Fall 2012 Seminars
  • Title : Beyond CMOS Scaling: What's a Circuit Designer to Do?
    Speaker: Dr. Leland Chang, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Date: December 7th, 2pm, 633 Mudd

  • Title : Pushing the limits of terahertz optoelectronics
    Speaker: Prof. Mona Jarrahi, University of Michigan
  • Date: Friday, November 30th, 2pm-3pm, 633 Mudd

  • Title : Passive Mixer Transparency and Its Implications for Software Defined Radio Receivers
    Speaker: Prof. Alyosha Molnar, Cornell University
  • Date: Friday, November 9nd, 2pm-3pm, 633 Mudd

  • Title : Revolutionizing Medical Device Design (Co-sponsored by IEEE NY EDS/SSCS)
    Speaker: Prof. Charles Sodini, MIT
  • Date: Friday, October 26th, 3pm-4pm, Interschool

  • Title : Circuits and Architectures for Power-Efficient High-Speed Electrical I/O
    Speaker: Dr. Tod Dickson, IBM
  • Date: Friday, October 19th, 2pm-3pm, Mudd 337

  • Title : Parametric Excitation
    Speaker: Dr. Bob Melville Emecon, LLC
  • Date: Friday, September 14th, 2pm-3pm, Mudd 633

    Dr. Leland Chang,
    IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

    December 7th, 2pm
    633 Mudd

    Beyond CMOS Scaling: What's a Circuit Designer to Do?

    As decades of sustained CMOS technology scaling begins to slow, the silicon microelectronics industry must look to new, innovative techniques to improve performance and power efficiency. To build the next generation of computing systems, today's circuit designer must understand not only the possibilities of new, emerging technologies, but also how system architecture can be changed to meet the evolving needs of the end-user. Such blurring of the boundaries between devices, circuits, and systems as well as those between digital, mixed-signal, and analog circuits will be essential in future research work. Exemplary directions will be discussed to show that there is much exciting work to be done in the circuits field beyond CMOS scaling and its traditional focus on digital logic performance. In computing systems as we know them today, there is yet significant room to improve the efficiency of system subcomponents such as embedded memory and power delivery/management. Going forward, there may be even more room to develop new circuits that are radically more efficient by invoking architectural changes in parallelism, accelerators, and heterogeneous systems to serve future applications needs.

    Leland Chang received the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in EECS from UC Berkeley, where his work focused on early demonstration of the FinFET transistor structure for CMOS scaling. He joined IBM in 2003 and soon realized that embedded memory was just as important as (if not more so than) logic computation. Masquerading as an array designer, he demonstrated 6T-SRAM cells scaled to record sizes, 8T-SRAM for voltage scalability, and double-pumped register files for density and fast latency. More recently, he has worked to improve his analog design skills by developing on-chip voltage regulators based on new integrated passives while keeping his digital design skills in check while studying low voltage applications. Day to day, he splits time between managing a technology group that dabbles all too often in circuits and systems, pursuing the never-ending quest for power efficiency in high performance systems, and keeping pace with the ISSCC technical program committee.

    Prof. Mona Jarrahi,
    University of Michigan

    November 30th, 2pm
    633 Mudd

    Pushing the limits of terahertz optoelectronics

    Although unique potentials of terahertz waves for chemical identification, material characterization, biological sensing, and medical imaging have been recognized for quite a while, the relatively poor performance, higher costs, and bulky nature of current terahertz systems continue to impede their deployment in field settings. In this talk, I will describe some of our recent results on developing fundamentally new terahertz electronic/optoelectronic components and imaging/spectrometry architectures to mitigate performance limitations of existing terahertz systems. In specific, I will introduce new designs of high-performance photoconductive terahertz sources that utilize plasmonic antennas to offer terahertz radiation at record-high power levels of several tens of milliwatts - demonstrating more than three orders of magnitude increase compared to the state of the art. I will describe that the unique capabilities of these plasmonic antennas can be further extended to develop terahertz detectors and heterodyne spectrometers with single-photon detection sensitivities over a broad terahertz bandwidth at room temperatures, which has not been possible through existing technologies. To achieve this significant performance improvement, plasmonic antennas and device architectures are optimized for operation at telecommunication wavelengths, where very high power, narrow linewidth, wavelength tunable, compact and cost-effective optical sources are commercially available. Therefore, our results pave the way to compact and low-cost terahertz sources, detectors, and spectrometers that could offer numerous opportunities for e.g., medical imaging and diagnostics, atmospheric sensing, pharmaceutical quality control, and security screening systems. And finally, I will briefly highlight our research activities on development of new types of high- performance terahertz passive components (e.g., modulators, tunable filters, and beam deflectors) based on novel reconfigurable meta-films.

    Mona Jarrahi received her Ph.D degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 2007. During her Ph.D, she focused on optically assisted electronics for RF/millimeter-wave applications. Following her Ph.D work, she served as a postdoctoral scholar at Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (2007-2008), working on MEMS-based tunable terahertz electronics. She joined University of Michigan in the Fall of 2008, where she is currently an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, leading the Terahertz Electronics Laboratory. Her research group focuses on Terahertz/Millimeter-Wave Electronics, Optoelectronics, and Imaging/Spectroscopy Systems, Microwave Photonics and Ultrafast Electro-Optics. Prof Jarrahi is the recipient of numerous awards, including the ARO Young Investigator Award, the ONR Young Investigator Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, Robert Bosch FMA fellowship, and best-paper awards at the International Microwave Symposium. Prof. Jarrahi is a member of the program committees of the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, IEEE International Microwave Symposium, International Workshop on Optical Terahertz Science and Technology, as well as the IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation. She is also a member of the Terahertz Technology and Applications Committee of IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. She serves as a panelist/reviewer for National Science Foundation and Department of Energy and as the vice-chair of technical activities for IEEE Photonics Society, Southeast Michigan Chapter. Prof. Jarrahi is a senior member of IEEE and a member of OSA and SPIE.

    Prof. Alyosha Molnar,
    Cornell University

    November 9th, 2pm
    633 Mudd

    Passive Mixer Transparency and Its Implications for Software Defined Radio Receivers

    Software defined radios (SDR) aim to make every critical parameter of a radio's function adjustable and configurable through digital control, without significantly degrading performance. In this talk I will discuss a recently (re)discovered approach to achieving such flexibility, by exploiting the transparency properties of multi-phase CMOS passive mixers. Such mixers, combined with appropriate baseband circuitry, can be used to synthesize arbitrary in-band impedance and filtering properties and up-convert them to their RF port. Such mixers also display unusually high out-of band linearity and surprisingly low in-band noise, making them an intriguing option for SDR receivers. I will discuss some of the fundamental theory and associated limits of such receivers, as well as enhancements to this architecture, and other applications of the mixer transparency.

    Alyosha Molnar received his BS from Swarthmore College in 1997, and after spending a season as a deck-hand on a commercial Tuna fishing boat, worked for Conexant Systems for 3 years as an RFIC design engineer. He was co-responsible engineer developing their first-generation direct-conversion receiver for the GSM cellular standard. That chip, and subsequent variants, have sold in excess of 100 million parts. Starting graduate school at U.C. Berkeley in 2001, Molnar worked on an early, ultra-low-power radio transceiver for wireless sensor networks, and then joined a retinal neurophysiology group where he worked on dissecting the structure and function of neural circuits in the mammalian retina. He joined the Faculty at Cornell University in 2007, and presently works on low-power software-defined radios, neural interface circuits, and new integrated imaging techniques. He is recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2010, NSF CAREER Award in 2012, and ISSCC Lewis Winner Award in 2012.

    Prof. Charles Sodini,

    October 26th, 3pm
    Interschool Lab, 750 CEPSR

    Revolutionizing Medical Device Design (Co-sponsored by IEEE NY EDS/SSCS)

    The vision of the Medical Electronic Device Realization Center (MEDRC) is to facilitate the microelectronics and medical device industry in the transformation of medical electronic devices as it has successfully demonstrated in computation, communication and consumer electronics. The successful realization of such a vision also demands innovations in the usability and productivity of medical devices, and new technologies and approaches to manufacture devices. Information technology is a critical component of the intelligence that will enhance the usability of devices; real-time image and signal processing combined with intelligent computer systems will enhance the practitioners' diagnostic intuition. All of the key ingredients are in place at MIT and in Cambridge and Boston. The leadership of MEDRC has had strong industry interaction for over twenty-five years. The MIT research portfolio includes low power integrated circuits and systems, micro electro-mechanical systems, bioelectronics, sensors and microfluidics which are world leading by any measure. The medical researchers and clinicians at world-renowned hospitals located within a mile of MIT, provide the patient settings to prove the efficacy of innovative devices. In this talk I will introduce the research directions of the MEDRC and discuss the circuit and system issues for a wearable vital signs monitors and for portable medical ultrasound imaging as applied to non-invasive intracranial pressure measurements.

    Charles G. Sodini received the B.S.E.E. degree from Purdue University, in 1974, and the M.S.E.E. and the Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1981 and 1982, respectively. He was a member of the technical staff at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories from 1974 to 1982, where he worked on the design of MOS memory. He joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1983, where he is currently the LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering. His research interests are focused on medical electronic systems for monitoring and imaging. These systems require state-of-the-art mixed signal integrated circuit and systems with extremely low energy dissipation. He is the co-founder of the Medical Electronic Device Realization Center at MIT.
    Along with Prof. Roger T. Howe, he is a co-author of an undergraduate text on integrated circuits and devices entitled "Microelectronics: An Integrated Approach." He also studied the Hong Kong/South China electronics industry in 1996-97 and has continued to study the globalization of the electronics industry.
    Dr. Sodini was a co-founder of SMaL Camera Technologies a leader in imaging technology for consumer digital still cameras and machine vision cameras for automotive applications. He has served on a variety of IEEE Conference Committees, including the International Electron Device Meeting where he was the 1989 General Chairman. He has served on the IEEE Electron Device Society Administrative Committee and was president of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society from 2002-2004. He is currently the Chair of the Executive Committee for the VLSI Symposia and a Fellow of the IEEE.

    Dr. Tod Dickson,
    IBM T.J. Watson

    October 19th, 2pm
    Mudd 337

    Circuits and Architectures for Power-Efficient High-Speed Electrical I/O

    Advances in digital computing capabilities create higher demands for serial data transmission. Sustaining these bandwidth demands requires innovations on several fronts. Future packaging technologies must enable ultra-dense chip-to-chip interconnects. This in turn creates a need for compact, power-efficient I/O with equalization capable of supporting multi-Gb/s communication over these interconnects. In this talk, solutions to enable future electrical I/O bandwidth demands will be presented. After a brief overview of equalization techniques, design examples of equalizing receivers in 45nm SOI CMOS technologies will be shown, focusing on low-power circuits and architectures. Additionally, a compact 8x10-Gb/s I/O subsystem mounted to a silicon interposer via 50mm pitch "micro-C4" bumps will be described. The I/O includes a DFE-IIR equalizer in the receiver tailored for lossy silicon carrier interconnects, and bus-level redundancy that enables periodic recalibration of each serial link in a round-robin fashion. This work demonstrates the potential of silicon packaging technologies for achieving high bandwidth chip-to-chip communication by sending multi-Gb/s data over a large number of parallel interconnects, paving the way for increased module bandwidth for high-performance computing systems.

    Timothy (Tod) Dickson received the B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto. Since 2006, he has been with the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, where he is currently a Research Staff Member. His research focuses on the design of low-power multi-Gb/s serial I/O transceivers. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University in New York City, where he teaches graduate-level courses in analog and mixed-signal circuits and systems.
    Dr. Dickson has been a recipient or co-recipient of several best paper awards, including the Best Paper Award for the 2009 IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, the Beatrice Winner Award for Editorial Excellence at the 2009 ISSCC, the Best Student Paper Award at the 2004 Symposium on VLSI Circuits, and the Best Paper Award at the 2011 IEEE Conference on Electrical Performance of Electronic Packaging and Systems. He served as a member of the Technical Programming Committee of the IEEE Compound Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Symposium from 2007-2009, and was a guest editor of the October 2010 issue of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits.

    Dr. Bob Melville
    Emecon, LLC

    September 14th, 2pm
    Mudd 633

    Parametric Excitation

    A time-varying capacitor embedded in suitable supporting circuitry can be made to exhibit a negative resistance -- hence, can provide gain, sustain an oscillation or convert energy from one frequency to another -- all theoretically noise-free and with 100% efficiency (because it is a lossless circuit element).Of course, there are some details and parasitic resistances degrade the efficiency.
    In this talk, I will survey some of the early history of such parametric circuits, then show some modern circuit implementations with possible applications to RFID tags or (very ambitious) a possible replacement for the traveling-wave tube.

    Bob Melville did his undergraduate training at the University of Delaware, then went on to graduate work at Cornell, culminating in a Ph. D. in Computer Science in 1981. He was a junior faculty member at Johns Hopkins University before joining Bell Labs in 1985. He worked at the labs for 16 years in the areas of computer-aided design, numerical simulation of electronic circuits, and design an fabrication of RF integrated circuits. Most recently, he has taught electrical engineering at Columbia University and served with the United States Antarctic Program at the Amundsen-Scott base at the South Pole doing engineering work in support of geophysics experiments.
    Dr. Melville is a member of the IEEE, has served as a professional referee for various IEEE-sponsored journals and conferences, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He co-organized a conference on numerical circuit simulation at Sandia National Labs and participated in the AT&T "Teachers and Technology" enrichment program for high-school math and science teachers. He is also extra-class amateur radio operator wb3eft.
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