November 1, 2004 – MCNC Research & Development Institute, a North Carolina-based nonprofit research organization, has contracted with Lucent Technologies to provide 3D interconnect technology as part of a joint R&D project for the US Department of Defense’s Coherent Communications, Imaging, and Targeting (CCIT) program.
MCNC-RDI will collaborate on the project with Lucent’s Bell Labs R&D division, and the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium (NJNC), based at and run by Bell Labs. DARPA established the CCIT program to develop more efficient systems for communications, imaging and targeting applications. Current communications systems use adaptive optics, which have been deemed too heavy to use in advanced mobile platforms.
To address this, MCNC-RDI is joining with Lucent’s Bell Labs and the NJNC to develop lightweight, high-resolution, high-speed MEMS using spatial light modulators (SLMs). This MEMS-based technology will be the basis for a scalable prototype system that can digitally manipulate optical beams of light via micromirror arrays. Specifically, the technology is expected to increase communication speeds in the multigigabit-per-second range, and will provide aberration-free, 3Dl imaging.
Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs chose MCNC-RDI to provide its innovative 3D interconnect technology for the project. The technology increases IC performance while reducing weight and volume. DARPA awarded the Lucent contract for CCIT Phase II in April for a total of $13.5 million and is scheduled for completion by March 2006. While the MEMS technology is being developed for CCIT and other military applications, it may have the potential for commercial applications such as healthcare and astronomy.