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Sandia Receives "Trusted Foundry" Accreditation from DoD

Published on September 24, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Sandia National Laboratories' silicon fabrication facility in Albuquerque, N.M., has been accredited by the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide "trusted foundry" services for both unclassified and classified integrated circuits. The foundry accreditation represents an increase in scope to Sandia's already-existing accreditation for design services.

The accreditation program is part of DoD's strategy to ensure that electronic components used in U.S. military and national security applications are trustworthy. Certification is necessary because the increasing offshore migration of all sectors of the microelectronics industry comes at a time of increasing demand for high-performance, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) from U.S. military and national security agencies.

Sandia's Category 1A status, which requires the most stringent protection measures, was awarded through the Trusted IC Supplier Accreditation Program of the DoD's Defense MicroElectronics Activity (DMEA).

The trusted foundry accreditation is for Sandia's strategically radiation-hardened, 3.3-volt, 0.35-micrometer, SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) CMOS (a widely used type of semiconductor) process which produces custom low-volume, high reliability ASICs. Sandia's silicon fab is optimized for radiation-hardened, analog and mixed-signal microelectronics, custom digital ASICs and discrete devices. Sandia uses 0.35-micrometer geometry to optimize performance for analog circuits resulting in better device matching, higher supply voltages and broader signal dynamic range than smaller geometry devices. Properly designed and fabricated, larger devices are more likely to continue to perform in extended operating environments of temperature fluctuations, shock and radiation.

In support of its primary mission as steward of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, Sandia has developed and delivered microelectronic products for nearly three decades. This expertise has also been applied to other national security needs. These include ensuring the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and materials, reducing the threat from chemical and biological weapons, and providing advanced custom designs for other agencies involved in national defense. Sandia's ASIC development team provides custom microelectronic products and engineering services that fulfill the needs of a diverse set of customers.

Sandia focuses on high-reliability custom solutions for high-consequence applications. An efficient and disciplined ISO 9001 certified process enhances chances for silicon solutions successful on a first pass-through. Sandia offers a total supply-chain solution for radiation-hardened integrated circuits and microsystems by combining trusted ASIC design and fabrication with other in-house capabilities in packaging, test, failure analysis and reliability.

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