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.
Grants awarded to Electromagnetic Theory!
Daniel Sjöberg has obtained two grants from VINNOVA's National Avionics Research Program (NFFP6). In collaboration with the companies Saab Electronic Defense Systems, Efield (ESI Group), Saab Aeronautics, Saab Dynamics, and Applied Composites, he will investigate a new computational method for the design of large antenna arrays, and an experimental method for characterizing scattering contributions. The project will run for three years, and together with a previously granted project in the same research program two PhD students are involved.
Best Paper to Eduardo!
Eduardo Medeiros got 2 Best Paper Awards at ICC- and TAOS meetings 2014 in Sydney for his paper "How Vectoring in G.fast May Cause Neighborhood Wars". Co-authors are Thomas Magesacher, Per-Erik Eriksson, Chenguang Lu and Per Ödling. Congratulations!
TAOS Best Paper Award presented to Eduardo
Small antennas attracted large audience
Last week, Faculty of Engineering LTH and EIT were visited by Professor Nader Behdad from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA. For the second consecutive year, Professor Behdad held a well-attended two-day seminar. Behdad’s research is specifically focused on periodic materials and miniaturization of antennas.
– This seminar have been highly appreciated by the participants, both from a technical perspective and from a social and networking point of view, says Gerhard Kristensson, host of the event which attracted a large proportion of the leading scientists in the Swedish aerospace industry.
Nader Behdad was talking about small antennas.
Hard to make smaller antennas
Making antennas smaller is a very difficult task, but very important in situations where there’s no room for bulky solutions. A good example of an application with limited space is antennas in mobile phones, where many different antennas must coexist. A modern aircraft, such as the Swedish-made aircraft JAS Gripen, is another advanced platform with lots of antennas that should fit into a small area. In those cases, you have to utilize the space available.
Continuing the tradition
Nader Behdad held a two day seminar at Lund University a year ago, in June 2013, and last week's seminar was the second consecutive for Professor Behdad who continues the tradition that began with Ben Munk (Ohio State University), described as the doyen of the area, which held a series of two-day seminars until his death a few years ago.
– The Electromagnetic Theory group at EIT has for a long time had research support from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for the study of radar materials. Our success in this area has led to that we have been entrusted to organize training activities in Sweden in this research area. When Ben Munk passed away a few years ago, FMV managed to engage another key person in the field, Nader Behdad, whose research has great similarities with the Electromagnetic Theory group’s own research, says Gerhard Kristensson.
Methods for thin radar absorbers
The topic of this year's seminar was, as in previous years, the FSS (Frequency Selective structures / surfaces). FSS is about creating passive materials having specific reflection and transmission properties for different frequencies. One could call these materials "filter for radio and millimeter waves". Some frequencies one may wish to block (bandstop) or let pass (bandpass). Within the circuit electronics, the methods for designing circuit filter are well established, but when it comes to block or let through electromagnetic waves, the technology is much more complex and requires a lot of math. This is where the knowledge of the Electromagntic Theory group comes into play.
– The applications are endless! Say you want to make a surface that does not reflect certain frequencies. In optics, such a surface is black, and in radio frequency one speaks of radar absorbers used in "radio dead space", for instance in the ‘Antenna measurement chamber’. Professor Behdad has developed methods for making such material thin, which is a big challenge, and this is what the seminar’s about. Professor Behdad and his group have produced such materials and experimentally shown that they work in practice, says Gerhard.
LTH established as centre
The well-attended seminar attracted a large proportion of the leading scientists in the Swedish aerospace industry.
– Saab's various research groups are represented – Linköping, Mölndal and Järfälla. The radar materials are often produced with composite technology. Therefore, the Swedish composite industry (ACAB from Linköping) was represented. Since the research field often requires powerful mathematics, the engineering faculties at universities were represented by LTH and KTH (Stockholm). FMV of course, was present and we even had a researcher from DTU in Denmark. The Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) had also sent some participants, Gerhard continued.
After another successful seminar arrangement, Gerhard’s looking forward to repeat it in the future:
– We hope for a continuation of training activities for the Swedish aircraft industry at LTH. LTH has established itself as the centre for this research and I would like to see this educational activity continued. It’s an excellent example of the University's third mission, which is to bring new knowledge to our business community, says Gerhard Kristensson in conclusion.
Text: Johan Cedervall & Gerhard Kristensson
Photo: Johan Cedervall
Ardö får pengar till Rikstäckande Genealogisk Databas
Internetfonden som administreras av Stiftelsen för infrastruktur (.SE) delar ut pengar till projekt som på olika sätt syftar till positiv utveckling av internet. Vid senaste utlysningen tog "Rikstäckande Genealogisk Databas – RGD, webbtjänster och släktträdsmatchning" del av dem.
Text hämtad från Internetfondens hemsida:
Projektet Rikstäckande Genealogisk Databas – RGD, webbtjänster och släktträdsmatchning ska på ett strukturerat sätt sammanställa Sveriges historiska befolkning med dess släktrelationer i en databas bestående av unika individer. I samband med detta implementeras ett antal kvalitetshöjande hjälpdatabaser och verktyg. De tas fram genom att utveckla och utvärdera en algoritm för fuzzy matchning (identifikation av gemensamma individer och familjer) av två släktträd.
Användaren ska kunna ladda upp ett släktträd i form av en GEDCOM-fil (GEDCOM är en standard för utväxlande av släktträd) och få feedback avseende kvalitet och direkta fel för namn, församlingar och datakällor. Målgruppen för dessa webbtjänster är allmänheten i form av alla släktforskare.
Webbtjänsterna kommer att vara helt öppna och fria. Kod som utvecklats i projektet kommer att vara tillgänglig med Open Source licens.
Information om projektet kommer att spridas kontinuerligt under projektets gång, bland annat genom annonsering och diskussioner på onlineforum som DIS-forum samt demonstrationer/presentationer vid DIS-möten och i andra släktforskarsammanhang. Projektet kommer också att beskrivas i tidskriftsartiklar samt via en informationsfolder som delas ut till arkivhållare, släktforskarföreningar och andra intresserade.
Projektet drivs av Anders Ardö från Institutionen för Elektro- och informationsteknik (EIT) vid Lunds universitet och Föreningen DIS.
Fredrik advances (in) system
Fredrik Tufvesson has been promoted to professor of radio systems, twenty years after the Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at LTH. He's currently involved in three major projects that all seem to engage him a lot, we may see the results of them in the market within just a few years.
– I really like the mix! says Fredrik and compares the professor appointment with marriage.
Fredrik Tufvesson Has got a relaxed approach towards the professor appointment.
– Thogh, perhaps you shouldn't write that, says Fredrik Tufvesson with a big smile and makes one suspect that it's not 'the largest moment in life' that's intended.
– What I mean is that it's – of course – great fun but things are kind of like the day they were the day before.
Operates several large projects
He seems to live a varying and exciting life at his profession, with three comprehensive projects going on, as a dominating part of his every day:
1. Massive MIMO – a candidate to 5G.
– We've got great response to our Massive MIMO work so far. Unlike 1G-4G, 5G may be more blended and the technology best suited for the specific task will be used. 5G is believed to be avaliable in 2020.
2. Radio-based positioning.
– The advantage with radio-based positioning compared to GPS is that it works both outdoors and indoors, and may give centimeter accuracy. It opens up for new applications and services. The technology's about using radio channels in more advances ways – signals we already have in the air around us – and it creates GPS-free solutions. The challenge is to narrow the accuracy.
3. Vehicle-to-vehicle-communikation, which may be likened with a seed to a driverless traffic society.
– The vehicle-to-vehicle-communication we're working with tight now is for driver-led cars. Technology makes it possible for us to prevent accidents, like see around corners or give warnings about other things hard to discover while driving. Cars will be able to communicate with each other, new such cars with those systems will be on the markes in just three years.
Communicates with the freshmen
Parallell with the research, Fredrik is a well-used Master's thesis supervisor and he's also teaching the frehmen in communication technology.
– The preparations are not a personal favourite of mine, it demands a lot of commintment both mentally and time-wize – but it's great fun when you're there with the students, doing the actual teaching. I think the sudents are really fun! The have a good drive. You ask me to compare them with students 20 years ago – well, I'd say that in general they are not as proficient in maths – but they're better at other things, for instance in English, well, they're better to express themselves in general.
Made a promise to himself
With the underlying performances in mind, the promotion wasn't unexpected, but an academic coureer it was not always obvious for Fredrik.
– Haha, no – but I've always been interested in technology. It was, as far as I can remember, a matter of course for me to study at LTH – well, if I wasn't going to be a MD of courses – but then the plan was to do something else. That's what I planned by then.
After elementary school back home in Staffanstorp, Fredrik went to study at the technical line (high school) at Polhemsskolan in Lund.
– At high school I promisde myself to not be one out of ten thousand engineers at Ericsson builting mobile phones. I didn't want to become a small cog in some giant machine.
Curiosity is the most important thing
After spending a year at technical school in Östersund, Fredrik Tufvesson went to LTH to study Electrical Engineering 1990-1994. Subsequently, he worked on a project at Sydkraft (Eon) and IEA before he began his PhD at Applied Electronics (which two mergers and several years later became part of the EIT) under the leadership of Torleiv Maseng. After completing a doctorate in 2000, which included six months spent in Melbourne (Aus), he took employment at the Ideon company Fiberless Society. Two years later, Andreas Molisch needed some help at LTH and Fredrik thought that he could assist with some six months or maybe even a year. 12 years later, the professor title is a fact. How do you move on when you are at the top of the academic ladder?
– I think it's important to be constantly evolving, so I hope to do even as a professor. Then we'll see in which way I evolve. I think the most important thing is not to lose curiosity, emphasizes Fredrik Tufvesson, professor of radio commincation, in conclusion.
Text & photo: Johan Cedervall
2014-06-02 "Curiosity in both circuit design and wireless communications brought me to Sweden"
Working for Beijing Telecom Communication Cooperative after finishing college, Chenxin Zhang got in touch with Ericsson and got the idea that LTH would be a great place to be for further education. Now, some years later, EIT congratulates Dr. Zhang!
Chenxin Zhang in front of the E-building at LTH, the home of EIT.
Aiming for providing flexible hardware platform
On May 27th, Chenxin Zhang defended his thesis "Dynamically Reconfigurable Architectures for Real-time Baseband Processing".
– Today’s hardware needs to support many different standards and to perform different tasks. For example, we want our mobile phones to support as many standards as possible such as cellular network, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. This multi-standard and multi-task support is typically referred to as hardware flexibility. My research work aims at providing flexible hardware platform that can be reconfigured to suffice this purpose. In my thesis, wireless communication has been used as a main application that drives the development of reconfigurable hardware architecture.
– After college study in China, I worked for Beijing Telecom Communication Cooperate for one year, where I got to know Ericsson for the first time. Curiosity in both circuit design and wireless communications brought me to Sweden to pursue further study at LTH, which has great research environment in both fields. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to study here.
Love at first sight
So, what made you pursue a PhD and what's the most fascinating about your project?
– My thesis work is an interdisciplinary study in both wireless communication and digital circuit design. Both subjects are really interesting. To understand complex systems such as mobile phones has been my longing since I saw them the first time, and now I even have the possibility to actually design something for them. PhD study is a perfect way of getting close to state-of-the-art technologies, not only the present ones but also those that are being developed for future use.
The friendship – a distingueshed EIT character
Do you have any particular interesting or funny occasion during your PhD time you want to share?
– I particularly remember a trip in Los Angeles with my supervisors when I was there as a visiting scholar. Besides business, they took me around in LA, we had a walk in the Hollywood street and relaxed at the Santa Monica beach. That moment was relaxed and cheerful. I believe that the friendship among students as well as between students and supervisors is one of the distinguished characters of EIT.
Will follow research activities at LTH
What about your future plans?
– After the 1.5 and 5 years Master and PhD studies at LTH, I plan to go to industry to apply all my knowledge to real-life products. However, I will of course follow research activities at LTH, particular the ongoing projects I participated in.