The Advanced High Frequency Devices Program develops measurement methods to determine the characteristics of advanced electronics and devices at high frequencies. Relevant high-frequency devices include modern computer processors, microwave devices based on magnetization dynamics, and mechanically resonant nanoscale systems. Effectively, these devices take a signal in, process or modify it, and send the signal out. We measure the overall device characteristics, which are usually very different from the characteristics of the constituent building blocks. When we think of “advanced devices” we refer to something that is 5 to 20 years from production or implementation; “high frequencies” are between 1 gigahertz and 1 terahertz.
The primary goal of this program is metrology that enables advanced high-frequency device (electronics) development. Based on current trends in high-frequency electronics, we are focusing on metrology for two classes of devices: (1) high-frequency nanoscale devices (bringing high-frequency to the nanoscale) and (2) high-frequency devices based on novel materials (bringing high-frequency to new materials).
By learning how to fabricate and measure specific devices, we will develop metrology that is broadly applicable to whole classes of devices. The electronics research and development community (industry, government, academia) needs the metrological tools we are developing to discern between which high-frequency device paradigms they should pursue and which they should abandon. The impact of these developments on the electronics industry will be immense. There are several industrial consortia created just to pursue research of advanced devices. On the one hand they recognize that quantitative measurement will make a major contribution to these efforts. On the other hand, these industrial entities are not able to clearly articulate their measurement needs. In addition to clarifying and providing the measurement needs, our work in this field can enable new functionality that goes beyond "conventional" electronics. The initial investment in this area has yielded several specific achievements: broadband characterization of nanotubes, advances in near-field microwave microscopy, and superconducting microwave power limiters. External agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), have recognized the value of this program and have invested accordingly. Over the course of the next five to ten years, we will become leaders in this field and make an impact in several areas, including electronics beyond complementary metal-oxide semiconductors (CMOS).