MIcro-NAno-electronics & RadioCommunications
The MINARC research team includes 9 permanent members (2 HDRs, 4 PhDs, 1 research engineer, and 2 visiting professors who will join from September 2012 onwards). 9 researchers are currently pursuing their doctoral studies with us.
A vast majority of our work is carried out as collaborative research which takes several forms:
- Bilateral research contracts; partners include CEA-LETI and Thales Airborne Systems.
- Trilateral research contracts; presently, two PhDs with STMicroelectronics and BWRC USA.
- CEFIPRA-funded Indo-French collaborations; with IISc Bangalore and DA-IICT Ahmedabad.
- CIFRE-funded PhDs; currently, with STMicroelectronics.
- Feasibility studies on topics of industry interest; for EMKA, Adicsys and SantéActions.
The research activities of the MINARC team fall under two broad categories.
Area 1: Ultimate CMOS & Beyond
Permanent members : Prof. Amara, Mr. Amiel, Dr. Anghel, Dr. Itoh, Prof. Vladimirescu, Prof. Yun.
Key words : Double Gate FDSOI (DG-FDSOI), Fully Depleted SOI (FDSOI), Low Power, Low voltage, Non Volatile Memory (NVM), Process Variability (PV), Silicon On Insulator (SOI), Static Read Access memory (SRAM), Tunneling Field effect Transistor (TFET).
The main objective of this research area is designing CMOS circuits that operate at the lowest possible supply voltage (with most transistors operating in sub threshold). Our interests cover analog/RF, digital circuits for standard-cell libraries, and memories implemented in both CMOS-bulk and SOI technology. Important contributions of our group in the area of SRAMs resulted in novel memory cells in CMOS-SOI using 4, 5 and 8 transistors operating at 0.4V with better noise margins in the retention, read and write modes, when compared to 6-transistor structures.
Another important research direction of our group is CMOS design under high parameter variation encountered in devices below 100nm. For bulk-CMOS circuits we concentrate on circuit innovation and design constraint definition that minimizes the impact of poorer parameter tolerances. We also investigate circuits fabricated in new processes such as FDSOI, Multi-gate SOI with reduced process variations, as well as circuits using new components such as nanowire transistors and molecular electronics.
An important activity is device research looking beyond the ubiquitous CMOS transistor to alternative configurations of the MOS devices such as the tunnel-FET transistor (TFET), impact-ionization transistor (IMOS), molecular transistors, MOS transistors in accumulation mode, silicon nanowires and carbon nanotubes. At the present time we are concentrating on the study and improvement of two lesser-known but promising structures: the TFET and the IMOS, focusing specifically on improving the ION of the TFET and the reliability of the IMOS.
The TFET is a structure that can replace conventional CMOS transistors in ultra low-power applications since it has a steeper subthreshold slope (lower than 60mV/dec) compared to CMOS, which makes the TFET a better switch than the CMOS. The main drawback of the TFET is its lower conduction current ION (at least 10 times lower than for CMOS). The other most promising structure is the impact-ionization MOS (IMOS) transistor. As with the TFET, the sub-threshold slope of the IMOS is steeper than that for CMOS; its main drawback is its reliability: impact ionization reduces the lifetime of the structure to some second or some hours.
Another part of our device research is the development of TCAD models for the new components. TCAD tools such as Atlas are used to study the behavior of different implementations of these novel devices and analyze the physical processes at work. Based on these device-level models we develop circuit-level models in VHDL and Verilog-AMS for studying the feasibility and robustness of circuits designed using these new components.
Area 2: Systems for wireless communications & biomedical applications
Permanent professors: Prof. Amara, Dr. Chan Wai Po, Dr. Abdaoui, Prof. Yun, Dr. X. Zhang.
Key words: Agile receivers, Biomedical implants, Body Area networks (BAN), Medium Access (MAC), Reconfigurable processing unit, Ultra Wide Band (UWB).
Our research goals in the area of new applications are situated in the zone where electronics and radio-communications converge.
A first potential for application is in the biomedical field. Our research projects include: Energy-efficient communication protocols for heterogenous Body-area networks (partner: Sorin group); Multi-electrode cardiac stimulation (partner: Sorin group); Self-adaptive front-ends for biomedical radios (partner: CEA-LETI); Feasibility of UWB and RFID for monitoring biomedical parameters (partner: EMKA), etc.
The second field of application wireless communications systems, with the aim of developing agile and reconfigurable components and sub-systems. Some of our projects in this include: Agile filters for RF and microwave applications (partner: Thales Airborne Systems); power-efficient MAC protocols for 3GPP LTE (partner: Chinese Academy of Science); Partial reconfiguration of ASICs by integrating FPGAs (partner: Adiscys), etc.