The emphasis in the Si VLSI area is on the use of newer materials and techniques in advanced technologies for improving the performance of existing logic families and also in novel device and circuit cell architectures for neural computing. Higher performance at lower power consumption for bipolar transistors and CMOS is a key factor for electronic circuits for mobile phones and laptops whereas a trade-off between parallelism and speed is important for neural network hardware.
The group has a long track record of research into the test and reliability of gate dielectrics for silicon-based electronics. There is considerable activity around high-permittivity dielectrics for end-of-roadmap application, in collaboration with the Department of Engineering, materials science division which has state of the art atomic layer deposition (ALD) facilities. Other work is aimed at producing very high precision passive components, particularly capacitors for medical, rf and energy harvesting applications. Thin-film transistor (TFT) research focuses on organic electronics for biomedical applications and the use of doped ZnO films for transparent electronics (displays, 'intelligent windows'). The oxide work is also applied to the THz regime to produce very high-frequency rectifiers and rectanna devices (rectifying antenna), in collaboration with the group for energy harvesting applications.
Our group has produced the smallest quadrupole mass spectrometer ever reported through the use of micromachining and the commercial potential for the device is currently being investigated. This work has led to activity in fabricating in traps for quantum computing application, underpinned by theoretical modelling. We are also involved in research into micropower analogue circuits for medical and other applications. Further circuit work is associated with the neuron devices activity whereby standard cell building blocks are under construction for potential use in large, brain inspired electronic systems. A further activity involves a collaboration with the bionanoengineering group, looking into novel aspects of DNA electronics.
The group is a founding member of the SINANO Institute.
- High-k dielectrics on Si and Ge
- ZnO transparent electronics
- THz rectannas for energy harvesting
- Hardware realisation of neural networks
- Vertical MOSFETs for RF Application
- Low noise avalanche photodiodes and non-local impact ionization
- Development of miniature mass spectrometers
- Optical properties of semiconductors and ultra-thin dielectric layers
- Micromachined sensors
- Plasma oxidation of silicon and silicon-geranium
- SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistor technology for RF applications
- Miniauture ion traps using digital light processing (DLP)
- Bio-transistors and bio-sensors