The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded California Institute of Technology professor Ali Hajimiri a four-year, $6 million grant to develop self-healing circuits for millimeter and microwave frequencies. The self-healing nature of biological systems has influenced Hajimiri's integrated circuits research. He plans to develop circuits that will be capable of detecting, isolating, and fixing their own problems. The self-healing circuits would be able to change the properties of a system when a transistor fails and seamlessly add more transistors.
Circuits developed under DARPA's self-healing mixed-signal integrated circuits (SHEALIC) program would be used in imaging, sensing, communications, and radar. Also, the program is designed to continue the scaling predicted by Moore's law.
"As transistors approach atomic dimensions and run at very high frequencies, even very fine-scale variations within seemingly identical transistors can make a large difference in performance," leading to unpredictable behavior, Hajimiri says. "The way we see it, in a few years seal-healing circuits will allow faster, cheaper, and more robust circuits, making it possible to continue Moore's scaling law by making integrated circuits resemble living organisms in their ability to self-heal and adjust to changes in the environment."
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