The Microfabrication Technology Laboratory (MTL) provides engineering, prototyping, and production services that enable transition of differentiating semiconductor and microfabrication technologies for our owners, as well as our aerospace and defense customers. With over 25 years of microfabrication experience, MTL offers a fully equipped cleanroom facility and technical team with extensive process development and integration knowledge. MTL also collaborates with commercial customers to develop and prototype their emerging technologies and fulfill pilot production needs.  Our team can transfer manufacturing sequences to our cleanroom for a low initial cost with flexible contracting and intellectual property terms and conditions.

Core Competencies

At 10,000 square feet, our ISO Level 4 cleanroom supports multiple product lines and is a DoD/NSA Category 1A Trusted Foundry. MTL fabricates certain products in accordance with HRL’s AS9100 certification. Our manufacturing capabilities and full product support include:

Epitaxial Growth

Our epitaxial growth and thermal processing modules have leading-edge tools and an experienced staff to collaborate on a variety of material fabrication and annealing processes. Our molecular beam epitaxy tools include III-N and III- As/Sb chambers. Metal organic chemical vapor deposition capabilities include Aixtron, Thomas Swan, and Emcore systems. We have 6 rapid thermal processors capable of temperatures from 275 to 1200° C, 4 atmospheric bake ovens, a vacuum oven, and a complement of atmospheric and vacuum hot plates. Our tools for organic synthesis and inorganic purification include an atmospheric dry oxidation furnace, a pyrolysis furnace, and a vacuum resistance furnace with inert and reducing gases.

Metallization, Dielectric, ALD and CVD Thin-Film Deposition

The metals module provides fast, high-throughput metal stacks using e-beam evaporation and sputter deposition techniques. The module has defined processes for over 50 different materials including metals, composite metals, and dielectrics. New materials can be added for research and development. Our sputter processes include high-volume, multiple sputter target systems as well as small- chamber, single-wafer, confocal, or co-deposition sputtering using RF and DC magnetron capabilities. Multiple, 6-pocket e-beam evaporation systems in the module also provide quick- response metal stack processing for lift-off and planetary conformal deposition with holders that fit up to 150-mm wafer sizes.


HRL’s photolithography module provides many optical exposure solutions in the broadband and i-Line nodes. We offer thick and thin resist options for several applications including etch protection, metal lift off, and plating with aspect ratios up to 5:1. Capabilities include automated handling of 3-and 4-inch substrates and manual handling and processing for piece processing and substrates larger than 4-inches.

Electron Beam Lithography

Our electron-beam (e-beam) lithography module provides leading-edge solutions for a wide range of emerging semiconductor and nanotechnology applications. We offer reliable, innovative, high-quality processes for fine feature definitions. HRL uses the most recent e-beam tools capable of creating lithography results that mirror current CMOS technology nodes. Our world-class scientists and engineers have deep knowledge of nanolithography principles, providing novel solutions to customers’ needs.

Wet/Dry Etch and Surface Treatment

HRL’s Dry Etch and Deposition module provides critical plasma etching and deposition, ion milling, and plasma/thermal ALD growth services. Our expansive equipment selection addresses technological needs in fabricating nanoscale structures and devices with capabilities for processing partial to 200-mm substrates. Etching capabilities include tools configured for compound semiconductors, nitrides, oxides, metal thin films, polymers, and quartz. Our systems are suitable for submicron anisotropic to higher pressure isotropic etching profiles. Our plasma deposition capabilities include traditional PECVD and ICP- CVD systems capable of low-temperature, low-hydrogen content silicon nitride thin films—enabling lift-off processes—and a reduced thermal budget. The ALD systems can de- posit nitrides, oxides, and metal thin films. Our experienced, diverse staff can facilitate solutions for today’s emerging materials.

Heterogeneous Integration and Post Processing

Our heterogeneous integration and post processing module provides product value in accordance with our quality objectives. We collaborate with internal and external customers to solve planarization, bonding, and dicing problems and develop solutions to meet their needs. The module incorporates chemical mechanical polishing (CMP), optical, scribing, dicing, and inspection tools to process single or multistack wafers with die or multilevel integrated devices. The module has eighteen tools with capabilities from processing partial to 6-inch wafers, providing flexibility to conduct benchtop or automated high-speed processing for various semiconductor materials.

Metrology and Electrical Testing

HRL’s metrology module provides advanced electron, laser, and optical imaging and measurement systems for many research and failure analysis applications. Our capabilities cover scales from micrometers to angstroms with structural, compositional, and quantitative information for nano- and microdevice fabrication and materials science. HRL’s PCM test module provides quick inline and on-wafer electrical test capabilities. These enable process control verification at critical steps and on wafer extraction of electrical yield at final wafer fabrication. Capabilities cover I/V and S-parameter data for DC/RF discrete device characterization, Pulsed IV and reliability testing in various temperatures with forming gas at atmosphere.


MTL 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. MTL focuses its R&D efforts on key system-enabling innovations, while leveraging commercial off-the-shelf technologies to develop leading-edge subsystem solutions. MTL 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.

RF GaN MMIC Technology

MTL focuses on development, demonstration, and maturation of world-class RF GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) devices and MMICs. MTL'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. MTL 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. MTL has ongoing efforts in phase-change material-based devices, active memristors for neuromorphic electronics, and diamond FinFETs.

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