The goal of this PhD is to elaborate ultralow power design techniques for flexible integrated circuits. The technology that we will use are transistors that are processed on flexible plastic substrates. They are based on amorphous oxide semiconductors, kin to the transistors used in the backplanes of AMOLED televisions, but processed on plastic. Our goal is to use them to make flexible integrated circuits with large integration densities, from LSI to VLSI. These flexible circuits will find applications in IoT and wearable patches that measure body functions.
The target thin-film circuits for IoT and wearables need to interact with standard electronics and readers (such as smartphone, bluetooth, ...). This requirement sets minimum specifications regarding power consumption, supply voltage and operating speed. The challenge in the research is to reach these despite certain technology performance limitations. Indeed, the semiconductor has a charge carrier mobility of about 20 cm2/Vs, and can only carry electrons, meaning that only n-type transistors exist. Furthermore, the transistor dimensions are not strongly scaled, and of the order of 0.5 to 2 microns.
To tackle this challenge, the PhD student will investigate ultralow power design techniques at system level by exploiting specific benefits of thin-film transistors, like low off-state leakage currents, and by implementing newly developed cell libraries. Designs will be processed in the imec cleanrooms. In addition to design, the PhD student will also be responsible for the circuit measurements, parameter extraction, comparison of experiments and modelling, and providing feedback from system level to new transistor models for subsequent technology generations.
The candidate PhD student has a solid background in electronic engineering and circuit design. Also, a strong affinity to technology and physics is a must for this research. The PhD work will take place in the large area electronics (LAE) department in imec. The group counts about 45 people with extensive expertise in thin-film processing and design, and has 15 years of experience. The group has a very strong international reputation in this field, with multiple ISSCC publications and an H-index for the thin-film electronics activity of 50. This specific PhD work is in the framework of the funded ERC Starter Grant FLICs with Kris Myny as Principle Investigator and imec as host institute.
Required background: electronic engineering with affinity to physics and technology
Type of work: 10% literature study, 10% modeling, 40% design and layout, 40% characterization
Supervisor: Wim Dehaene
Co-supervisor and daily advisor: Kris Myny
The reference code for this PhD position is SE1712-03. Mention this reference code on your application form.