Applied Electromagnetics Jump to section
Information & Systems Sciences Jump to section
Microelectronics Jump to section
Sensors & Materials Jump to section

Applied Electromagnetics (AEL)

AEL is the source for advanced and unique radio frequency (RF) and photonic systems. Capabilities include specialty RF apertures with such features as enhanced low-frequency performance, electronic steerability, conformal structure, low cost, configurability, and retrofit capability to existing RF systems. Meeting such operational needs highlights HRL's development capability.

Advanced Apertures

AEL conducts the science, engineering, and application of RF/material interaction in unique, useful configurations. Examples include electrically small antennas, conformal and flat antennas, miniaturized antenna matching, and frequency selective surfaces. Target applications include 5G cellular communications, military tactical communications, commercial satellite communications, and many kinds of aviation and automotive data links.

Integrated Photonics

We specialize in applications of photonics realized via photonic integrated circuits and heterogeneous integration of miniaturized components. Examples include chip-scale LIDAR, laser communications, and laser air data sensing. This approach yields unprecedented advantages in size, weight, power, and especially cost for field-usable optical measurement and communication systems.

Information & Systems Sciences (ISSL)

ISSL develops a diverse set of technologies organized into four centers: Computational Network Intelligence, Secure and Resilient Systems, Human-Machine Cognition, and Autonomy Computing. The lab develops and demonstrates capabilities in autonomous driving, cyberphysical systems, and on-time prognostic tools and prototypes using data from open sources and our LLC members. ISSL is also exploring various bio-inspired, non-Boolean processing methods including spike processing and analog pattern matching. Such novel computation paradigms will one day change the way computers process information, learn and yield more human-like decisions.

Computational Network Intelligence

ISSL develops novel technologies and customized solutions. Our goal is to discover the principles and mechanisms in the complex, emerging dynamics of interconnected human, machine, physical, and social ecosystems. We extract useful and actionable information, predict future events, and intervene and control cyberphysical networks with applications in vehicle/platform health management; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); cyber information warfare; and social behavior analysis networks. These applications sort and analyze large data from the deluge of multimodal, heterogeneous and streaming data generated by interconnected smart devices, platforms, and systems.

Secure & Resilient Systems

ISSL's research goal in this area is ensuring security and reliability of computing resources that compose the internet of things (IoT). Combining techniques and theory from formal verification, program synthesis, cryptography, and distributed systems, we are developing tools for the synthesis and verification of high-assurance software. We also develop techniques for ensuring security and privacy of computations and data, and secure resilient protocols to provide reliable infrastructure in unpredictable adversarial environments.

Human-Machine Cognition

Here ISSL explores the brain's capability to learn, recall, adapt to uncertainty, and decide. Our goal is to change the relationship between humans and machines in two complementary directions. The first is to augment human performance by creating human-computer interfaces that sense cognitive and somatic states and adaptively apply neurostimulation. The second is to enhance machine intelligence based on neural learning and decision making to create cognitive processing systems. These thrusts enable applications in human-machine teaming, decision aids, threat detection, closed-loop training systems, adaptive autonomous systems, and dexterous robots.

Autonomy Computing

The ISSL goal is development of novel algorithms and software for specialized hardware, particularly applications requiring low size, weight, and power, and real-time processing. ISSL also exploits novel computing paradigms implemented in emerging new devices, including neuromorphic chips. Target applications are autonomous driving, unmanned aerial and underwater systems, autonomous swarms, ISR, warfighter aiding, and IoT.

Microelectronics (MEL)

MEL rapidly demonstrates integrated solutions to customers' problems based on unique, high-performance component technologies that enhance (1) autonomous operational flexibility through highly reconfigurable electronic subsystems; (2) system size, weight, and bandwidth through emerging high-frequency technologies that enable smaller passives and apertures; and (3) mobility and endurance through more power efficient RF and mixed-signal subsystems. MEL focuses its R&D efforts on key system-enabling innovations, while leveraging commercial off-the-shelf technologies to develop leading-edge subsystem solutions. MEL has developed four core competencies using leading-edge capabilities in epitaxial material growth, semiconductor device design and nanofabrication, heterogeneous integration and advanced packaging, and RF and mixed-signal IC design.

Integrated Mixed-Signal Solutions

Integration of novel system design, mixed-signal IC design, algorithms, and fabrication technologies enable leading-edge communications, radar, electronic warfare, and other reconfigurable electronic subsystems. MEL and AEL have collaborated to develop microphotonic, electro-optic, and electrically small antenna solutions. MEL and ISSL have collaborated to develop neuromorphic and cognitive processors. Collaborating with SML, MEL provides read-out integrated circuit (ROIC) design and test capabilities for infrared (IR) imaging systems.

Millimeter-Wave Subsystems

Integration of novel system design, MMIC design, algorithms, and wafer-scale micro-fabrication/assembly technologies lead to discriminating, compact, high-performance millimeter-wave transmission and reception solutions. MEL has unique capabilities to meet challenging millimeter-wave frequency requirements for signal routing in compact architectures for high-performance front-end modules. MEL has developed millimeter-wave radar, communications, and imaging solutions in close collaboration with AEL.

RF GaN MMIC Technology

MEL focuses on development, demonstration, and maturation of world-class RF GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) devices and MMICs. MEL's GaN HEMTs have demonstrated superior high-frequency gain, noise figure, and power-added efficiency relative to all other available GaN MMIC foundry processes at millimeter-wave frequencies. MEL is seeking new opportunities to mature its GaN HEMT technologies and prepare them for system insertions.

Nanoscale Devices

This competency establishes state-of-the-art component technologies that can become differentiators for future microelectronics-based systems. MEL has ongoing efforts in phase-change material-based devices, active memristors for neuromorphic electronics, and diamond FinFETs.

Sensors & Materials (SML)

SML develops advanced structures, materials, coatings, navigation, and imaging technologies starting from fundamental principles, consistent with cost-effective implementation and production. SML is the most diverse laboratory at HRL, hosting expertise ranging from fundamental physics and chemistry to highly applied electrical, chemical, and mechanical engineering. We host full materials characterization capabilities, structural, thermal and electromechanical test capabilities, and facilities for component and subsystem design, fabrication, hardening and deployment.

Infrared (IR) Imaging

HRL is a world leader in affordable high-performance IR imaging, providing end-to-end solutions based on unique III-V FPA technology, enabling new camera systems that can displace HgCdTe technology. SML capabilities include on-site III-V detector design, epitaxial growth, fabrication, and testing of IR devices. Utilizing expertise from all labs, HRL can design, develop and mature next-generation IR focal plane arrays, including ROICs and on-board image processing algorithms. These architectures enable compact, multicolor and hyperspectral imaging capabilities with advantages difficult to embody with today's HgCdTe-based technology, including unprecedented scalable imaging array size, stability, and potential cost savings.

Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT)

SML is developing low size, weight, and power PNT technology for autonomous platforms using world-class, vertically integrated capability in design, simulation, processing, packaging, and testing of micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS)-based navigation and timing devices. Key technologies include silicon and fused-quartz—based gyroscope, magnetometer, and accelerometer MEMS components, microscale quartz-based timing devices, advanced subsystem architecture designs and sensor fusion algorithms. SML is further pioneering ultracompact MEMS navigation-grade inertial guidance systems (<10cm³) that rival the capabilities of larger existing systems (1000 cm³). Benefits include GPS-free navigation for aerospace and automotive platforms using affordable ultra-compact, high-performance, navigation and timing devices and systems.

Shock and Vibration Mitigation for Platform Stability

SML has pioneered nonlinear negative-stiffness—based approaches that enable high-performance (e.g., automotive, aerospace) compact payload, passenger and vehicle stabilization, breaking the typical frequency-bandwidth-weight trades associated with traditional dynamics and suspension systems. Our design tools and engineered nonlinear mechanical isolators enable situation-dependent response to shock and vibration, allowing vehicle dynamics and performance to be tuned in real time, at a fraction of the cost and power of a fully active isolation system. Benefits include improved customer experiences, passenger comfort, and component and system survivability.

Lightweight Architected Materials and Structures

SML develops scalable ultralight and multifunctional material systems for lightweight vehicle structures. These approaches include our proprietary ultra-fast microlattice fabrication capability in addition to commercially available, scalable 3D integration methods that are consistent with automotive and aerospace component manufacturing. We also specialize in multi-material structures, morphing and active materials-based structures, and sensor integration. Materials include polymer and metallic microlattice materials for structural and personal protection and ceramic lattices for thermal applications.

High-performance Materials for 3D Printing

SML is pioneering high-strength, scalable, engineering-relevant feedstock materials for net-shape and 3D-printed metal and ceramic parts. SML has pioneered the scalable use of nanoparticle functionalization to spatially control composition and metallic microstructure to increase strength through control of solidification dynamics and a deep understanding of the relevant metallurgical processes. In addition, we have developed printable pre-ceramic polymers which produce high temperature ceramic materials in complex net shapes. SML seeks to bring these benefits to the part- and vehicle-scale through control and prediction of a material's structure across multiple length scales and manufacturing processes. Benefits include reduced vehicle mass, cost, volume, energy, part count, and fabrication or repair time.

Advanced Nanomaterial Coatings

SML is developing vehicle-scale functional polymers, coatings, and surface treatments that harness nanoscale physics while providing extreme environmental, thermal, and physical robustness required for exterior vehicle applications. We host a full capability for developing these coatings, from molecular-level design and synthesis to coupon-scale environmental and performance testing. We also utilize key external partners for maturation, production, and manufacturing. We employ economical precursors and methods and address important scalability & reliability issues. Typical applications include thermal, electrical, magnetic and optical control, anti-corrosion, and anti-fouling (including anti-icing).