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DARPA Awards Northrop Grumman Contract to Investigate Ways to Improve Thermal Management of Future Electronics

LINTHICUM, Md., Aug. 4, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and demonstrate an ultra high capacity hybrid thermal ground plane needed to overcome heat-related challenges in semiconductors employed in electronic systems.

High thermal temperatures are a key barrier in the development of next-generation military electronics, such as high-power radars, electromagnetic weapons and all-electric aircraft.

Under the initial 18-month contract, Northrop Grumman will use improved materials and techniques to transfer excess heat away from semiconductors where the heat is generated. Specifically, the team will develop and test the feasibility of replacing solid metallic heat spreaders with an advanced passively-driven, internally liquid cooled, silicon carbide-based thermal ground plane.

"The U.S. military's future need for high-power electronics cannot be overestimated, yet the ability to control thermal loads generated in electronic systems has remained a formidable hurdle to that development," said Dr. Larry Greenberg, Northrop Grumman program manager. "Northrop Grumman's solution will leverage a number of innovative technologies developed by our team, as well as employ our extensive experience in silicon carbide processing and etching. Our technical approach will produce a flexible thermal ground plane with significantly improved thermal conductivity and cooling compared to conventional copper-based heat spreaders, ultimately supporting the development of a new generation of high-performance electronic devices."

The $1.7 million, 18 month, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is for the first phase of the three-phase DARPA program. The total value of the effort, if all phases of the development program are completed, could be up to $5.2 million over three and a half years.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector is leading the effort. The company's teammates include the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.; Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:  Alleace Gibbs
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
          (410) 765-1294
          alleace.gibbs@ngc.com