DARPA to Take Nitride-based Electronics Research to the NEXT Level

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Big, Hairy, and Audacious(click to view larger) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to take research on nitride-based electronic devices and integrated circuits – used in tactical radio systems, phased array radar, and satellite communication – to the next level. Or should we say the NEXT level? That is the name of their research effort: the Nitride Electronic Next Generation Technology (NEXT) Program. The NEXT program is designed to enable revolutionary advances in nitride electronic devices and integrated circuits resulting in their ability to operate at very high frequencies while maintaining extremely favorable voltage breakdown characteristics. There’ll be no tweaking of existing technology. On its NEXT Web site, DARPA declares: “Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice.” In other words, only Big, Hairy, Audacious Research need apply… DARPA has so far awarded 3 NEXT contracts worth a total of $61.1 million: Sept 4/09: HRL Laboratories received a $16 million contract to conduct advanced nitride electronics research under the NEXT Program (HR0011-09-C-0126). Sept 15/09: Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems received a $28.9 million contract to research device and integration technologies necessary to realize enhancement and depletion mode nitride transistors […]

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