Smaller and faster building blocks
Sofia Johansson's research is about the very basic building blocks of electronics. That's right, transistors. For her, ending up in this field was the result of both coincidence and interests.
Fast and tiny
Electrons are more flexible in Indium Arsenide (InAs)-based transistors than they are in Silicon-based ones. Faster transistors and low-power electronics are on the horizon if Sofia's results are implemented in the integrated circuits of the future. Indium Arsenide instead of Silicon, new connectivity approaches and vertical 40nm nano-threads are just some of the jargon she uses when explaining her research. By the way, a single strand of hair is more than a thousand times thicker than the nano-threads in Sofia's lab, which implies the whole thing is really quite fiddly. The connectivity around the nanowires opens up the possibility of creating smaller transistors which in turn will be extremely fast, several thousand times faster than they were around the time when Sofia first started her research. Hence, the road to high speed electronics is a given. - My main task has been to optimise the production of transistors and measure the high frequency qualities of transistors, Sofia tells us.
Interest plus coincidence turned into research
Why does someone want to do a PhD and what's so interesting about nanotechnology based electronics? As often happens, it all comes down to various coincidences and in Sofia's case the dream of conducting research was not there from the start. Instead, her interest in electronic components and nano technology was simply materialised in a doctorate. In other words, one coincidence and one good opportunity.
Home is Laholm, Lund, Fysikum and EIT
Laholm is her home town, and in searching for the nearest (and best) university, Lund was the obvious choice. Sofia has a solid interest in technology, materials and physics and volunteered to be one of the first students on the newly founded nanotechnology program. In addition, Sofia has changed research department during her time in Lund as the nano technology department has moved from the Physics department to EIT. After having been employed by Fysikum for three years, all her work now takes place at EIT.
Wants to do more research
The interest in doing research is still there and in the future, Sofia's aim is to create more knowledge benefiting the wider society. She is not yet sure of what the future research will entail but the general direction is clear. - I would really like to continue researching on technology in some form, either in academia or in the industry. At the moment, I'm not quite sure on what, but there are lots of really exciting fields of research, says Sofia as she steps into the upper ranks of academia, with the title of PhD now on her business card.
Text/Photo: Anders Borgström
Text/Photo: Anders Borgström
His PhD thesis was awarded
Federico Pepe’s PhD thesis was recently designated as the best in information technology by Politecnico di Milano. Since about a month, he’s in Lund for one and a half years of postdoctoral employment. The assignment consists of designing frequency synthesizers.
– And VCO:s – so that Viktor can still make jokes to Piero, he says with a smile.
Referred by his opponent
Federico grew up in Campania, southern Italy, but has been spending the last ten years at the university Politecnico di Milano – the oldest university in the county, founded in 1863 – in the more northerly parts of Italy.
– I had a chance to stay in Milan but wanted to do something else. Among other things, I tried to get hired by Qualcomm in San Diego. Piero (Pietro Andreani) was my reviewer and it turned out he had a spot for me here, Federico tells – and seems to enjoy it.
He’s in the area of analog IC-design and involved with the DARE-project.
– My goals are to complete the task I’ve been assigned which is to design frequency synthezisers. And VCO:s – so that Viktor can still make jokes to Piero, he says with a smile and explains:
– Piero is a top expert in the area. He gets a lot published and, at least for the conversant, it may look very simple with pictures of very simple circuits. So Viktor uses to twit Piero for this. Though, there are a lot of very advanced contents to those circuits – and Viktor knows about this, of course – but he still doesn’t miss a chance to joke with Piero about it anyway!
Had forgotten about the prize
The awarded thesis is a true rarity since it’s only been printed in one (!) copy and that copy’s in the library of the university of Milan. It’s also award-winning, Federico received both money and a diploma for his efforts.
– Everybody starting a PhD there knows about this prize. I had somehow forgotten about it because I finished my PhD and left Milan. So when the secretary called and told me about this I couldn’t really get it so I had to call back to duble-check, he says and smiles.
Doesn’t enjoy the jam
With some surprise, we note that the laminated diploma’s lacking the university seal, before it’s time for photos and general loose talk about life in Lund. Federico plays tennis and is also interested in climbing.
– The area around Lake Maggiore is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, he says.
– I don’t have much spare time but when I do I usually meet up with Italian friends and sort of circulate the town.
I get no insider tips on good Italian restaurants in Lund.
– I’m not an expert of Italian restaurants in Italy either. I don’t like the jam you put on meat here though, he says, and we can’t really determine if it’s the lingonberry jam that’s caught his disliking attention. But it probably is.
Text & photo: Johan Cedervall
Couldn't resist electronics
Dejan Radjen was supposed to become a physicist, but after having discovered electronics he couldn’t resist it. Now he’s got a doctoral degree in the subject, specialized in construction of A/D-converters (analog-to-digital converters).
– The very first thing I was fascinated by in electronics was wireless transmission of information. I found it very interesting how waves can be caught from the air and recieve the information those waves transported, he says.
Likes to travel
Supposed to become a physicist
Dejan Radjen’s born in Serbia but a Swede since long. He’s always had a great interest in science.
– What’s interesting about science are those moments when you discover how things works. You get a rush from it! I was supposed to become a physicist, but after discovering electronics and built some circuits at leisure, as a hobby, I couldn’t resist it because it’s practical and close to reality. LTH was a natural step towards a deeper understanding. And I lived nearby Lund already, Dejan tells.
Immediately got into wireless communication
If it was a little unexpected that Dejan would take interest in electronics, it was a little more expected what area within it that would grab his main focus.
– The very first thing that I was fascinatied by in electronics was wireless transmission of information. I found it very interesting how waves can be caught from the air and recieve the information those waves transported. After been given the chance to do my master’s thesis at Ericsson, I felt that I had a good foundation but at the same time I felt that some bits wer missing and I wanted to learn more! That’s why I decided to pursue a PhD, to learn more about A/D-conversion, which is a step in the reciever chain that’s used for wireless transfer.
Specialized in construction of A/D-converters
On September 18th, Dejan presented and defended his doctoral dissertation ”Continuous-Time Delta-Sigma Modulators for Ultra-Low-Power Radios”.
– Wireless communication is a frequent participant in our modern day. A big challenge in this area is the power consumption and lots of research is required to reduce the effect in a radio chip for wireless and low-power applications and still obtain a stable connection without interference, Dejan tells and develops:
– An essential part of a radio chip is the A/D-converter. It’ll always be needed because the world is naturally analog but all devices demand digital signals to acieve the functionality considered important these days. My research is about construction of A/D-converters for wireless low-power applications at short distances.
Wanting to learn more
Dr Radjen still has a hunger for more knowledge in his subject.
– I usually don’t plan things very far ahead, I take them as they come. But I’m definitely interested to further expand my understanding of electronics for wireless communication and also travel around to other places, he says, and highlights fruitful meetings – formal and informal – with colleagues from all around the world at LTH.
– I think that’s one of the most important factors at LTH.
OAM vs MIMO
Text: Anders Borgström
Energized by dad’s legacy
A nice campus and the significant world ranking made Meifang Zhu leave her job and move to Lund, to catch a mutual dream and pursue a PhD. “My father's desire and thirst for knowledge deeply influenced me”, she says.
Ranking and nice campus
In 2007, Meifang Zhu made one of the most important decisions in her life. She quit her first job back home in China, to take further education abroad. She chose Sweden, Lund and LTH.
– Lund University came to my eyes because of the significant world ranking and the nice campus, especially the white house. Electronic engineering is my favorite topic, LTH became my first choice, Meifang explains.
Had to quit education aged 15
Important decisions aren’t always easy to make. Meifang got a great deal of strength to from the support from home, to chase the dream and to catch it. And the greatest supporter is her father, wishing Meifang would be able to do what he didn’t.
– My father's desire and thirst for knowledge deeply influenced me. He had to give up his education when he was 15 years old, so he has put all his effort into making sure that I received a good education. This legacy has always energized my pursuit of a Ph.D. degree.
Making the invisible visible
On September 12, 2014, she defended her doctoral dissertation “Geometry-based Radio Channel Characterization and Modeling: Parameterization, Implementation and Validation”. – Wireless channels, which are present everywhere, and they are untouchable and invisible to the naked eye. In my subject, the untouchable and invisible channels can be modeled with certain real world parameters and represented by touchable mathematical models.
Positioning with accuracy down to centimeters
– The keyword of wireless technology is 'Wireless', but without a wire how can we get hold of other people? The answer is wireless channels. It is essential to understand the behavior of the wireless channels and capture their characteristics as much as possible. Therefore, channel models, which gives a close to realistic description of wireless channels, becomes significant important for wireless system development.
– The COST 2100 channel model is one well established wireless channel model that can be integrated with current and next generation wireless systems. In my thesis, efforts have been made on parameterization, implementation and validation for the COST 2100 channel model. To be able to have a thorough understanding of wireless channels, a measurement based-ray lunching tool has been implemented in this thesis to visualize the propagation path on top of the 3D map. In addition, we have investigated the possibility to using the radio channel for positioning with accuracy down to centimeters, where the standard cellular system bandwidth is used.
Ready to fly
The future’s looking good for Meifang, who’s urging to get out there to try her wings and fly amongst all those invisible wireless channels.
– I have been as a student for 22 years and have been learning telecommunication and wireless communications for more than 10 years. Now it’s time to put my skills gained during the past years into practice!
– The time at LTH and EIT has been a nice experience for me, to work with people from all over the world in the same group. Not only had I learned knowledge but also different cultures, Meifang Zhu closes cheerfully.
Best on Top 25!
Mohammed Abdulaziz, together with co-authors Markus Törmänen and Henrik Sjöland, recently published the journal paper "A Compensation Technique for Two-Stage Differential OTAs". It received the highest number of downloads in August 2014. Every month top 25 papers are listed in the following link of the well-known TCASII journal. Congratulations to Mohammed and the team! http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/topAccessedArticles.jsp?punumber=8920 To document
Text: Anders Borgström
Triple in Nanoelectronics
Dean election determined
Department head of EIT, Viktor Öwall, had been voted dean of LTH from 2015 to 2017.
According to the election results, the following suggestions regarding the new dean, vice dean and faculty representatives, and representatives of other staff to Board of Directors of LTH and Nominating Committee's proposed business representatives in LTH board for the mandate period 2015-01-01 - 2017-12-31 to the Principal of the University of Lund:
Viktor Öwall, prof, Elektro- och informationsteknik
Annika Mårtensson, prof, Bygg- och miljöteknologi
Teacher representatives, board of LTH:
Anne Landin, prof, Inst. för Byggvetenskaper
Maria Johansson, prof, Inst. för Arkitektur o byggd miljö
Stefan Kröll, prof, Fysiska institutionen
Marilyn Rayner, univ. lektor, Inst. för Livsmedelsteknik
Thomas Laurell, prof, Inst. för Biomedicinsk teknik
Aylin Ahadi, univ. lektor, Inst. för Maskinteknologi
Peter Rådström, prof, Kemiska institutionen (omval)
Representatives, other employees, board of LTH:
Marianne Olsson, Inst. för Immunteknologi
Johan Hugosson, LTHs kansli
The Nomination Committee's proposals to industry representatives in LTH Board for the term 2015-01-01 – 2017-12-31:
Charlotta Falvin, professional board, chairman
Sven Landelius, charirman ESS AB
Jerry Bengtsson, CEO AB Tetra Pak
Everything about the election (LTH.se)
Lund Circuit Design Workshop 2014 delivers state-of-the-art and glimpses of the future!
Brains in Circuit Design!
The "Lund Circuit Design Workshop" took place at Grand Hotel and LTH-EIT during thursday and friday last week. The workshop, hosted by the VINNOVA-financed project INDEC-SoS and the SSF-financed projects Distrant and DARE., gave an overview of the research activities within IC design at Lund University. Invited speakers from both industry and academia covered a number of highly interesting topics. Jan Rabaey, UC Berkeley, inspired on the potential of applying natures computational-, storage- and communication solutions in future circuit and system design. Ivo Bolsens, Xilinx, presented the latest around highly advanced FPGAs. These devices nowadays include building blocks like entire ARM-processors, DSPs, large memory areas, mixed-signal blocks and advanced IOs. Johan Svener from Sony Mobile addressed the future roadmap of advanced low-power wearables and emerging use-cases around that. Jonas Hansryd from Ericsson talked on how mm-wave technology will impact coming 5G-systems and Mustafa Özen shared the latest research within low-power wireless PAs. EITs inhouse researchers from PhDs to senior professors gave extensive presentations on Massive-MIMO, antennas, mixed-signal, baseband, filter, ultra low-power design, energy optimization, beamsteering and much more. Poster sessions, coffee-breaks and excellent food contributed to another perfect Circuit Design Workshop as acknowledged by visitors, speakers, Director Viktor Öwall and Chairman of the Board Sven Mattisson. Logistics were, as always, perfectly managed by Pia Bruhn.
Text/Photo: Anders Borgström
Springer recently published a book authored by EIT researchers: Faster than Nyquist Signaling: Algorithms to Silicon by Deepak Dasalukunte, Viktor Öwall, Fredrik Rusek and John B. Anderson.
The book is an adaptation of Deepak’s PhD thesis that was defended in 2011 and was financed by the SSF project The High Speed Wireless Center.
Anil Dey from EIT to Intel as "outstanding researcher"
Almost a year ago, Anil Dey defended his PhD thesis "Low-Power Circuits and Nanowire Transistors". A month later, nano-engineer Anil was interviewed by the giga-company Intel, in the US. In January he received an offer of employment at this one of the world's leading electronics companies. Then the hard part began.
Check the box if you have received the Nobel Prize
– It wasn't easy to get a visa!, Anil explains. He was one of a total of about 172 000 applicants with a Bachelor degree or higher, to split the total of 65 000 visas. Another 20,000 visas are awarded to those with master's degree or higher, in which group Anil was also included. But he scored nil in both lotteries. No visa.
– In the end, I managed to look into something called "outstanding researcher visa". It was somewhat deterrent to read the requirements for the visa – it was something like "Proof that the applicant has received a major internationally recognized award, as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least three of the following requirements." When a Nobel Prize was hard to muster on short notice, I was instead forced to comply with the alternative requirements. An example of the requirements demanded including letters of recommendation from at least six impartial and qualified assessors to vouch for my research was the host class standards and that I was a leading researcher in my field. After many trips did it in the end and now I have an approved visa - it is said that I should start at Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon, in two months, says Anil Dey.
The dream arose in high school
29-year-old Anils parents met in Lund. Dad Subhas is originally from India and was a teacher of mathematics and science, mother Estera originates from Poland and works as an associate professor at Applied Biochemistry at LTH. But despite his parents' occupational interests, Anil never felt compelled to become an engineer.
– Mom said I should be a doctor! But I didn't agree, Anil says with a smile.
Instead, it was a school visit by a physics professor who arose Anils dream. At the visit, the professor was explaining that there was a whole new world to explore - a world where electronics, physics, chemistry and biology converge to allow things previously considered impossible. It is not difficult to understand that the interest was awakened and Anil were part of the very first class to read Engineering Nanoscience at LTH.
Worried about the container journey
Today, about ten years later, he holds a doctorate in the field and is headed for an amazing adventure at Intel.
– I'm starting as a so-called ”device engineer” and will develop the technology for future generation processors, says Anil who is in the process of organizing the move to the US.
– Intel are taking very good care of their staff, they help to organize almost everything. "We'll send you a twenty foot container," they said one day, and I thought that it really is necessary, I don't have tha much stuff! You'll get a car in a container like that, if you want to!, Anil says with another casual smile but with some concern about how the self-crafted interior fittings shall be clear container journey across half the globe.
– But they send a mover company to go through everything, so let's hope that they make sure that everything will be well packaged too.
LTH highly regarded in the world
He 's looking forward to the new adventure, and he's looking up to his new colleagues at Intel. They seem to have impressed him, as he's impressed them.
– Research in Lund has a very high reputation in the world. Our research on the EIT is not infrequently used as a reference for world-leading researchers and companies present "state-of-the-art" components and concepts. One such occasion was the example of the "star-conference" in the field, the International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM), where the best people in the field gathers and the best wirk gets presented. At a conference in the USA a few years back, I received a number of interesting questions from an Intel-guy, actually. Just over a year later, at the next IEDM, Intel introduced simulated results on the particular material system that I work with to produce, so-called tunneling transistors, Anil explains.
Benefits from the interaction of EIT
He started his PhD at the same time as the Nanoelectronics Group moved from the Physics department to EIT.
– It was natural, I think. What we're dealing with is highly application oriented. We raise it all to a circuit level and is served by an interaction with experts in adjacent or contiguous areas – and those skills available at EIT. The step of going from individual transistors to circuit solutions is quite large but we have now shown that we can make functional circuits. That we're on the right track and that we're doing really good research is reflected not least in the large allocations that my supervisor Professor Lars-Erik Wernersson has obtained. Overall, it feels like that the level of ambition is very high and good on EIT, says Lund-origined Anil Dey whose research soon will be avaliable in a computer near you.
Text: Johan Cedervall
Award to Andreas Ericsson
Andreas Ericsson, PhD student in the group of Electromagnetic Theory at EIT, has been awarded third prize in the Best Student Paper competition at the URSI General Assembly in Beijing.
Andreas Ericsson with supervisor Daniel Sjöberg at the conference banquet.
The paper is coauthored with Daniel Sjöberg and is entitled "A resonant circular polarization selective structure of closely spaced Morin Helices", and treats a possible realization of a reflector surface for satellite antennas. The URSI General Assembly is convened every three years for all radio scientists in the world, and about 1300 papers were presented this year.
Xilinx donates FPGA-boards
EIT has received a donation from Xilinix of 28 Nexys4 FPGA-boards to a total value of around approximately US$4500. The donation will be used to modernize our laboratory exercises within the field of digital circuits.
Great success on tiny surface
Thursday June 26th was a good day for, among others, Pietro Andreani at EIT, who assessed a fine performance on a VCO manufactured in STMicroelectronics 28nm FD-SOI (Fully-Depleted Silicon On Insulator) CMOS process.
– We may be among the first in Europe, perhaps even the world, measuring something in a process like this, says Pietro Andreani.
Pietro's displaying a photo of the VCO, taken through a microscope.
Small. VCOs and a Swedish coin (SEK 1, worth about €0,1).
More ideal switches
Most VCOs employ standard (“bulk”) CMOS, but in FD-SOI CMOS the MOS channel is completely isolated from the substrate, which provides many additional opportunities. Thanks to FD-SOI, the MOS switches become more ideal, with significantly less parasitic capacitance. This means that the VCO tuning capacitance can be switched on and off much more efficiently.
– The result you obtain is a very large tuning bandwidth for the VCO, a bandwidth of more than an octave, with the highest oscillation frequency at 5.8 GHz and the lowest at 2.8 GHz. A factor of two (i.e., one octave) would have been excellent, and this is even exceeding it.
Will save space
The fine performance of this sub-square-millimeter VCO is interesting for modern (future) cellphones.
– With all the new bands coming up you need a VCO that can generate as many frequencies as possible. There are solutions for this already, where two VCOs or more have been used – but if you’ve got one that does it all you save a lot of space, Pietro explains.
The collaboration behind the success
It costs some 15,000 Euro per square millimeter to fabricated research ICs in STMicroelectronics 28nm FD-SOI CMOS process, and the total value for EIT (including ICs in “cheaper” processes) is estimated to above 100,000 Euro each year – but the actual cost is nil, thanks to a very good collaboration between the EIT-led research-center SoS (System Design on Silicon) and STMicroelectronics.
– We (SoS) travel to France every year to visit them. Our main contact, Andreia Cathelin, has a great part in this. She’s helped us, she’s been supporting us, and everything just works very, very well with her, Pietro says with a warm voice.
”Manage to come up with good stuff every year”
The collaboration is to some extent the continuation of the collaboration that began when STMicroelectronics and Ericsson merged, and past research successes are the basis for the continuing efforts at SoS, despite the breakup between STMicroelectronics and Ericsson. But – SoS must deliver!
– There’s pressure allright! At the same time, we’re talking about research – failure is allowed. Not too often, though, Pietro says with a smile and continues:
– We’ve had great help from people around us, such as an extremely sharp VCO designer from Ericsson, Thomas Mattsson, and others as well. We’ve got a great team here, with a strong group of skilled IC designers, and we manage to come up with good stuff every year, Pietro concludes.
Text: Johan Cedervall
Photo: Johan Cedervall
Viktor Öwall proposed as dean of LTH
The LTH Nomination Committee proposes that the department head of EIT, Viktor Öwall, becomes dean of LTH from 2015 to 2017.
The Nomination Committee's overall assessment after completion of interviews, tests and discussions, is that Viktor Öwall have the knowledge and experience necessary to utilize and further develop LTH activities. Viktor Öwall's also, according to the Nomination Committee, the candidate who best meets the requirements profile for Dean with strengths: the ability to visualize LTH national and international, experience of collaboration with industry, the ability to promote LTH's interests and cooperation within the university. Viktor Öwall also have high personal integrity, the ability to create commitment, and during his years as head of the department demonstrated a very good leadership.