FAQS

WHAT IS THE GEM PROGRAM?

Generalized Emulation of Microcircuits (GEM) is a U.S Government sponsored program. GEM meets the
form, fit, and functions of the original part by meeting 100% of the performance, quality assurance, and
other requirements specified in the original part specification (SMD, M38510, SCD), and is marked with
the required part number and quality assurance symbol. GEM is operated in accordance with the FAR,
and does not compete with private industry.

WHAT IS AN EMULATED MICROCIRCUIT?

An Emulated GEM device is a mil-quality, Form, Fit, Function, and Interface (F3I) interchangeable microcircuit. The part is supplied to the same specifications as the original device so that no parts list, maintenance, repair or documentation changes are required.

WHAT ARE YOUR DELIVERY LEAD TIMES?

Emulated devices are normally designed and fabricated on demand. For a typical, +5 V logic family device, turn-around time to deliver mil-screened parts is about six months after order acceptance. For more complex or unique devices, lead time could be a year or longer. If we have residual assets on hand from a previous delivery, we can typically ship product in two weeks or less.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Both the development and unit costs are a function of the complexity of the device to be Emulated. When a request is submitted, SRI reviews the detailed customer drawings to estimate effort and costs. All quoted prices are established by the DLA Land and Maritime GEM Program office. In many cases, the Emulation Program has funding sources to cover some or all of the development costs, i.e. Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE). NRE can range anywhere from $15,000 to over $2M for extremely complex devices. If we have previously delivered parts to your drawings/specifications, there would be zero NRE. It all depends on the level of effort required and the unique nature of your part. Unit prices typically range approximately $150 - $250 each, sometimes higher. Again, it will depend on complexity and quantity.

IS GEM A DISTRIBUTOR OR BROKER FOR OBSOLETE/HARD-TO-FIND MICROCIRCUITS?

No – GEM is a DoD funded program with SRI International as the contractor for on-demand manufacturing of microcircuits. The GEM Program recreates microcircuits from the ground up, using specialized technology as part of a MIL-PRF-38535 Qualified Manufacturing Line (Class Q) development and manufacturing flow. The centerpiece of this flow is a dedicated, low-volume, high-reliability wafer fab in Princeton, New Jersey.

WHAT WAFER FOUNDRIES DO YOU USE? WHERE ARE YOUR PARTS MANUFACTURED?

All parts are manufactured in our dedicated low-volume fabrication facility at the Microcircuit Emulation Center at SRI International in Princeton NJ. This provides in-house, on-site capabilities for on-demand microcircuit manufacturing that include: reverse engineering, design, layout, wafer fabrication, functional wafer probing, electrical and QML reliability testing. Our Cage Code is 0DKS7.

DOES THE GEM PROGRAM COMPETE WITH OTHER MICROCIRCUIT DISTRIBUTORS/MANUFACTURERS?

No – As a Government funded program GEM does not compete with any other accepted source(s). In 1997, DLA entered into an agreement with the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) to ensure the GEM Program was not Emulating circuit designs still supported by the IC industry. To comply with this agreement, all RFQ responses are routed through the DLA Land and Maritime GEM Program office that makes every attempt to locate an alternative source. Only when no acceptable sources can be found, will DLA authorize SRI to issue a GEM Emulation proposal on behalf of the GEM Program.

HOW MANY PARTS HAVE YOU DELIVERED?

The GEM Program has delivered over 155,000 qualified units since inception of the program. Of these devices, there are over 445 unique device types. Sales have been made to DoD entities, OEMs, and distributors.

HOW MANY WEAPONS SYSTEMS DO YOU SUPPORT?

Over 560 different weapons systems have been supported, spanning all military branches; Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines.

HOW LONG ARE PARTS AVAILABLE, DO YOU OBSOLETE PARTS?

Once a part has been Emulated it will always be procurable. The GEM program will never obsolete a part.

HOW DO YOU ORDER PARTS?

Submit a request for quote (RFQ) to either SRI or DLA. Include a procurement specification. Our technical staff will do a detailed review of the procurement specification to verify that the part falls within our Emulation capabilities. This review will also establish the lead time and development costs reflected in the final proposal. DLA reviews all proposals prior to release to the customer. In many cases, DLA will fund all or part of the development costs, particularly if the requested item has multiple applications within DoD.

Once a proposal is accepted, non-DOD or Defense Contractors can contract directly with SRI as the GEM Program contractor. DoD and Service customers can use the MIPR process to fund effort through DLA’s existing contract vehicle.

WHAT IS YOUR CAGE CODE?

SRI International’s cage code for GEM parts is 0DKS7.

WHAT IS THE EMULATION PROCESS?

Click here to learn more about the Emulation process.

CAN YOU HANDLE SECURE, TRUSTED PARTS?

Since 2007 the DoD Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO) accredited SRI's wafer foundry as a
Department of Defense (DoD) Category 1A Trusted Foundry. Click here to learn more. 

WHAT TECHNOLOGIES AND FEATURE SIZE DOES THE EMULATION TECHNOLOGY COVER?

We utilize Bipolar, HV CMOS, SOI, BiCMOS, and CMOS process technologies with gate sizes from 3.0 μm down to 0.35 μm, with plans to shrink further. Our technology has been engineered to span a wide range of original technologies ranging from RTL and DTL through the various TTL families, NMOS, PMOS,CMOS, etc ….

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY DOCUMENTATION?

SRI has developed several techniques to recover missing technical data directly from obsolete
microcircuits using electrical characterization and physical reverse engineering processes, including a sophisticated netlist extraction system to recover design data from silicon die. Known-good working sample parts are required for electrical characterization, but non-functioning parts can be used for physical reverse engineering. More information can be found on our technical data recovery/reverse engineering web pages

HOW CAN AN EMULATION BE EQUIVALENT TO THE ORIGINAL PART?

A sample of the original device undergoes electrical characterization under all temperature conditions and voltages. The process is repeated with the new Emulated GEM part.  This process ensures the Emulation is equivalent to the original part and meets the procurement specification.

The Emulation Programs can supply hard-coded ASIC version of devices that where originally programable devices, like PAL or FPGAs.  In these cases, a programed version of the original device is required to perform electrical characterization to ensure the Emulated device is equivalent to the programed original part that is used in the system.

WHAT IS QML (QUALIFIED MANUFACTURERS LIST)?

Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) is a certification issued by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for parts that have been manufactured in a certified technology flow that is capable of producing microcircuits of high quality and in compliance to the performance requirement of MIL-PRF-38535.   Additionally, QML parts are qualified upon successful demonstration of the certified technology flow that it is capable of manufacturing “first pass” microcircuits compliant to MIL-PRF-38535 and the device specification.  SRI International has demonstrated to the DLA its ability to manufacture GEM parts with our certified technology flow and mark parts as a qualified manufacturer listing (“QML” or “Q”).  (Attach QML certificate link). The DLA has also certified us to be as suitable laboratory facility for test methods in compliance with MIL-STD-883, the test standard for integrated circuits.

Does your company have a quality management system? If so, what standard is it based on?

Yes, SRI International’s quality management system is certified by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land and Maritime in compliance with the performance specification, MIL-PRF-38535, which is used by the Department of Defense (DoD) for monolithic integrated microcircuits that operate in extreme conditions.  This certification demonstrates SRI International’s ability to manufacture parts using certified technology flow and mark parts as a qualified manufacturer listing (“QML” or “Q”).   The DLA has also certified us to be as suitable laboratory facility for test methods in compliance with MIL-STD-883, the test standard for integrated circuits.

HOW CAN I BE CERTAIN GEM PARTS ARE NOT COUNTERFEIT?

SRI is the original, MIL-PRF-38535 QML-certified manufacturer of all GEM microcircuits. The devices are designed and manufactured on-shore in our Category 1A DMEA-certified Trusted Foundry in Princeton, NJ. All devices are designed and manufactured to the customer’s specification, such as Source Control Drawings (SCDs) or Standard Microcircuit Drawing (SMDs) only with the approval and authorization of DLA. All GEM devices are marked with the SRI CAGE code 0DKS7 and are sourced through the DLA GEM Program Office or directly from SRI International. Using the Emulation Programs avoids purchasing obsolete microcircuits on the gray market and eliminates the threat of counterfeit parts. Learn more here.

HOW CAN I FIND IF YOU HAVE EMULATED A PARTICULAR PART?

You can do a part number search on the GEM website or download a complete parts list. The parts list includes over 27,000 microcircuits, including parts that have been designated as “Emulation Available” or “Emulation Capability”. DLA also has a Standard Microcircuit Cross-Reference website. This search provides a cross-reference of microcircuits covered by Standard Microcircuit Drawings, MIL-M-38510 specifications and Vendor Item Drawings.

DO YOU EMULATE PARTS THAT DO NOT HAVE AN NSN (NATIONAL STOCK NUMBER)?

Yes, we Emulate microcircuits without an NSN as long as the required part supports the US defense industrial base. There are over 1000 GEM microcircuits listed on the DLA’s SMCR and many of those do not have NSNs. A downloadable parts list can be found here (include link)

WHAT TYPE OF MICROCIRCUIT PARTS (FUNCTIONS) CAN YOU EMULATE?

A  summary of example part type are listed in the table on this webpage https://gemes.com/trusted-wafer-foundry/ and a comprehensive description of our capabilities and parts type listing can be found in our Technical Overview Catalog (link to catalog)

CAN GEM EMULATE BLANK DEVICES THAT CAN BE PROGRAMMED (FPGA, PROM, ETC)?

No, the GEM Program currently cannot Emulate blank programable microcircuits. However, GEM can supply a hard-coded version of the final programmed device for use in a specific customer system location.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP)?

If you are referring to potential legal infringement on intellectual property in the original design, there is no issue. We are not remanufacturing and/or re-implementing the original circuitry. Our Emulated devices are designed using an Emulation ASIC gate array methodology. Our circuitry uses common building blocks or circuit elements. We are compliant with the original specification without copying internal circuitry from the original manufacturer.

If a Customer wishes to provide proprietary IP to be included in a part to be Emulated, SRI follows conventional industry practices to fully maintain the legal and confidential rights of third parties. A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) would be executed.