HYPRES Tests Fabrication Process for 80GHz All-Digital Transceiver

HYPRES Inc., a leading developer of superconducting microelectronics (SME) technology, recently achieved a major milestone when it successfully tested fabricated integrated circuits featuring a critical current density of 20 kiloamps per square centimeter (kA/cm2).

The achievement, which represents the third generation of HYPRES’ integrated circuit fabrication process, paves the way for the company to build an all-digital transceiver capable of operation in excess of 80 GHz clock speeds. Several rapid single flux quantum (RSFQ) digital circuits were fabricated and successfully tested, among them, a 325 GHz (speed) digital frequency divider, a 4-bit binary counter, and various input/output elements.

“This is an outstanding achievement for our team and really demonstrates how quickly our technology is maturing,” said Richard Hitt, president and CEO of HYPRES. “The credit goes to Dr. Sergey Tolpygo and HYPRES’ team of dedicated engineers and scientists who worked so diligently on this initiative.”

These test results show that even with our swift pace of progress we’re just scratching the surface of the outstanding performance levels this technology has to offer the world of wireless communications,” Hitt said. “The next few years are going to be very exciting as digital superconducting transceivers, switches and processors make an impact on everyday communications.”

In digital superconductivity, critical current density directly impacts clock speed. The higher the critical current density factor, the faster the chip, resulting in higher performance direct conversion all-digital transceivers.

HYPRES previously implemented a 4.5 kA/cm2 critical currently density fabrication process to develop an all-digital transceiver that could operate at a 40 GHz clock rate. These chips utilize Josephson junctions approximately 1.5 micron x 1.5 micron in size. This new 20 kA/cm2 process now paves the way for the company to make smaller, and therefore faster, Josephson junctions that will allow its all-digital transceiver to operate at an 80 GHz clock.

The company developed this new fabrication process with support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR). The company has received numerous contracts from the ONR in its development of the all-digital transceiver.

The U.S. military is interested in an 80 GHz clock all-digital transceiver in order to meet its growing communications challenges—where harsh operating environments, expanding performance requirements, and extreme technology gaps are the norm, and where the benefits of digital superconductivity offer tremendous opportunity.

As commercial wireless applications become more complex—via software defined radio, so-called “cognitive radio” and other technical advancements—HYPRES will develop its technology to meet this sector’s needs as well.

HYPRES team members who participated on this initiative included Sergey Tolpygo, Ph.D., director of fabrication, Alex Kirichenko, Senior Circuit Designer, Daniel Yohannes, Anubhav Sahu, Rick Hunt, John Vivalda, and David Donnelly.

HYPRES, Inc., formed in 1983, develops and commercializes Superconductor MicroElectronics (SME) that provide unparalleled economic and performance advantages for defense and commercial wireless markets, and a host of other applications. HYPRES SME technology is widely recognized as the leading solution to achieve a single RF system that is interoperable across all required waveforms and spectrum ranges. Headquartered in Elmsford, New York, HYPRES is recognized worldwide as the leader in digital superconducting technology with the most accomplished team of superconductor specialists in the world. HYPRES has delivered more different and complex SME circuits than any other institution worldwide.