Princeton Junction, New Jersey–Nov. 13, 2000–Discovery Semiconductors, Inc., has been awarded U.S. Patent No. 6,137,171, entitled ‘Lightweight miniaturized integrated micro-satellite employing advanced semiconductor processing and packaging technology.’
“The packaging and interconnect technology described by this patent will enable a new generation of low-cost electronics,” says Abhay Joshi, the inventor and CEO of Discovery Semiconductors.
Conventional satellites are ten times larger and heavier than the patented design, reports the company, due to the bulk of packaging separate functions in individual subassemblies. By using the company’s capabilities to design and fabricate optoelectronic integrated circuits (OEICs) on gallium arsenide (GaAs) and silicon wafers, complete subsystems of the electronic module can be fabricated on individual wafers. These wafers are then stacked in a cylindrical central housing and interconnected to the module via contacts on the circumference of the wafers. Selected signals can be sent between wafers using light sources and detectors onto the wafers via methods also patented by Discovery Satellite. For example, the RF communications antenna could be fabricated on the wafer facing earth with one of the company’s wide bandwidth detectors at its center. The antenna drive signal would be communicated from the signal-processing wafer via an integrated semiconductor laser, according to the company, and eliminate the need for bulky RF interconnects.