Integra Devices

UCI Startup
April 5, 2017 By Applied Innovation

Integra Devices enables the manufacture of integrated, microscopic 3D structures that sense things, move things, and modify radio waves to make possible a new Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G wireless applications. The 10-employee company is housed at two incubators, Calit2 and EvoNexus.

Integra Devices currently builds miniature microwave and millimeter-wave components for the 5G telecommunications market. “We see ourselves really enabling the 5G push,” says Sourabh Dhillon, Business Development Manager. “With 5G pushing the industry to higher frequencies, there is a huge need for small, high performance components at these bandwidths.”

Dhillon explains that the current frequency bandwidth used must move from around 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) to 28 GHz and above. “5G, the next generation of telecommunications, is required to move vast quantities of data at high speed and low latency, or response time. The reason that it is important is because of the IoT. With billions of devices being connected to the Internet, we will need a stronger infrastructure for transmitting data.” The 5G network will deliver extremely fast data speeds at 10 Gbps (gigabits per second, a data transfer speed measurement for high-speed networks) low latency (1 millisecond round- trip delay), and high capacity by utilizing high frequencies (5.25 GHz, 26.4 GHz, and 58.68 GHz).

Thus, IoT and 5G will require new kinds of products that cannot easily be made by current semiconductor manufacturing. “Once you get to higher frequency, you will need a new breed of components that can handle these frequencies at high performance while maintaining small footprints.”

The enabling technology

Integra Device’s manufacturing technology, dubbed Amalga™, enables industry to miniaturize electromechanical products, such as radio frequency and microwave electromechanical relays that transmit and/or receive signals between devices, skirting current limitations of established silicon technology. Users can manufacture complex 3D microstructures in laminates such as package substrates and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Integra Devices’ technology allows microelectronic manufacturers to produce components at 1/10 the cost to design, 1/3 the time to develop, and 1/4 the cost it takes to manufacture conventional components without investing in new tools or capital equipment. “This is groundbreaking technology that offers designers another toolbox to considerably increase the performance of their products,” Dhillon comments.

The company’s manufacturing process is based upon 15 years of research from Professor Mark Bachman, formerly at UCI, now IoT Evangelist at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information (Calit2). Bachman is one of the company’s founders, along with Paul Dhillon and James Spoto, executives with deep industry knowledge and experience in building start-ups.

Currently, component manufacturers face a tradeoff. There are large, machined components that, at the millimeter and microwave scales, are very expensive but very high performance. There are semiconductor components, which are small and cost effective, but don’t match all the performance needs of high frequency applications. “We bridge that gap,” Dhillon says.

Integra’s first product line is the world’s first miniaturized electromechanical microwave relay. This micro-relay maintains a small footprint like a semiconductor relay, but possesses all the high performance characteristics of larger electromechanical relays. For applications such as reconfigurable and phased-array antennas that require high density and performance, Integra Devices also offers customers custom substrates that enable the embedding of 8, 12, and even 20 GHz relays within printed circuit boards and signal paths. Other elements can be mounted above the relay on the printed circuit board, optimizing valuable surface area.

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