enable more sensitive radar and produce sensors with highly improved resolution."



SEM micrograph showing ~ 30nm Indium Phosphide T-gate

The goal of DARPA's Terahertz Electronics program is to develop the critical device and integration technologies necessary to realize compact, high-performance, electronic circuits that operate at center frequencies exceeding 1.0 THz. The program focuses on two areas – terahertz high-power amplifier modules, and terahertz transistor electronics.

"The success of the THz Electronics program will lead to revolutionary applications such as THz imaging systems, sub-mm-wave ultra-wideband ultra-high-capacity communication links, and sub-mm-wave single-chip widely-tunable synthesizers for explosive detection spectroscopy," according to John Albrecht, THz Electronics Program Manager for DARPA.

More details of the research is available online via the following link: http://www.as.northropgrumman.com/products/mps_mimic/assets/SState_Amp_Terahertz_Elec.pdf

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