/Design of beyond 1MHz readout circuits for sonic detection and ranging on flexible artificial skins

Design of beyond 1MHz readout circuits for sonic detection and ranging on flexible artificial skins

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

You will contribute to next-generation ultrasound sonic detection by designing MHz readout circuits on μm-thin plastic substrates

Ultrasound imaging on artificial skins based on flexible electronics have a plethora of use cases such as sonic detection and ranging, when placed on curved parts of autonomous machines and robots. Their surroundings need to be monitored continuously, to reduce collision risks and detect the placement of moving objects in near-cm 3D space. The addition of sonic detection foils on artificial skins will enable a better proximity perception of the autonomous machines and a smoother engagement with humans at natural speed.


It is the ambition of this PhD project to focus on the implementation of a high-speed and low-noise low-temperature polycrystalline-Si (LTPS) TFT readout IC for ultrasound imaging on flat-panel compatible flexible substrates [1]. Next to the design, the PhD work also envisions the precise above MHz modeling ut also precise beyond 1MHz analog modeling and characterization of industrial LTPS-TFT technology.  The >MHz front end would need to work with an array of multiple ultrasound transducers and adhere to speed/power and noise requirements to amplify and multiplex mV echo signals. By integrating an amplifying MHz front end in-pixel with the drums, not only the received signal is expected to be improved, but further upscaling of the array is enabled. Upscaling of the array will either enable higher resolution or/and larger ultrasound imager and coverage. Low power is also essential since the application is for battery-powered mobile autonomous machines.


The candidate would have to characterize and model the beyond 1Mhz behavior of LTPS technology. Then, the circuit design of a low-power analog front-end IC and multiplexer will be targeted. At the second stage, the front-end IC and multiplexer will have to adhere to a certain footprint to enable the integration of the designs into a large-area array of thin-film drums.


[1] Georgitzikis et al. “A flat-panel-display compatible ultrasound platform”, SID Display Week 2023, Los Angeles

[2] Integrated PMUT array on readout TFT electronics photo is also from [1]



Required background: RF and Analog circuit design, device modeling

Type of work: 60% design and simulation, 20% experimental, 15% modeling, 5% literature.

Supervisor: Kris Myny

Co-supervisor: Nikolas Papadopoulos

Daily advisor: Nikolas Papadopoulos

The reference code for this position is 2024-145. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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