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HUGHES RESEARCH LABS AND TEXAS INSTRUMENTS LEAD CONSORTIUM TO ADVANCE SYNTHESIZING, PROCESSING OF ELECTRONIC MATERIALS

 MALIBU, Calif., April 12/ -- A team comprising five high- technology industrial firms, four universities and a national laboratory has undertaken a two-year program that promises to significantly advance the nation's capabilities in high-performance electronic and optical devices.
 The alliance, headed by Hughes Research Laboratories and Texas Instruments' Central Research Laboratory as principal partners, has been funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency to study ways to advance the synthesis and processing of new electronic materials. The major goal of the program is to enhance molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) technology, thus improving the U.S. competitive position in semiconductor structures.
 The program is valued at approximately $10 million with more than half the funding provided by the industrial partners. It is part of the national critical technology initiative that links traditional competitors in the advancement of technology with the goal of increased U.S. global competitiveness. It represents the first example of President Clinton's technology reinvestment commitment.
 Molecular beam epitaxy is a process, used in advanced semiconductor technology, that "grows" synthetic crystalline structures by depositing ultra-thin layers one at a time, with each layer measured in number of atoms of thickness. Devices and circuits produced by this technique can exhibit extraordinary electrical performance and unique behavior characteristics.
 The ARPA program will focus on improving the performance of what are known as quantum well resonant tunneling devices, a state-of-the- art structure that offers promise for significant advances in communications, high-speed computing and signal processing.
 The technology theme of the program is the establishment of "intelligent" material-processing techniques, including the use of expert systems, case-based reasoning and other computer-assisted methods. Key objectives include development of sensors to enable real-time control of the MBE growth process, improvement of models to predict device performance, and fabrication and testing of new high- performance devices.
 In addition to Hughes and Texas Instruments, the other industrial members of the consortium are three small businesses -- EPI Corp., St. Paul, Minn.; Superior Vacuum Technology, Eden Prairie, Minn., and J.A. Woollam Co., Lincoln, Neb. The four university participants are the University of Colorado, University of New Mexico, University of Southern California and University of Virginia. Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, N.M., is an associate member of the team.
 Research advances in MBE technology that may be an outgrowth of this program will be productized by the three small businesses, which are equipment vendors. In this way, the program results are expected to translate directly to new business and jobs. Improvements in device technology will serve as platforms for new high-performance systems to enhance U.S. leadership in both military and commercial markets.
 Hughes Research Laboratories is a part of Hughes Aircraft Co., a unit of GM Hughes Electronics. Program participation at the University of Southern California will be in the photonic materials and devices laboratory of the materials science department.
 -0- 4/12/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Herrman of Hughes, 310-568-6307/


CO: Hughes Research Laboratories; Texas Instruments ST: California IN: CPR SU:

EH-JB -- LA020 -- 4756 04/12/93 12:07 EDT
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Date:Apr 12, 1993
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