Nearly all of the Laboratory’s work is performed at the main complex in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Laboratory operates a number of state-of-the-art facilities at this complex, as well as operating the Lincoln Space Surveillance Complex in Westford, Massachusetts.
- Microelectronics Laboratory
- Lincoln Space Surveillance Complex
- Airborne Test Bed Facility
- RF System Test Facility
- Rapid Hardware Integration Facility
- Polymer Laboratory
- Environmental Test Laboratory
- Machine Shop
- Optical Systems Test Facility
- Integrated Weather and Air Traffic Control Decision Support Facilities
- Lincoln Laboratory Grid
The MIT Lincoln Laboratory Microelectronics Laboratory is a state-of-the-art semiconductor research and fabrication facility supporting a wide range of Lincoln Laboratory programs. The 70,000-square-foot facility has 8100 square feet of class-10 and 10,000 square feet of class-100 cleanroom areas.
The equipment set in this laboratory is continually updated and includes a production-class complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) toolset with angled ion-implantation, cluster-metallization, and dry-etch equipment; chemical-mechanical planarization equipment; and rapid thermal processing and advanced lithography capabilities. A molecular-beam epitaxy system is used to provide high sensitivity and highly stable back-illuminated devices in the ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet ranges.
Current activities include the following:
- The fabrication of flight-quality gigapixel charge-coupled device (CCD) imager focal planes
- Photon-counting avalanche photodiode arrays
- Radio frequency and optical microelectrical mechanical systems (MEMS)
- Niobium-based superconducting circuits
- A fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) CMOS circuit prototyping capability
In addition, the Microelectronics Laboratory supports advanced packaging with a precision multichip module (MCM) technology and an advanced three-dimensional circuit stacking technology. Currently, over 40 different programs from five of the eight divisions at Lincoln Laboratory, as well as industrial sponsors involved through cooperative research and development agreements, are supported by the Microelectronics Laboratory, which is staffed by over 60 technicians, engineers, and scientists working two shifts each day, five days a week.
The Microelectronics Laboratory began operations in 1994. A commemorative booklet highlights 20 important innovations that have been enabled by the facilites within this lab: 20 Innovations Over Twenty Years (pdf).
For more information about the Microelectronics Laboratory and its capabilities, contact MEL.Director@ll.mit.edu.
Since 1995, the Lincoln Space Surveillance Complex in Westford, Massachusetts, has played a key role in space situational awareness and the Laboratory's overall space surveillance mission. The site comprises three major radars – Millstone Deep-Space Tracking Radar (an L-band radar), Haystack Long-Range Imaging Radar (X-band), and the Haystack Auxiliary Radar (Ku-band).
The Millstone Hill Radar, a high-power L-band radar, is used for tracking space vehicles and space debris and plays a key role in the national deep-space surveillance program. A broad-based observatory capable of addressing a wide range of atmospheric science investigations, Millstone Hill has evolved over the past two decades in keeping with the space surveillance community’s recommendations and support. As a contributing sensor to the Space Surveillance Network, the Millstone Hill Radar provides approximately 18,000 deep-space satellite tracks per year and coverage for almost all deep space launches, including premission planning, radar coverage of critical events, and searches. The Millstone Radar has been operating since 1957, when it successfully detected the Soviet Sputnik satellite.
The Haystack Ultrawideband Satellite Imaging Radar (HUSIR) is a dual-band (X and W) radar. Like Millstone, HUSIR is also a contributing sensor to the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, collecting imaging and metric data on space objects. It also collects data to assist NASA in developing models for orbital space debris. The exquisitely accurate surface of the HUSIR 120-foot-diameter antenna that enables W-band radar operation makes it also a valuable instrument for radio astronomy. HUSIR is available for use by the MIT Haystack Observatory as a radio-telescope to conduct single-dish radio astronomy and very-long-baseline interferometry experiments. Haystack’s research facilities are used in various educational programs for graduate, undergraduate, and pre-college students.
The Haystack Auxiliary Radar (HAX) was built in 1993 by Lincoln Laboratory to augment satellite imaging and space-debris data collections. It is a Ku-band radar with its own 40-foot antenna. The combination of Haystack and HAX radars provides year-round availability for U.S. Strategic Command imaging requirements.
The Laboratory operates the main hangar on the Hanscom Air Force Base flight line. This very large building (~93,000 sq ft) accommodates the Laboratory's airborne test bed and a complex of state-of-the-art antenna test chambers. The facility houses several Lincoln Laboratory-operated aircraft, including a Boeing 707, which is used for rapid prototyping of airborne sensors and communications.
The antenna and radar cross-section measurements facility, constructed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on Hanscom Air Force Base, was designed with a rapid prototyping focus for radar and communications systems development.
There are five indoor test ranges: a small shielded chamber for EMI measurements; two small utility ranges consisting of a tapered anechoic chamber covering the 225 MHz to 18 GHz band and a millimeter-wave anechoic chamber covering the 4 to 100 GHz band; a compact range covering the 400 MHz to 100 GHz band; and a systems development chamber that covers the approximate 150 MHz to 20 GHz band and that works in conjunction with an instrumentation laboratory. In addition to the chambers, multipurpose signal generation, data acquisition, and control and recording instrumentation in a systems integration laboratory provide a supporting role in the rapid prototyping of RF systems. A high-bay staging area and machine shop are used in supporting the development of rapid prototype antennas. The smaller utility chambers are used in developing antennas and subsystems that can be tested in an integrated RF system in the larger compact range and system test chambers.
The 12.2 m long tapered chamber is EMI shielded and has a range length of 8.5 m with a rectangular cross section 4.3 m by 4.3 m with a length of 5.1 m. The tapered chamber features an ultrawideband dual-polarized conical tip that is intended to cover approximately the 225 MHz to 18 GHz band for both antenna and radar cross-section measurements.
The millimeter-wave chamber is EMI shielded and is used for antenna testing of small feed antennas and arrays from 4 to 100 GHz. The chamber has interior dimensions 9.1 m length by 6.1 m width by 5.5 m height and a range length of 6.7 m between the source antenna and antenna under test.
The compact range facility is composed of an EMI shielded large anechoic chamber with interior dimensions 20.1 m length by 13.4 m width by 11.6 m height. The compact range reflector is a composite structure with a projected aperture of 7.3 m by 7.3 m and a central parabolic section 3 m by 3 m with a blended section to generate a 3.7 m by 3.7 m by 3.7 m test zone. The adjacent target handling room (antechamber) has dimensions 9.1 m length by 13.4 m width by 11.6 m height. Large double doors provide a target access opening 9.1 m high by 4.7 m wide. The temperature of the anechoic chamber is accurately maintained to ensure a stable environment for maintaining the reflector surface shape and for RCS background subtraction. The reflector, feed, and target support structures are located on a common isolated concrete slab to mitigate vibration effects.
The System Test Chamber is EMI shielded, has dimensions 18.3 m long by 12.2 m wide by 10.7 m height, and is covered uniformly with 1.2 m pyramidal absorber for RF testing from 150 MHz to 20 GHz. An overhead crane can be used to move the antenna-under-test positioner and to move and suspend test objects as desired. Large double doors allow access of large test objects. The facility is arranged so that vehicles can be driven into the chamber for RF antenna testing.
Lincoln Laboratory's 3900-square-foot hardware-integration facility supports the rapid integration and fielding of specialized systems. It was designed to accommodate an increased emphasis on rapid prototyping projects by providing the appropriate tools, collaborative environment, and required infrastructure. This facility, spread over two floors, maximizes collaboration between team members and minimizes the time to iterate through the design-build-test cycle by co-locating spaces for fabrication and integration. The facility is divided into areas for system integration, electronic assembly, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and conventional machining. The flexibility to reconfigure the space to adapt to a wide variety of projects is a key feature. The facility can accommodate the development of about five to eight systems, all with concept-to-system delivery timelines of less than 12 months. It is also used to explore new approaches to rapid system development.
The Engineering Division’s Polymer Laboratory supports Lincoln Laboratory’s prototype building efforts. It is used for composite assemblies, adhesives and elastomeric molding, priming and painting, circuit board conformal coating, material property testing, heat treatment, and vacuum bagging.
The Environmental Test Laboratory is one of the Engineering Division’s facilities used by coalition project teams for novel ground-based, sea-based, airborne, and space-based systems for demonstration. The laboratory supports both small, rapid development efforts and large systems development. The laboratory’s vibration systems, 45 and 90 kN, are used for sinusoidal, random vibration, and shock-response testing. The vacuum systems, including a 2.4 m diameter chamber with liquid nitrogen-cooled shroud, test high-altitude and satellite hardware. Thermal chambers test hardware limits at hot and cold temperatures.
The Laboratory’s machine shop is instrumental in supporting the Engineering Division’s mission to perform high-quality, rapid development and large system development with cross-Divisional teams.
The machine shop is equipped with both conventional machine tools (for varying work piece sizes and accuracies) and numerically controlled milling machines and lathes (for precise and repetitive work). Three-, four-, and five-axis numerically controlled machines are available, some with real-time dimensional inspection capabilities. These machines are used for work piece sizes that range to 80 cm by 200 cm and for accuracies to 5 microns.
The Optical Systems Test Facility was established at MIT Lincoln Laboratory to support a broad scope of program areas, encompassing tactical ground-based sensors through strategic space-based sensors.
The Optical Systems Test Facility comprises several separate ranges developed as a coordinated set of test sites at the Laboratory. Currently, four separate ranges are housed in the facility: an active range (Laser Radar Test Facility), a passive range (Seeker Experimental System), an aerosol range (Standoff Aerosol Active Signature Test bed) and an optical material measurements range.
- The active range has optical and target facilities for evaluating elements of laser radar sensors as well as complete ladar systems. It has facilities for simulating long-range wavefronts and for dynamic target motions.
- The passive range concentrates on evaluating passive infrared sensors, with capabilities for static and dynamic scene generation in both cryogenic and room temperature environments.
- The aerosol range is currently configured for the measurement of both particulate and bioagent aerosol dispersion characteristics.
- The optical materials measurements range started with measurement capabilities for laser radar target materials and is being expanded to measure both the emissivity and reflectance of materials from the visible through the infrared.
To support its work on improvements in flight safety and efficiency for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Lincoln Laboratory established an integrated weather and air traffic decision support facility.
The facility features a real-time operations center for various live prototype tests, including the FAA's Corridor Integrated Weather System that provides year-round depictions of storms for aviation traffic flow managers, controller supervisors, airline dispatchers, and other aviation users in the continental United States. The facility is also connected to the FAA's Enhanced Traffic Management System, which supplies flight-track information for all aircraft in the country. Data plots showing the interaction of aircraft with weather at large airports in the northeast are automatically created nightly and available on a website the next morning along with complete archived data from the previous day. Offices for the system monitors are adjacent to the Operations Center, so that staff can quickly access the system for analysis or repairs.
Demonstrations, simulations, and large system tests are held in the Air Traffic Management (ATM) Laboratory in the same building. In the ATM Laboratory, extensive live surveillance feeds are available. Systems hosted in this laboratory include the Runway Status Lights system installed at Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles airports, and an air traffic control Tower Flight Data Manager system that provides advanced decision support to enhance the efficiency of arrival, departure, and surface traffic flows. Collocation of the ATM Laboratory with the Enhanced Regional Situation Awareness Development Lab also enables data-driven next-generation architecture studies and concept development for national security issues such as airport security and air security services. The computer room houses a 210-node computer cluster and 300 terabytes of data storage used to keep the real-time systems running, plus another large complement of machines used for analysis.
The Lincoln Laboratory Grid (LLGrid) is an interactive, on-demand parallel computing system that uses a large computing cluster to enable Laboratory researchers to augment the processing power of desktop systems with high-performance computational cluster nodes to process larger sets of sensor data, create higher-fidelity simulations, and develop entirely new algorithms.
LLGrid supports numerous programming languages and software libraries, including C, C++, Fortran, Java, MPI, PVL, and VSIPL; however, approximately 85% of Laboratory users run parallel MATLAB® codes using the Lincoln Laboratory-developed pMatlab library (http://www.ll.mit.edu/pMatlab) or The MathWorks-developed MATLAB Distributed Computing Toolbox.
More about the capabilites of this system can be found at the news articles below:
- MIT Lincoln Laboratory activates 1500-processor interactive parallel computing system
- MIT Lincoln Laboratory computer achieves 0.5 petabyte calculation
- Green Computing is Super: MIT Lincoln Laboratory's new supercomputing facility reduces energy impacts
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