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A CMOS analog front-end circuit for micro-fluxgate sensors

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Fluxgate sensors are magnetic field sensors that can measure DC and low frequency AC magnetic fields. They can measure much lower magnetic fields than other magnetic sensors like Hall effect sensors, magnetoresistive sensors etc. They also have high linearity, high

Fluxgate sensors are magnetic field sensors that can measure DC and low frequency AC magnetic fields. They can measure much lower magnetic fields than other magnetic sensors like Hall effect sensors, magnetoresistive sensors etc. They also have high linearity, high sensitivity and low noise. The major application of fluxgate sensors is in magnetometers for the measurement of earth's magnetic field. Magnetometers are used in navigation systems and electronic compasses. Fluxgate sensors can also be used to measure high DC currents. Integrated micro-fluxgate sensors have been developed in recent years. These sensors have much lower power consumption and area compared to their PCB counterparts. The output voltage of micro-fluxgate sensors is very low which makes the analog front end more complex and results in an increase in power consumption of the system. In this thesis a new analog front-end circuit for micro-fluxgate sensors is developed. This analog front-end circuit uses charge pump based excitation circuit and phase delay based read-out chain. With these two features the power consumption of analog front-end is reduced. The output is digital and it is immune to amplitude noise at the output of the sensor. Digital output is produced without using an ADC. A SPICE model of micro-fluxgate sensor is used to verify the operation of the analog front-end and the simulation results show very good linearity.

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2013

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Design of a twelve bit, four hundred mega-samples-per-second, interpolating dual channel digital to analog converter featuring digital modulation

Description

Digital to analog converters (DACs) find widespread use in communications equipment. Most commercially available DAC's which are intended to be used in transmitter applications come in a dual configuration for carrying the in phase (I) and quadrature (Q) data and

Digital to analog converters (DACs) find widespread use in communications equipment. Most commercially available DAC's which are intended to be used in transmitter applications come in a dual configuration for carrying the in phase (I) and quadrature (Q) data and feature on chip digital mixing. Digital mixing offers many benefits concerning I and Q matching but has one major drawback; the update rate of the DAC must be higher than the intermediate frequency (IF) which is most commonly a factor of 4. This drawback motivates the need for interpolation so that a low update rate can be used for components preceding the DACs. In this thesis the design of an interpolating DAC integrated circuit (IC) to be used in a transmitter application for generating a 100MHz IF is presented. Many of the transistor level implementations are provided. The tradeoffs in the design are analyzed and various options are discussed. This thesis provides a basic foundation for designing an IC of this nature and will give the reader insight into potential areas of further research. At the time of this writing the chip is in fabrication therefore this document does not contain test results.

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2013

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Low power, high throughput continuous flow PCR instruments for environmental applications

Description

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation.

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation. Currently, such analysis is performed by the collection of large sample volumes from over a wide area and transporting them to laboratory testing facilities, which fail to provide any real-time information. This dissertation evaluates the systems currently utilized for in-situ field analyses and the issues hampering the successful deployment of such bioanalytial instruments for environmental applications. The design and development of high throughput, low power, and autonomous Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) instruments, amenable for portable field operations capable of providing quantitative results is presented here as part of this dissertation. A number of novel innovations have been reported here as part of this work in microfluidic design, PCR thermocycler design, optical design and systems integration. Emulsion microfluidics in conjunction with fluorinated oils and Teflon tubing have been used for the fluidic module that reduces cross-contamination eliminating the need for disposable components or constant cleaning. A cylindrical heater has been designed with the tubing wrapped around fixed temperature zones enabling continuous operation. Fluorescence excitation and detection have been achieved by using a light emitting diode (LED) as the excitation source and a photomultiplier tube (PMT) as the detector. Real-time quantitative PCR results were obtained by using multi-channel fluorescence excitation and detection using LED, optical fibers and a 64-channel multi-anode PMT for measuring continuous real-time fluorescence. The instrument was evaluated by comparing the results obtained with those obtained from a commercial instrument and found to be comparable. To further improve the design and enhance its field portability, this dissertation also presents a framework for the instrumentation necessary for a portable digital PCR platform to achieve higher throughputs with lower power. Both systems were designed such that it can easily couple with any upstream platform capable of providing nucleic acid for analysis using standard fluidic connections. Consequently, these instruments can be used not only in environmental applications, but portable diagnostics applications as well.

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2013

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Energy efficient RF transmitter design using enhanced breakdown voltage SOI-CMOS compatible MESFETs

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The high cut-off frequency of deep sub-micron CMOS technologies has enabled the integration of radio frequency (RF) transceivers with digital circuits. However, the challenging point is the integration of RF power amplifiers, mainly due to the low breakdown voltage of

The high cut-off frequency of deep sub-micron CMOS technologies has enabled the integration of radio frequency (RF) transceivers with digital circuits. However, the challenging point is the integration of RF power amplifiers, mainly due to the low breakdown voltage of CMOS transistors. Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) metal semiconductor field effect transistors (MESFETs) have been introduced to remedy the limited headroom concern in CMOS technologies. The MESFETs presented in this thesis have been fabricated on different SOI-CMOS processes without making any change to the standard fabrication steps and offer 2-30 times higher breakdown voltage than the MOSFETs on the same process. This thesis explains the design steps of high efficiency and wideband RF transmitters using the proposed SOI-CMOS compatible MESFETs. This task involves DC and RF characterization of MESFET devices, along with providing a compact Spice model for simulation purposes. This thesis presents the design of several SOI-MESFET RF power amplifiers operating at 433, 900 and 1800 MHz with ~40% bandwidth. Measurement results show a peak power added efficiency (PAE) of 55% and a peak output power of 22.5 dBm. The RF-PAs were designed to operate in Class-AB mode to minimize the linearity degradation. Class-AB power amplifiers lead to poor power added efficiency, especially when fed with signals with high peak to average power ratio (PAPR) such as wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA). Polar transmitters have been introduced to improve the efficiency of RF-PAs at backed-off powers. A MESFET based envelope tracking (ET) polar transmitter was designed and measured. A low drop-out voltage regulator (LDO) was used as the supply modulator of this polar transmitter. MESFETs are depletion mode devices; therefore, they can be configured in a source follower configuration to have better stability and higher bandwidth that MOSFET based LDOs. Measurement results show 350 MHz bandwidth while driving a 10 pF capacitive load. A novel polar transmitter is introduced in this thesis to alleviate some of the limitations associated with polar transmitters. The proposed architecture uses the backgate terminal of a partially depleted transistor on SOI process, which relaxes the bandwidth and efficiency requirements of the envelope amplifier in a polar transmitter. The measurement results of the proposed transmitter demonstrate more than three times PAE improvement at 6-dB backed-off output power, compared to the traditional RF transmitters.

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2012

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Biosensors and CMOS interface circuits

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Analysing and measuring of biological or biochemical processes are of utmost importance for medical, biological and biotechnological applications. Point of care diagnostic system, composing of biosensors, have promising applications for providing cheap, accurate and portable diagnosis. Owing to these expanding

Analysing and measuring of biological or biochemical processes are of utmost importance for medical, biological and biotechnological applications. Point of care diagnostic system, composing of biosensors, have promising applications for providing cheap, accurate and portable diagnosis. Owing to these expanding medical applications and advances made by semiconductor industry biosensors have seen a tremendous growth in the past few decades. Also emergence of microfluidics and non-invasive biosensing applications are other marker propellers. Analyzing biological signals using transducers is difficult due to the challenges in interfacing an electronic system to the biological environment. Detection limit, detection time, dynamic range, specificity to the analyte, sensitivity and reliability of these devices are some of the challenges in developing and integrating these devices. Significant amount of research in the field of biosensors has been focused on improving the design, fabrication process and their integration with microfluidics to address these challenges. This work presents new techniques, design and systems to improve the interface between the electronic system and the biological environment. This dissertation uses CMOS circuit design to improve the reliability of these devices. Also this work addresses the challenges in designing the electronic system used for processing the output of the transducer, which converts biological signal into electronic signal.

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2014

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Evaluation and characterization of Silicon MESFETs in low dropout regulators

Description

The partially-depleted (PD) silicon Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) is becoming more and more attractive for analog and RF applications due to its high breakdown voltage. Compared to conventional CMOS high voltage transistors, the silicon MESFET can be fabricated

The partially-depleted (PD) silicon Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) is becoming more and more attractive for analog and RF applications due to its high breakdown voltage. Compared to conventional CMOS high voltage transistors, the silicon MESFET can be fabricated in commercial standard Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) CMOS foundries without any change to the process. The transition frequency of the device is demonstrated to be 45GHz, which makes the MESFET suitable for applications in high power RF power amplifier designs. Also, high breakdown voltage and low turn-on resistance make it the ideal choice for switches in the switching regulator designs. One of the anticipated applications of the MESFET is for the pass device for a low dropout linear regulator. Conventional NMOS and PMOS linear regulators suffer from high dropout voltage, low bandwidth and poor stability issues. In contrast, the N-MESFET pass transistor can provide an ultra-low dropout voltage and high bandwidth without the need for an external compensation capacitor to ensure stability. In this thesis, the design theory and problems of the conventional linear regulators are discussed. N-MESFET low dropout regulators are evaluated and characterized. The error amplifier used a folded cascode architecture with gain boosting. The source follower topology is utilized as the buffer to sink the gate leakage current from the MESFET. A shunt-feedback transistor is added to reduce the output impedance and provide the current adaptively. Measurement results show that the dropout voltage is less than 150 mV for a 1A load current at 1.8V output. Radiation measurements were done for discrete MESFET and fully integrated LDO regulators, which demonstrate their radiation tolerance ability for aerospace applications.

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2013

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Integrated inductors with micro-patterned magnetic thin films for RF and power applications

Description

With increasing demand for System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) design in computer and communication technologies, integrated inductor which is an essential passive component has been widely used in numerous integrated circuits (ICs) such as in voltage

With increasing demand for System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) design in computer and communication technologies, integrated inductor which is an essential passive component has been widely used in numerous integrated circuits (ICs) such as in voltage regulators and RF circuits. In this work, soft ferromagnetic core material, amorphous Co-Zr-Ta-B, was incorporated into on-chip and in-package inductors in order to scale down inductors and improve inductors performance in both inductance density and quality factor. With two layers of 500 nm Co-Zr-Ta-B films a 3.5X increase in inductance and a 3.9X increase in quality factor over inductors without magnetic films were measured at frequencies as high as 1 GHz. By laminating technology, up to 9.1X increase in inductance and more than 5X increase in quality factor (Q) were obtained from stripline inductors incorporated with 50 nm by 10 laminated films with a peak Q at 300 MHz. It was also demonstrated that this peak Q can be pushed towards high frequency as far as 1GHz by a combination of patterning magnetic films into fine bars and laminations. The role of magnetic vias in magnetic flux and eddy current control was investigated by both simulation and experiment using different patterning techniques and by altering the magnetic via width. Finger-shaped magnetic vias were designed and integrated into on-chip RF inductors improving the frequency of peak quality factor from 400 MHz to 800 MHz without sacrificing inductance enhancement. Eddy current and magnetic flux density in different areas of magnetic vias were analyzed by HFSS 3D EM simulation. With optimized magnetic vias, high frequency response of up to 2 GHz was achieved. Furthermore, the effect of applied magnetic field on on-chip inductors was investigated for high power applications. It was observed that as applied magnetic field along the hard axis (HA) increases, inductance maintains similar value initially at low fields, but decreases at larger fields until the magnetic films become saturated. The high frequency quality factor showed an opposite trend which is correlated to the reduction of ferromagnetic resonant absorption in the magnetic film. In addition, experiments showed that this field-dependent inductance change varied with different patterned magnetic film structures, including bars/slots and fingers structures. Magnetic properties of Co-Zr-Ta-B films on standard organic package substrates including ABF and polyimide were also characterized. Effects of substrate roughness and stress were analyzed and simulated which provide strategies for integrating Co-Zr-Ta-B into package inductors and improving inductors performance. Stripline and spiral inductors with Co-Zr-Ta-B films were fabricated on both ABF and polyimide substrates. Maximum 90% inductance increase in hundreds MHz frequency range were achieved in stripline inductors which are suitable for power delivery applications. Spiral inductors with Co-Zr-Ta-B films showed 18% inductance increase with quality factor of 4 at frequency up to 3 GHz.

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2013

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Codoped zinc oxide by a novel co-spray deposition technique for solar cells applications

Description

Zinc oxide (ZnO), a naturally n-type semiconductor has been identified as a promising candidate to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent electrode in solar cells, because of its wide bandgap (3.37 eV), abundant source materials and suitable refractive

Zinc oxide (ZnO), a naturally n-type semiconductor has been identified as a promising candidate to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent electrode in solar cells, because of its wide bandgap (3.37 eV), abundant source materials and suitable refractive index (2.0 at 600 nm). Spray deposition is a convenient and low cost technique for large area and uniform deposition of semiconductor thin films. In particular, it provides an easier way to dope the film by simply adding the dopant precursor into the starting solution. In order to reduce the resistivity of undoped ZnO, many works have been done by doping in the ZnO with either group IIIA elements or VIIA elements using spray pyrolysis. However, the resistivity is still too high to meet TCO's resistivity requirement. In the present work, a novel co-spray deposition technique is developed to bypass a fundamental limitation in the conventional spray deposition technique, i.e. the deposition of metal oxides from incompatible precursors in the starting solution. With this technique, ZnO films codoped with one cationic dopant, Al, Cr, or Fe, and an anionic dopant, F, have been successfully synthesized, in which F is incompatible with all these three cationic dopants. Two starting solutions were prepared and co-sprayed through two separate spray heads. One solution contained only the F precursor, NH 4F. The second solution contained the Zn and one cationic dopant precursors, Zn(O 2CCH 3) 2 and AlCl 3, CrCl 3, or FeCl 3. The deposition was carried out at 500 &degC; on soda-lime glass in air. Compared to singly-doped ZnO thin films, codoped ZnO samples showed better electrical properties. Besides, a minimum sheet resistance, 55.4 Ω/sq, was obtained for Al and F codoped ZnO films after vacuum annealing at 400 &degC;, which was lower than singly-doped ZnO with either Al or F. The transmittance for the Al and F codoped ZnO samples was above 90% in the visible range. This co-spray deposition technique provides a simple and cost-effective way to synthesize metal oxides from incompatible precursors with improved properties.

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2013

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Resistance switching in chalcogenide based programmable metallization cells (PMC) and sensors under gamma-rays

Description

Chalcogenide glass (ChG) materials have gained wide attention because of their applications in conductive bridge random access memory (CBRAM), phase change memories (PC-RAM), optical rewritable disks (CD-RW and DVD-RW), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, and optical communications. One of the significant

Chalcogenide glass (ChG) materials have gained wide attention because of their applications in conductive bridge random access memory (CBRAM), phase change memories (PC-RAM), optical rewritable disks (CD-RW and DVD-RW), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, and optical communications. One of the significant properties of ChG materials is the change in the resistivity of the material when a metal such as Ag or Cu is added to it by diffusion. This study demonstrates the potential radiation-sensing capabilities of two metal/chalcogenide glass device configurations. Lateral and vertical device configurations sense the radiation-induced migration of Ag+ ions in germanium selenide glasses via changes in electrical resistance between electrodes on the ChG. Before irradiation, these devices exhibit a high-resistance `OFF-state' (in the order of 10E12) but following irradiation, with either 60-Co gamma-rays or UV light, their resistance drops to a low-resistance `ON-state' (around 10E3). Lateral devices have exhibited cyclical recovery with room temperature annealing of the Ag doped ChG, which suggests potential uses in reusable radiation sensor applications. The feasibility of producing inexpensive flexible radiation sensors has been demonstrated by studying the effects of mechanical strain and temperature stress on sensors formed on flexible polymer substrate. The mechanisms of radiation-induced Ag/Ag+ transport and reactions in ChG have been modeled using a finite element device simulator, ATLAS. The essential reactions captured by the simulator are radiation-induced carrier generation, combined with reduction/oxidation for Ag species in the chalcogenide film. Metal-doped ChGs are solid electrolytes that have both ionic and electronic conductivity. The ChG based Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC) is a technology platform that offers electric field dependent resistance switching mechanisms by formation and dissolution of nano sized conductive filaments in a ChG solid electrolyte between oxidizable and inert electrodes. This study identifies silver anode agglomeration in PMC devices following large radiation dose exposure and considers device failure mechanisms via electrical and material characterization. The results demonstrate that by changing device structural parameters, silver agglomeration in PMC devices can be suppressed and reliable resistance switching may be maintained for extremely high doses ranging from 4 Mrad(GeSe) to more than 10 Mrad (ChG).

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2013

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Modelling and simulation of plasmonic waveguides and nanolasers

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This thesis summarizes modeling and simulation of plasmonic waveguides and nanolasers. The research includes modeling of dielectric constants of doped semiconductor as a potential plasmonic material, simulation of plasmonic waveguides with different configurations and geometries, simulation and design of plasmonic

This thesis summarizes modeling and simulation of plasmonic waveguides and nanolasers. The research includes modeling of dielectric constants of doped semiconductor as a potential plasmonic material, simulation of plasmonic waveguides with different configurations and geometries, simulation and design of plasmonic nanolasers. In the doped semiconductor part, a more accurate model accounting for dielectric constant of doped InAs was proposed. In the model, Interband transitions accounted for by Adachi's model considering Burstein-Moss effect and free electron effect governed by Drude model dominate in different spectral regions. For plasmonic waveguide part, Insulator-Metal-Insulator (IMI) waveguide, silver nanowire waveguide with and without substrate, Metal-Semiconductor-Metal (MSM) waveguide and Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor-Insulator-Metal (MISIM) waveguide were investigated respectively. Modal analysis was given for each part. Lastly, a comparative study of plasmonic and optical modes in an MSM disk cavity was performed by FDTD simulation for room temperature at the telecommunication wavelength. The results show quantitatively that plasmonic modes have advantages over optical modes in the scalability down to small size and the cavity Quantum Electrodynamics(QED) effects due to the possibility of breaking the diffraction limit. Surprisingly for lasing characteristics, though plasmonic modes have large loss as expected, minimal achievable threshold can be attained for whispering gallery plasmonic modes with azimuthal number of 2 by optimizing cavity design at 1.55µm due to interplay of metal loss and radiation loss.

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2014