The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has welcomed a $75-million initiative expected to fund new semiconductors as part of the 2018 U.S. defense budget and funded through DARPA. The initiative would seek to drive semiconductor research beyond traditional materials and device architectures in search of new functions and performance levels.
This program would combine with DARPA’s other microelectronics R&D initiatives for a total of more than $200 million devoted to semiconductor and related technology research in the coming fiscal year. That amount would be supplemented by semiconductor industry investments.
“Semiconductors, the brains of modern electronics, are fundamental to America’s economic, technological, and military infrastructure,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO of the SIA. “Advances in semiconductor technology reverberate throughout society, making technology more affordable and accessible to consumers, and boosting U.S. innovation, productivity, and economic growth. DARPA’s new initiative would strengthen long-range semiconductor research, enhance semiconductor technology’s positive impacts on our country, and bolster national security.”
Advanced materials are expected to be a key part of the semiconductor R&D and future developments. For example, the RF/microwave industry has seen sweeping progress in many different markets due to initial government investments in gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor materials several years ago. The ripple effect from this new DARPA investment is expected to be felt across a wide range of semiconductor applications, including communications, computing, health care, energy, and transportation.