Electronic Circuits and Systems

Figure : Architecture of a smart sensor node with the related challenges for a sustainable Internet-of-Things

The research direction in electronic circuits and systems at UCL spreads over all levels of abstraction in integrated circuit (IC) design: from nanoscale CMOS process technology to disruptive analog/digital/RF circuit building blocks to complex mixed-signal systems-on-chip (SoCs). An overview of current and latest research activities can be found in this presentation.

Principal Investigators :

David Bol, Denis FlandreJean-Didier Legat, François-Xavier Standaert

Research Areas :

Robust circuit design in emerging CMOS technologies both in More-Moore and More-than-Moore directions require accurate technology characterization and models. In the ECS group, a strong focus is put on analog/RF characterization of these emerging technologies as well as on research in digital design enablement and the study of new concepts related to on-chip sensors, actuators and energy harvesters.

Since 2000, the spectrum of electronic circuits systems is no longer divided into high-performance (high-speed, high accuracy, high robustness, etc.) and low-power applications. Indeed, energy efficiency is today paramount for all types of applications including high-performance computing, wireless communications, remote sensing, harsh-environment operation, power management, etc. In this context, research is carried out in the ECS group to improve the energy efficiency of various types of high-performance applications. Research at the circuit design abstraction level are focused on both analog and digital design methodologies, analog/mixed-signal (AMS) building blocks (RF, power management), digital architecture (DSP, memories) and adaptive techniques, sensing circuits (imagers, biosensors, ADC).

Securing small embedded devices against mathematical and physical attacks while maintaining the level of performances of emerging applications (sensor networks, RFIDs, Internet of Things) is a challenging optimization goal. It usually requires mixing advances at different abstraction levels (protocol, algorithmic, implementation). In this context, we investigate tracks to take advantage of advanced technologies in order to both reduce the implementation and energy cost, and the security of the chip against tampering attacks, fault attacks and side-channel attacks.

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is progressively changing the way we live but its development triggers key technical challenges. IoT-related researches in the ECS group targets sustainability aspects of the IoT both technical and environmental, energy-harvesting operation (harvesters and power management) and ultra-low-power SoC design with experimental prototyping of SoCs including computing, sensing, wireless communication and power management.

Simulation and design tools are based on industry-standard softwares for integrated processes, devices and circuits. Prototyping is based on both cutting-edge CMOS manufacturing processes from industrial leaders (ST-Microelectronics, TSMC, UMC, X-Fab) and home-brewn processes for functionality diversification (“More than Moore”) supported by UCL WinFab facility. Circuits and systems characterizations are supported by UCL Welcome facility in a very large range of operating conditions (frequencies, temperatures, mechanical stress). Component irradiation for space, biomedical and nuclear physics related investigations is available at the nearby cyclotron research centre on benches qualified by ESA.

The design of custom ICs and SoCs is further investigated in collaboration with experts in the field of application of the circuits (e.g.: image processing, robotics, biomedical, smart sensors, aerospace, radiation hardness, nuclear science, high temperature, energy harvesting, green electronics, ultra low power, RFID, flexible electronics, telecommunication, RF, security, cryptography, etc).

Recent collaborations in electronics circuits and systems include: CEA-LETI (France), ST-Microelectronics (France), CNM (Spain), EADS (France), nSilition (Belgium), CISSOID (Belgium), Deltatec (Belgium), ACIC (Belgium), CETIC (Belgium), IMEC-Holst (Netherlands), AMS (Austria), MGL (Austria), Siemens (Germany), Samsung (UK), Fraunhofer (Germany), Thales (Belgium, France), SOI Industrial Consortium (USA), P.E. International (USA), Purdue University (USA).

Major recent projects (Funding, Topic) include : NanoSec (ARC, security), MSP (FP7, smart building), SAVE (RW, smart buildings/cities), CRASH (ERC, security), STARflo+ (RW, biomedical), TRIADE (FP7, aerospace), E-User (RW, RFID), EUROSOI+ (FP7, low-power SOI), MIMOCOM (RW, MIMO RF systems), S@T (RW, radiation hardness), Trappist (FNRS, nuclear physics), NANOTIC (RW, biochemical wireless sensors).

Most recent publications

Below are listed the 10 most recent journal articles and conference papers produced in this research area. You also can access all publications by following this link : see all publications.

Journal Articles

1. Van Brandt, Léopold; Bol, David; Saeidi, Roghayeh; Flandre, Denis. Accurate and Insightful Closed-Form Prediction of Subthreshold SRAM Hold Failure Rate. In: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMS—I: REGULAR PAPERS, Vol. 69, no.7, p. 2767-2780 (2022). doi:10.1109/TCSI.2022.3164680. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/264157

2. Xu, Pengcheng; Bol, David; Flandre, Denis. Analysis and Design of RF Energy-Harvesting Systems with Impedance-Aware Rectifier Sizing. In: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMS—II: EXPRESS BRIEFS, , p. 5 (2022). doi:10.1109/TCSII.2022.3171470 (Accepté/Sous presse). http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/264155

3. Hadj Said, Mohamed; Francis, Laurent; Tounsi, Fares; Hauwaert, Margo; Raskin, Jean-Pierre; Kaziz, Sinda; Flandre, Denis. Variation Range of Different Inductor Topologies with Shields for RF and Inductive Sensing Applications. In: Sensors, Vol. 22, no.9, p. 15 (2022). doi:10.3390/s22093514. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260806

4. Puyol Troisi, Rafael; Danlée, Yann; Francis, Laurent; Walewyns, Thomas; Pétré, Sylvain; Flandre, Denis. An Ultra-Low-Power Read-Out Circuit for Interfacing Novel Gas Sensors Matrices. In: IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 22, no.10, p. 9521-9533 (2022). doi:10.1109/JSEN.2022.3165755. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260786

5. Flandre, Denis; Vanbrabant, Martin; Kilchytska, Valeriya; Raskin, Jean-Pierre. Experimental study of thermal coupling effects in FD-SOI MOSFET. In: Solid-State Electronics, Vol. 194, no.108362, p. 4 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.sse.2022.108362. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260779

6. Lefebvre, Martin; Bol, David. A Family of Current References Based on 2T Voltage References: Demonstration in 0.18-μm With 0.1-nA PTAT and 1.1-μA CWT 38-ppm/°C Designs. In: IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers, (2022). doi:10.1109/TCSI.2022.3172647. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260735

7. P. Teixeira, Jennifer; Flandre, Denis; Çaha, Ihsan; Lontchi Jioleo, Jackson; M. P. Salomé, Pedro; A. Fernandes, Paulo; J. N. Oliveira, António; Chen, Wei-Chao; Edoff, Marika; Oliveira, Kevin; Deepak Francis, Leonard. SiOx Patterned Based Substrates Implemented in Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Ultrathin Solar Cells: Optimum Thickness. In: IEEE JOURNAL OF PHOTOVOLTAICS, , p. 8 (2022). (Accepté/Sous presse). http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260533

8. Yan, Yiyi; Raskin, Jean-Pierre; Kilchytska, Valeriya; Flandre, Denis. Investigation and optimization of traps properties in Al2O3/SiO2 dielectric stacks using conductance method. In: Solid-State Electronics, Vol. 194, p. 4 (2022). doi:10.1016/j.sse.2022.108347. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260500

9. D. Martinez-Perez, Antonio; Celma, Santiago; Aznar, Francisco; Flandre, Denis. Design-Window Methodology for Inductorless Noise-Cancelling CMOS LNAs. In: I E E E Access, Vol. 10, p. 29482-29492 (2022). doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2022.3158356. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/259751

10. Van Brandt, Léopold; Schramme, Maxime; Bol, David; Flandre, Denis. Comprehensive Analytical Comparison of Ring Oscillators in FDSOI Technology: Current Starving Versus Back-Bias Control. In: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMS—I: REGULAR PAPERS, Vol. 69, no. 5, p. 1883-1895 (2022). doi:10.1109/TCSI.2022.3144527. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/258018

Conference Papers

1. Halder, Arka; Lederer, Dimitri; Kilchytska, Valeriya; Rack, Martin; Raskin, Jean-Pierre; Nyssens, Lucas. 22 nm FD-SOI MOSFET Figures of Merit at high temperatures upto 175 °C. In: SiRF 2022 Proceedings, IEEE, 2022, 978-1-6654-3469-0, p. 27-30 xxx. doi:10.1109/sirf53094.2022.9720052. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/262713

2. Ionescu, Adrian M.; Roth, Florian; Bidoul, Noémie; Rosca, Teodor; D¨orpinghaus, Meik; Fettweis, Gerhard; Flandre, Denis. Spike-Based Sensing and Communication for Highly Energy-Efficient Sensor Edge Nodes. 2022 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260788

3. Nabet, Massinissa; Nyssens, Lucas; Rack, Martin; Lederer, Dimitri; Raskin, Jean-Pierre. Field-Effect Passivation of Lossy Interfaces in High-Resistivity RF Silicon Substrates. In: EuroSOI-ULIS 2021 Proceedings, IEEE, 2021, 9781665437462, p. 130-133 xxx. doi:10.1109/eurosoi-ulis53016.2021.9560697. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/262712

4. Nyssens, Lucas; Rack, Martin; Courte, Quentin; Lederer, Dimitri; Raskin, Jean-Pierre. Impact of Device Shunt Loss on DC-80 GHz SPDT in 22 nm FD-SOI. In: ESSDERC 2021 Proceedings, IEEE, 2021, 978-1-6654-3748-6, p. 195-198 xxx. doi:10.1109/ESSDERC53440.2021.9631835. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/262711

5. Jain, Sameer H.; Lederer, Dimitri; Kaltalioglu, Erdem; Prindle, Chris. Novel mmWave NMOS Device for High Pout mmWave Power Amplifiers in 45RFSOI. In: ESSDERC 2021 Proceedings, IEEE, 2021, 978-1-6654-3748-6, p. 199-202 xxx. doi:10.1109/ESSDERC53440.2021.9631775. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/262709

6. Pirson, Thibault; Bol, David; Le Brun, Grégoire; Raskin, Jean-Pierre. Can we cope with the upcoming massive deployment of IoT within environmental limits?. 2021 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/260531

7. Roisin, Nicolas; André, Nicolas; Francis, Laurent; Delhaye, Thibault; Flandre, Denis. Improving MOSFET Piezoresistive Strain Gauges Limit of Detection Using Lock-In Principle. In: Proceedings of the IEEE Sensors 2021, 2021 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/259484

8. Kilchytska, Valeriya; André, Nicolas; Francis, Laurent; Tounsi, Fares; Flandre, Denis; Amor, Sedki. In-situ recovery of on-membrane PD-SOI MOSFET from TID defects after gamma irradiation. In: 2021 Joint International EUROSOI Workshop and International Conference on Ultimate Integration on Silicon (EuroSOI-ULIS), 2021, 978-1-6654-3745-5 xxx. doi:10.1109/EuroSOI-ULIS53016.2021.9560673. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/252876

9. Moreau, Ludovic; Saeidi, Roghayeh; Bol, David; Lefebvre, Martin; Kneip, Adrian; Pirson, Thibault; Schramme, Maxime; Gonzalez Gonzalez, Marco Antonio; Dekimpe, Rémi; Xhonneux, Mathieu. SleepRider: a 5.5µW/MHz Cortex-M4 MCU in 28nm FD-SOI with ULP SRAM, Biomedical AFE and Fully-Integrated Power, Clock and Back-Bias Management. In: Proceedings of the 2021 Symposium on VLSI Circuits. p. 2 (28/07/2021). IEEE, 2021 xxx. doi:10.23919/VLSICircuits52068.2021.9492365. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/251534

10. Bol, David; Louveaux, Jérôme; Xhonneux, Mathieu. Implementing a LoRa Software-Defined Radio on a General-Purpose ULP Microcontroller. In: Proceedings of the 2021 International Workshop on Signal Processing Systems, 2021 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/251524