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Two engineering professors part of one of the regional CHIPS Act microelectronics ‘innovation hubs’

September 27, 2023 - By Kim Delker

Two University of New Mexico School of Engineering professors are part of one of the eight Microelectronics Commons innovation hubs recently announced by the Department of Defense as part of President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act.

"Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act" was announced this month by Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. The $238 million in funding for the establishment of eight Microelectronics Commons regional innovation hubs is the largest award to date under the CHIPS and Science Act.

UNM is part of the Southwest Advanced Prototyping (SWAP) Hub led by Arizona State University. UNM is one of 27 hub members receiving part of the $39.9 million in funding for the 2023 fiscal year. Through 2027, $2 billion in funding will go to the Microelectronics Commons program, with the goal of accelerating domestic hardware prototyping and "lab-to-fab" transition of semiconductor technologies.

Edl Schamiloglu and Christos Christodoulou, both distinguished professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will be part of the ASU SWAP Hub. Their team, which will include several of their graduate students, will be working on two specific tasks related to their areas of expertise: calibrating both RF injection experiments and high-power microwave experiments and characterizing effects on microelectronic technologies.

Schamiloglu’s expertise is in directed energy and high-power microwaves, and Christodoulou is known for his extensive RF and antennas research, which he currently applies as director of UNM’s COSMIAC, a space-related research center.

"The University of New Mexico looks forward to collaborating with our ASU colleagues in advancing the research and increasing the nation's competitiveness in protecting our semiconductors from electromagnetic threats, which is so critical to our everyday lives,” Schamiloglu said.

RF and high-power microwaves are included in the six technology areas deemed critical to the Department of Defense mission that were selected as focus areas for the Commons:

  • Secure edge/Internet of Things (IoT) computing
  • 5G/6G
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) hardware
  • Quantum technology
  • Electromagnetic warfare
  • Commercial leap-ahead technologies

The intention of the hubs is to spur economic growth across their respective regions and the economy at large. Hubs are charged with developing the physical, digital and human infrastructure needed to support future success in microelectronics research and development, which includes building education pipelines and retraining initiatives to ensure the United States has the talent pool needed to sustain these investments. Hubs are expected to become self-sufficient by the end of their initial five-year awards.

Additional information about the Microelectronics Commons will be announced at the annual meeting in October in Washington, D.C.