IARPA launches RAVEN program

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announced on April 27 the Rapid Analysis of Various Emerging Nano-electronics—“RAVEN”—program, a multi-year research effort to develop tools to rapidly image current and future integrated circuit chips.

“As semiconductor technology continues to follow Moore’s Law, each new generation of chips has smaller geometries and more transistors. The ability to quickly image advanced chips has become extremely challenging. Maintaining this capability is critical for failure analysis, process manufacturing verification, and identification of counterfeit chips in these latest technologies,” said Carl McCants, RAVEN program manager at IARPA.

The goal of the RAVEN program is to develop a prototype analysis tool for acquiring the images and reconstructing all layers (up to 13 metal layers) from a 10-nanometer integrated circuit chip within an analysis area of 1 centimeter squared in less than 25 days. To be successful, the performer teams must create and integrate solutions to four primary challenges: image acquisition speed and resolution, rapid processing of extremely large file for image reconstruction, file manipulation and storage, and sample preparation.

The RAVEN program is divided into three phases. While each IARPA-funded research team offers a unique approach, the teams must achieve a demanding set of metrics for time, resolution, accuracy, and repeatability by the end of each phase.

Through a competitive Broad Agency Announcement process, IARPA has awarded research contracts in support of the RAVEN program to teams led by the University of Southern California-Information Sciences Institute, Varioscale, Inc., BAE Systems, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: IARPA