HRL to Develop Functional Testing Tool to Evaluate Integrated Circuits at the Nano- and Atomic Scales

(Nanowerk News) Developing effective ways to test and evaluate integrated circuits at the nanometer (nm) and atomic scales has become a major challenge with the increasing complexity and decreasing size of microcircuitry. Researchers at HRL Laboratories, LLC, have been awarded a contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop a tool to do just that as part of the Circuit Analysis Tools, or CAT Program.
The goal of the CAT Program is to develop an innovative tool that can identify die-level visual and nonvisual defects in transistors. Such a tool will require increased resolution and be able to analyze areas as large as 10 microns to find such defects.
"HRL's solution is a tool that will provide functional testing of circuits in development through a unique sensor architecture," said Dr. Hooman Kazemi, Manager of HRL's Microwave Technology Department. "The tool is also unique in that it is scalable in resolution and performance."
In the first phase of the 48-month program, HRL will develop and demonstrate a sensor that will have an order of magnitude higher resolution than the state of the art and will be able to capture very large scan areas.
HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California ( is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.
Source: HRL Laboratories (press release)
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