PALO ALTO, Calif. —  

PARC, A Xerox company, today announced it has extended its multimillion dollar contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop its Disintegration Upon Stress Release Trigger (DUST) technology under DARPA’s Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program. In September, PARC successfully demonstrated this technology at DARPA’s Wait, What? Forum and received significant positive interest from academia, government, military, and a myriad of commercial organizations.

PARC performed several dozen live demonstrations of the transient technology, where attendees used a standard laser pointer to provide a remote logical signal that triggered a current pulse in a resistive heater which provided the energy needed to initiate a defect and disintegrate PARC’s electronic device within a couple of seconds. While an optical signal was used in this demonstration, PARC’s technology can also be triggered via a radio frequency signal as well as physical or chemical triggers.

DUST is an innovative technology based on stress-engineered glass that allows electronic devices -- chips, sensors and other electronics -- to be rapidly and remotely disintegrated on command, leaving small, dispersed particles, invisible to the human eye. DUST builds on PARC’s cutting-edge capabilities in advanced manufacturing, novel electronics, and smart devices.

As commercial sensors and the Internet of Things grow in popularity, vanishing electronics are needed to address the pervasiveness of electronics used over large areas. Over time, the broad distribution of electronic devices will result in significant accumulation in the environment or invasion of personal information.

“This technology can help commercial organizations as well as individuals to protect personal data,” said Gregory Whiting, DUST principal investigator and Manager of the Novel Electronics Area in PARC’s Electronic Materials and Devices Lab. “Our approach is designed to be compatible with off-the-shelf electronic devices and fabrication processes, potentially allowing a wide range of complex transient functionality to be realized.”

The goal of DARPA’s VAPR program is to demonstrate electronic systems capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, trigger-able manner. These transient electronics require performance comparable to commercial-off-the-shelf electronics, with limited device persistence that can be programmed, adjusted in real time, and remotely triggered on demand.

Sophisticated electronics are being developed at PARC with a focus on novel form factors and manufacturing approaches, as well as reduced size and cost.  These devices enable wide distribution of functionality and integrate naturally with the DUST approach, enabling transient devices to be used for applications including various objects embedded with sensors to support the fast growing Internet of Things industry and applications to improve personal data security. PARC, with the encouragement of DARPA, is exploring a wide range of commercial uses for DUST.

This has been approved for unlimited public release from DARPA.

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About PARC
PARC, A Xerox company, is in the Business of Breakthroughs®. Practicing open innovation, we provide custom R&D services, technology, expertise, best practices, and intellectual property to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, startups, and government agencies and partners. We create new business options, accelerate time to market, augment internal capabilities, and reduce risk for our clients. Since its inception, PARC has pioneered many technology platforms - from the Ethernet and laser printing to the GUI and ubiquitous computing - and has enabled the creation of many industries. Incorporated as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox in 2002, PARC today continues the research that enables breakthroughs for our clients' businesses.