HRL’s Sensors and Electronics Laboratory (SEL) develops state-of-the-art radio-frequency (RF), millimeter-wave, and electro-optical sensor subsystems and components for rapid end-use in the field.
SEL demonstrates rapidly integrated solutions to our customers’ problems based on our unique, high-performance component technologies. We enhance autonomous operational flexibility through highly reconfigurable, wide-bandwidth electronic subsystems. Reduced system size and weight is accomplished with emerging high-frequency technologies that enable smaller passives and apertures. Mobility and endurance are enhanced through more power-efficient RF and mixed-signal subsystems. SEL leverages commercial off-the-shelf solutions while focusing research and development efforts on key system-enabling innovations.
Using the most advanced capabilities in epitaxial material growth, semiconductor device design and nanofabrication, heterogeneous integration and advanced packaging, modeling and simulation, RF and mixed-signal integrated circuit design, and test and characterization, SEL has developed seven core competencies:
Science, engineering, and application of RF/material interaction in unique configurations. These include electrically small antennas, conformal and flat antennas, miniaturized antenna matching, and frequency-selective surfaces. Applications for these technologies include 5G cellular communications, military tactical communications, commercial satellite communications, and many kinds of aviation and automotive data links.
HRL is a world leader in affordable high-performance IR imaging. Providing end-to-end solutions based on unique III-V focal plane array technology, we also enable new camera systems that can displace mercury-cadmium-telluride (HgCdTe) technology. SEL can do on-site III-V detector design, epitaxial growth, fabrication, and testing of IR devices. We design, develop, and mature next-generation IR focal plane arrays, including read-out integrated circuits (ROICs) and on-board image-processing algorithms. These architectures enable compact, multicolor, and hyperspectral imaging with advantages difficult to attain with HgCdTe-based technology, including unprecedented scalable imaging array size, stability, and potential cost savings.
Integration of novel system design, mixed-signal integrated circuit design, algorithms, and fabrication technologies to enable leading-edge communications, RADAR, electronic warfare, and other reconfigurable electronic sub-systems. SEL also develops microphotonic, electro-optic, and electrically small antenna solutions. In collaboration with ISSL, SEL has developed neuromorphic and cognitive processors.
Application of photonics 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.
Integration of novel system design, MMIC design, algorithms, and wafer-scale microfabrication-assembly technologies to enable compact, high-performance, millimeter-wave transmit-and-receive solutions. SEL has developed unique capabilities to meet the challenging millimeter-wave frequency requirements for signal routing in compact architectures to deliver high-performance front-end modules. SEL has developed millimeter-wave radar, communications, and imaging solutions.
Development, demonstration, and maturation of world-class RF GaN HEMT devices and MMICs. SEL’s GaN HEMTs have superior high-frequency gain, noise figure, and power-added efficiency relative to all other available GaN MMIC foundry processes at millimeter wave frequencies. SEL is seeking new opportunities to mature its GaN HEMT technologies and prepare them for system insertions.
Opportunities to establish leading-edge component technologies that can become differentiators for future microelectronics-based systems. SEL has efforts in phase-change material-based devices, active memristors for neuromorphic electronics, and diamond FinFETs.