USC Viterbi’s Information Sciences Institute awarded over $30M to design defect-free electronic chips

A research team lead by Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering has been awarded a $30.9 million federal contract under the Rapid Analysis of Various Emerging Nanoelectronics (RAVEN) program, by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), to develop tools capable of imaging the smallest of features in modern silicon integrated circuit chips.

The tools ISI and its partners develop will be used to ensure that electronic chips are free of manufacturing defects. Today, chips can contain billions of transistors that are electrically connected by an intricate hierarchy of horizontal metal layers and vertical inter-connect points. New, non-destructive, advanced imaging methods are needed to ensure that the chips have no manufacturing defects and operate as designed. The aim of the USC-led team is to develop this capability.

The research team will be led by Principal Investigator John Damoulakis, a senior Director for Advanced Electronics at USC ISI. The team includes researchers from the Information Sciences Institute, USC’s Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), an entity of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

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–published March 29, 2017