New Analog Technology Facility to Be Established

Focus is on Semiconductors With Advanced Scanning and Imaging Capabilities

Mar. 31, 2010

UT Dallas and Agilent Technologies Inc. are establishing a facility at the Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE) to bolster development of semiconductors that offer applications in everything from scanning people for weapons to monitoring air quality and enabling aircraft to operate more safely in poor weather conditions.

The electronics characterization facility, which will be available to industrial and government institutions using a collaborative framework, will focus on the emerging field of millimeter- and submillimeter-wave semiconductor technology.

“One of TxACE’s key goals is to help enable the emergence of silicon millimeter-wave and submillimeter-wave integrated circuits for industry,” said Ken O, director of TxACE and holder of the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair at UT Dallas, where he is a professor of electrical engineering. “With a facility of this type in a university environment, critical barriers will be removed for research in this challenging measurement area.”

The first phase of the new facility will involve network and spectrum analysis as well as two-tone linearity and noise measurement capabilities up to 325 GHz. The facility will initially support research to make 77- to 81-GHz short-range radar integrated circuits affordable and study the feasibility for 180- to 300-GHz spectrometry in complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology for security and healthcare applications.

CMOS is the integrated-circuit technology used to manufacture low-cost, high-volume semiconductors, including microprocessors, memory circuits and cellphone chips. In subsequent phases, Agilent Technologies and UT Dallas/TxACE are committed to expand the test capability into the 500-GHz region and above as applications for high-frequency analog circuits demand a shared high-performance testing facility.

“TxACE has made outstanding progress in the past year, awarding millions of dollars in funding for analog research in the areas of healthcare, energy efficiency and security,” said Mark W. Spong, dean of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas and holder of the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering. “TxACE is an important contributor to our drive to become a Tier One university, and I congratulate Ken O and the TxACE faculty for their accomplishments.”

Added Bill Wallace of Agilent’s university development group: “We are delighted to help establish the facility at TxACE for research in millimeter and THz analog circuit design. The research conducted by some of the most distinguished faculty in their field should lead to new disruptive technologies and positively impact our industry.”

Located at UT Dallas, TxACE is designed to create leading-edge analog technology for both traditional electronics and emerging applications. The center is a $16 million collaboration among Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), the state through its Texas Emerging Technology Fund, Texas Instruments Inc., and the UT System and UT Dallas. Analog technology is vital for connecting digital electronics with the real world.

Agilent Technologies Inc. is a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 16,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries.


Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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 TxACE device

Early testing is already under way on silicon-based detectors for imaging applications.

 

Dr. Ken O, director of TxACE, says the new facility will remove barriers to research on measuring some of the highest-frequency analog signals.

Dr.   Kenneth O

   

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