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National Security Programs

Information Technology Authentication

Technology is changing faster than ever. 3D printing has revolutionized information technology (IT) capabilities to design, customize and deploy custom components, chips and circuits faster and cheaper than ever before.

Military and national security agencies are embracing these advancements. These entities are pushing the science of 3D printing to it’s technological limits with required levels of quality assurance and reliability that surpace those of 3D printing applications for use in the commercial sector. Argonne has developed advanced authentication processes to meet and exceed the most exacting standards in support of defense and national security missions.

Focus on National Security

The rapid development and advancement of 3D printing technology is changing many industries. In a matter of hours, 3D printers can produce highly specialized circuits, microchips and components with pathways measured in nanometers. These innovative production methods require equally innovative methods of testing, verification and authentication to ensure all circuits and printed logic perform as designed. World-class research at Argonne is developing cutting-edge instrumentation and techniques, and providing new knowledge about the structure, function and behavior of advanced IT materials under real-world conditions. This includes new methodologies to quickly analyze integrated circuit construction and isolate differences between design specifications and component performance.

Collaborating for Results

Argonne’s advancements in 3D-printed component authentication brings together scientific expertise with highly specialized facilities and equipment. The X-ray Sciences Division and the unique capabilities of the Advanced Photon Source brings a high-energy, high-brightness, high penetrating X-ray beam to bear. This reveals an unprecedented level of detail, helping scientists identify heat stress and other strains on materials at a microscopic level and without breaking components apart. This enables deviations from design specifications in production components to be identified, characterized and addressed quickly and efficiently.

Achieving Success   

Information technologists are familiar with Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors per square inch on printed circuit boards doubles every year. The scientific expertise and unique facilities at Argonne are pushing the limits of miniaturization, with a goal of producing printed semiconductor circuits of 10 nanometers or less. Achieving this at the levels of quality assurance and reliability demanded by military and national security applications requires advancing testing tools and methods to authenticate components. Argonne recently improved 2D resolution to to levels approaching 10 nanometers. These efforts are being applied to make 3D imaging at the 10-nanometer level both reliable and routine.


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