Military Embedded Systems

IARPA launches program focusing on rapid analysis of emerging nano-electronics


May 08, 2017

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

IARPA launches program focusing on rapid analysis of emerging nano-electronics
Image by IARPA

WASHINGTON. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity officials launched a new program, the Rapid Analysis of Various Emerging Nano-electronics (RAVEN), which focuses on developing tools to rapidly image current and future integrated circuit chips.

The multi-year research effort aims to develop a prototype analysis tool for acquiring the images and reconstructing all layers (up to 13 metal layers) from a 10-nanometer integrated circuit chip within an analysis area of one centimeter squared in less than 25 days.

To succeed, the teams must create and integrate solutions to four primary challenges:

  • Image acquisition speed and resolution
  • Rapid processing of extremely large file for image reconstruction
  • File manipulation and storage
  • Sample preparation

“As semiconductor technology continues to follow Moore’s Law, each new generation of chips has smaller geometries and more transistors. The ability to quickly image advanced chips has become extremely challenging. Maintaining this capability is critical for failure analysis, process manufacturing verification, and identification of counterfeit chips in these latest technologies,” says Carl E. McCants, RAVEN program manager at IARPA.

The RAVEN program is divided into three phases. While each IARPA-funded research team offers a unique approach, the teams must achieve a demanding set of metrics for time, resolution, accuracy, and repeatability by the end of each phase.

Through a Broad Agency Announcement process, IARPA has awarded research contracts in support of the RAVEN program to teams led by the University of Southern California-Information Sciences Institute, Varioscale, Inc., BAE Systems, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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