Vitesse, BAE, U of Illinois Develop Indium Phosphide Process for DARPA

7/2/2003 - Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) announced it will work with BAE SYSTEMS and the University of Illinois Urbana Champain (UIUC) to fulfill a $6 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop advanced manufacturing processes and communication ICs using its sub-micron VIP-2® Indium Phosphide Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (InP HBT) technology.

Indium Phosphide is an emerging technology which allows direct digital synthesis of high- frequency signals, thereby simplifying the system design and reducing the number of discrete components required in advanced satellite, aircraft and terrestrial communication systems. The Vitesse VIP-2 process was selected for its ability to enhance speed, power, performance, circuit reliability and production-worthy manufacturing practices required for the DARPA specification.

Through this contract, Vitesse will further enhance the capabilities of its VIP-2 process. The new process is similar to the Vitesse VIP-1® process, currently in production, in that it uses four-inch diameter semi-insulating substrates and is designed for high-performance and high yield. A key difference between the VIP-1 process and the VIP-2 process is the bipolar transistor structure. VIP-2 makes use of Double Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors (DHBT), characterized by fT =300GHz, FMAX =300GHz, which is twice the speed of current VIP-1 transistors. The VIP-2 process has four layers of metal interconnect and includes resistors and capacitors. It provides circuit designers the benefits of both high-speed and high-voltage operation suitable for digital, analog, and RF circuits at 10 Ghz and higher.

"Vitesse, BAE SYSTEMS and UIUC embrace the opportunity to achieve the requirements DARPA has outlined and lead the charge for design improvements in their existing and future systems by using this emerging technology," said Ray Milano, vice president of physical media devices at Vitesse. "Being awarded the DARPA contract is a strong indicator to the industry regarding the capabilities of Indium Phosphide for building advanced communications ICs."

Vitesse will collaborate with BAE SYSTEMS on the design of the communications circuits. The initial circuits are for direct digital frequency synthesis (DDFS) for electronic warfare and radar applications. UIUC will focus on research for the next-generation transistor structures meant to further extend circuit performance and applications. A factor of two improvements in critical performance parameters has already been attained in early VIP-2 experiments at 0.45 microns. Further scaling is planned, by incorporating UIUC's findings, with the ultimate goal of shrinking device geometry to 0.25 microns. This will result in static flip-flop toggle frequencies of 150 GHz. The initial 18-month contract contains option phases, which, if implemented, would bring the total value of the contract to more than $15 million.

Frank Stroili, BAE SYSTEMS program manager for the Information and Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) unit, said, "Military systems and our products are following a trend toward smaller, more highly integrated, and flexible solutions. To provide effective capabilities for these systems, a revolutionary jump is needed to increase speed and bandwidth, level of integration, and the efficiency of the payload electronics. The technology developed on this program plays a major role in achieving those goals."

BAE SYSTEMS is a systems company, innovating for a safer world. BAE SYSTEMS employs nearly 100,000 people including Joint Ventures, and has annual sales of around $18 billion. The company offers a global capability in air, sea, land and space with a world-class prime contracting ability supported by a range of key skills. BAE SYSTEMS designs, manufactures and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, guided weapon systems and a range of other defense products. BAE SYSTEMS is dedicated to making the intelligent connections needed to deliver innovative solutions.

About Vitesse
Vitesse is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative silicon solutions and optical devices used in the networking, communications, and storage industries worldwide. Vitesse works to specifically address the requirements of system designers and OEMs by providing high-performance, integrated products that are ideally suited for use in Enterprise, Access, Metro, and Core applications. Additional company and product information is available at

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