Thales and the French atomic energy commission CEA Leti have formed a new joint laboratory to work on RF MEMS, which perform electro-mechanical functions and rely on microelectronics engineering methods to miniaturise certain critical microwave components while improving their performance. To create this new laboratory a CEA Leti team based in the company’s Heterogeneous Silicon Integration department in Grenoble, Switzerland, will be joined by a team from the Thales Research Centre at Orsay, France, at the end of this year.

The laboratory, which will have access to CEA Leti’s dedicated microsystems development platform, will aim to design and develop high power microwave microswitches and integrated circuits based on these microswitches. The microsystems developed in the new laboratory will be used by Thales in applications including future radar and radio systems for defence, security and aerospace markets, and by other users in other fields.

Funding support is provided through national and European contracts, and the laboratory will operate initially for a four-year period with a team of four permanent staff and two doctoral students. It will enable CEA Leti and Thales to develop new components based on identified needs, particularly for Thales’ Aerospace Division.