SOLVING ANALOG OBSOLESCENCE, THE EMULATION STUDY ABOUT FOUNDATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES

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The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Advanced Microcircuit Emulation Program (AME) of SRI International is in the process of studying foundational technology for analog base arrays.

WHAT IS A BASE ARRAY?

We have a page about it, but to restate: SRI International uses a split manufacturing process, in which wafer lots are processed through the majority of the manufacturing flow and held in inventory. This technology is based on gate arrays fabricated with predefined circuit elements (base wafers) which are interconnected by multiple levels of metal conductors (wafer personalization) and minimizes the wafer production time for emulated devices. This approach allows Integrated Circuits (ICs) that were originally manufactured in diverse technologies to be produced from a managed inventory of standardized base wafers.

DLA & AME STUDY ABOUT FOUNDATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES

Applying this same methodology, the DLA Advanced Microcircuit Emulation (AME) program embarked on a study to determine what foundational technology should be developed for analog base arrays to address the different classes of analog circuits. Weapon systems use a variety of different types of analog functions or components; operational amplifiers (Op Amps), voltage regulators, converters, etc., and depending on the desired performance specifications, the same function may be available in different processes, i.e., bipolar, CMOS, and BiCMOS. Because there so many variables, several factors must be considered. This includes understanding and defining analog transistor requirements, the necessary circuit elements required to build analog functions, layout approaches, process selection, and test strategy.