Cree is getting $15 million from the Department of Defense for research and development of new, large chips.
But that’s not all. Cree (Nasdaq: CREE), a developer of advanced silicon chip and light-emitting diode technology, is also pumping $4.7 million of its own money into the project.
The research focuses on advanced silicon carbide (SiC) microwave monolithic integrated (MMIC) techniques to produce chips 4 inches in size.
The chips are intended to “significantly enhance the information gathering capabilities of next-generation military radar systems”, Cree said in a statement.
Cree was awarded the $15 million over five years through a Department of Defense program administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory.
“By increasing yields and moving to larger wafer formats, Cree is leading the effort to significantly reduce production costs of SiC MMICs for military applications,” said John Palmour, executive vice president for advanced devices at Cree, who also is a member of Cree’s board.
Palmour said the new chips would also have commercial use such as WiMax the wireless broadband technology.
Cree has already been involved in development of 3-inch chips, working with the Office of Naval Research, Palmour added. The company said it would also utilize semiconductor technology it has developed as part of a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency project focused on high-powered electronics.
In 2003, Cree launched a foundry service for 3-inch chips. “The advanced MMIC process will enable the incorporation of integral resistors, capacitors, and through-substrate vias on a single RF integrated circuit (IC) reducing the parts count required for high power amplifiers,” Cree said at the time “Typical applications for these circuits include high power, wide bandwidth amplifiers for radar, electronic warfare, cellular infrastructure, and homeland defense.”
Cree won a $12 million contract from the Navy earlier this year to develop silicon carbide based high-voltage, high power devices and power modules to “significantly reduce” the size and weight of power management equipment for future Navy aircraft carriers and other warships. That contract was a follow-on to an $8.3 million Phase 1 deal.