The Microelectronics Commons

Creating a foundation for future innovation and onshore manufacturing.

In 2022, Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act to strengthen American manufacturing, supply chains, and national security. By investing in research and development, science and technology, and the future workforce, the United States is maintaining its position as the leader in the industries of tomorrow. Section 9903(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 provides the foundational objectives for a national network for microelectronics research and development, now known as “The Microelectronics Commons” or “The Commons.” These objectives are:

  • Enable the laboratory-to-fabrication transition of microelectronics innovations in the United States.
  • Enable cost-effective exploration of new materials, devices, architectures, and prototyping in domestic facilities to safeguard domestic intellectual property.
  • Accelerate the transition of new technologies to domestic microelectronics manufacturers.
  • Expand the global leadership in microelectronics of the United States.

What is a Hub?

Hubs connect researchers and designers to prototyping capabilities targeted to regional strengths in that Hub’s respective technical topic areas including 5G/6G Technology, Artificial Intelligence/Hardware, Commercial Leap-Ahead Technologies, Electromagnetic Warfare, Secure Edge/IoT Computing, and Quantum Technology. Each Hub manages its own extended network of small and large, traditional and non-traditional, commercial innovators. Through this approach, the Department of Defense (DoD) is able to leverage a potentially limitless pool of emerging technology creators.

What is a Core?

Core Facilities (Cores) are entities with the required capabilities to demonstrate prototypes with the volume and characteristics required to ensure reduced risk for full manufacturing production. They provide Hubs with access to repeatable processes, back-end manufacturing/integration, and full-flow fabrication (i.e., Cores have scalable capacity beyond what the regional Hubs will be required to provide). Core facilities will provide access to ≥200-mm tooling for prototyping silicon compatible technologies and/or ≥100-mm tooling for compound semiconductor technologies.

Closing the Gap from Lab to Fab

The Microelectronics Commons program was established through the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S²MARTS) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) established by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division and is managed by the National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL).