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 :

Martin Andraud, 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. Parion, Jonathan; Scaffidi, Romain; Duerinckx, Filip; Sivaramakrishnan, Hariharsudan; Flandre, Denis; Poortmans, Jef; Vermang, Bart. Comparative study of the interface passivation properties of LiF & Al2O3 using silicon MIS capacitor. In: Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 124, no.14, p. 142901 (2024). doi:10.10363/5.0203484. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/286543

2. Masarweh, Eléonore; Arseenko, Mariia; Guaino, Philippe; Flandre, Denis. Membrane-based mechanical characterization of screen-printed inks: Deflection analysis of ink layers on polyimide membranes. In: Applied Research, (2024). doi:10.1002/appl.202300113 SECTIONS. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/285599

3. Vanbrabant, Martin; Raskin, Jean-Pierre; Flandre, Denis; Kilchytska, Valeriya. Impact of thermal coupling effects on the digital and analog figures of merit of UTBB SOI MOSFET pairs. In: Solid - State Circuits, Vol. 2023, p. 108623 (2023). doi:10.1016/j.sse.2023.108623. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283154

4. Qaderi, Fatemeh; Rosca, Teodor; Burla, Maurizio; Leuthold, Juerg; Flandre, Denis; Ionescu, Adrian M. Millimeter-wave to near-terahertz sensors based on reversible insulator-to-metal transition in VO2. In: Communications Materials, , no.34 (2023). doi:10.1038/s43246-023-00350-x. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283150

5. Afzalian, Aryan; Flandre, Denis. Ultra-Scaled Si Nanowire Biosensors for Single DNA Molecule Detection. In: Sensors, Vol. 23, no.12, p. 5405 (2023). doi:10.3390/s23125405. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283148

6. Xie, Zhengdao; Li, Guoli; Xia, Shengxuan; Liu, Chang; Zhang, Sen; Flandre, Denis. Ultimate Limit in Optoelectronic Performances of Monolayer WSe2 Sloping-Channel Transistors. In: Nano Letters : a journal dedicated to nanoscience and nanotechnology, Vol. 23, p. 6664-6672 (2023). doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.3c01866. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283147

7. Puyol Troisi, Rafael; Walewyns, Thomas; Francis, Laurent; Flandre, Denis. Design of Ultra-Low-Power Sensor Readout Circuits Through Adaptive Biasing for Gas Monitoring With Chemiresistive Sensors. In: IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 23, no.22, p. 27468-27477 (2023). doi:10.1109/JSEN.2023.3322393. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283145

8. Kaziz, Sinda; Hadj Said, Mohamed; Imburgia, Antonino; Maamer, Bilel; Flandre, Denis; Romano, Pietro; Tounsi, Fares. Radiometric Partial Discharge Detection: A Review. In: energies, Vol. 16, no.4, p. 1978 (2023). doi:10.3390/en16041978. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/272892

9. Lefebvre, Martin; Flandre, Denis; Bol, David. A 1.1- / 0.9-nA Temperature-Independent 213- / 565-ppm/°C Self-Biased CMOS-Only Current Reference in 65-nm Bulk and 22-nm FDSOI. In: IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 58, no. 8, p. 2239-2251 (2023). doi:10.1109/jssc.2023.3240209 (Accepté/Sous presse). http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/272466

10. Golard, Louis; Louveaux, Jérôme; Bol, David. Evaluation and projection of 4G and 5G RAN energy footprints: the case of Belgium for 2020–2025. In: Annales des Télécommunications, Vol. online (2023). doi:10.1007/s12243-022-00932-9. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/267972

Conference Papers

1. Parion, Jonathan; Scaffidi, Romain; Flandre, Denis; Brammertz, Guy; Vermang, Bart. Low-temperature admittance spectroscopy for defect characterization in Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 thin-film solar cells. In: IEEE EUROCON 2023 - 20th International Conference on Smart Technologies, 2023, 978-1-6654-6398-0 xxx. doi:10.1109/EUROCON56442.2023.10199008. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283161

2. Bidoul, Noémie; Rosca, Teodor; Ionescu, Adrian M.; Flandre, Denis. Static and Dynamic Stochastic Analysis of a Temperature-Sensitive VO2 Spiking Neuron. In: 53rd European Solid-State Device Research Conference (ESSDERC), 2023, 979-8-3503-0424-4 xxx. doi:10.1109/ESSDERC59256.2023.10268509. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/283155

3. Chen, Qi; Flandre, Denis. TCAD Simulation Study on P-type Source-gated CuO TFTs. 2023 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/281173

4. Chen, Qi; Zeng, Xi; Flandre, Denis. Impact of passivation layer on the subthreshold behavior of p-type CuO accumulation-mode thin-film transistors. 2023 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/281169

5. Golard, Louis; Bol, David; Louveaux, Jérôme. A Configurable RAN Model to Evaluate and Reduce its Power Consumption and Carbon Footprint. 2023 xxx. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/278543

6. Bidoul, Noémie; Huet, Benjamin; Ureña Begara, Ferran; Raskin, Jean-Pierre; Flandre, Denis. Tuning the stochasticity of VO2 neurons firing-threshold through grain size engineering. In: Proceedings of Neuromorphic Materials, Devices, Circuits and Systems, 2023, p. 050 xxx. doi:10.29363/nanoge.neumatdecas.2023.050. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/272256

7. Kneip, Adrian; Lefebvre, Martin; Verecken, Julien; Bol, David. A 1-to-4b 16.8-POPS/W 473-TOPS/mm2 6T-based In-Memory Computing SRAM in 22nm FD-SOI with Multi-Bit Analog Batch-Normalization. In: ESSCIRC 2022, 2022, 978-1-6654-8494-7/2 xxx. doi:10.1109/ESSCIRC55480.2022.9911348. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/268575

8. Dekimpe, Rémi; Bol, David. Mixed-Signal Compensation of Tripolar Cuff Electrode Imbalance in a Low-Noise ENG Analog Front-End. In: ESSCIRC 2022, 2022, 978-1-6654-8494-7/2 xxx. doi:10.1109/ESSCIRC55480.2022.9911326. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/268574

9. Kaziz, Sinda; Imburgia, Antonino; Flandre, Denis; Rizzo, Giuseppe; Romano, Pietro; Viola, Fabio; Ala, Guido; Tounsi, Fares. Performances of a PCB-based Loop Antenna Inductive Sensor for Partial Discharges Detection. p. 9-12. In: Proceedings of the 2022 IEEE 4th International Conference on Dielectrics (ICD 2022), I E E E, 2022, 978-1-6654-1833-1/22, 9-12 xxx. doi:10.1109/ICD53806.2022.9863503. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/267421

10. Imburgia, Antonino; Kaziz, Sinda; Romano, Pietro; Flandre, Denis; Artale, Giovanni; Rizzo, v; Viola, Fabio; Tounsi, Fares; Ala, Guido. Investigation of PCB-based Inductive Sensors Orientation for Corona Partial Discharge Detection. p. 559-563. In: proceedings of the 2022 IEEE 21st Mediterranean Electrotechnical Conference, I E E E, 2022, 978-1-6654-4280-0/22, 559-563 xxx. doi:10.1109/MELECON53508.2022.9843026. http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/267417