Circuit design for hybrid electronic-mechanical coupled resonators for sensing applications

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Belgium

December 24, 2021

Description

Circuit design for hybrid electronic-mechanical coupled resonators for

sensing applications

(ref. BAP-2021-809)

Last modification : Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The work will be performed in the ESAT-MICAS (Microelectronics and Sensors) research group at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) at KU Leuven, Europe's most innovative university (Reuters, since 2016 till now). ESAT-MICAS is internationally renowned for its wide range of research, education and valorization activities in integrated electronics (https: // www. esat.kuleuven.be/micas/). MICAS has over 80 researchers (postdocs and PhD students) from many different countries and offers a dynamic, thriving and interdisciplinary environment on a wide portfolio of research projects. The project is in collaboration with Prof. Kraft and Dr. Chen of the ESAT-MNS (Micro and Nano Systems) research group, who bring in the knowledge of mechanical coupled resonators into the project.

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Project

A PhD position is available within the frame of the FWO project "HEMCORES". Resonators or resonating structures are increasingly used in many applications, including many sensing applications. While crystal oscillators still hold the largest market revenue share in for instance smartphones, they are bulky and expensive. On the other hand, MEMS resonators can achieve higher frequencies and offer the potential for integration with microelectronic circuits at the die or package level, leading to a reduced cost and form factor (physical size), enhanced performance and enabling new functionality (e.g. intelligent sensing). Recently, MEMS weakly-coupled resonators (WCR) with mode localization have emerged because of their very high sensitivity and high common-mode rejection behavior. Purely mechanical weakly-coupled resonators with mode localization, however, suffer from fabrication-induced resonator mismatch, are hard to tune and have a low Q-factor in air, resulting in a low actual sensitivity performance. The new approach to be explored in the HEMCORES project is to design a hybrid electronic-mechanical system of weakly coupled resonators, i.e. to weakly couple a mechanical resonator(s) with an electronic resonator. Integration makes it cheap and small in size, and offers extra flexibility through the electronics.

This job opening covers a PhD research position (4 years) in the frame of this HEMCORES project. The candidate will investigate and explore the electronic circuit design for such hybrid WCR systems, mainly targeting sensing applications. The research will explore the fundamental limitations of such hybrid WCR sensing systems, but will also demonstrate the feasibility and expected high performance in air by designing a fully silicon-integrated prototype of such hybrid WCR. This work will be done in collaboration with postdoc researcher Dr. Chen, who coordinates the project, and another PhD researcher who works on the MEMS part of the hybrid WCR system.

Profile

Candidates should have a strong expertise in (analog/mixed-signal) IC design.

Additional research/development experience in any of the following topics is a plus:

  • hands-on experience in design of (analog/mixed-signal) integrated circuits

  • hands-on experience in MEMS and sensing structures

  • Candidates should be motivated, independent, show critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and should have strong team-player skills.

    Required background: Master in Electrical Engineering or Master in Nano Engineering with proven knowledge of analog/mixed-signal integrated electronic circuits.

    Excellent proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written.

    Offer

    The position offers :

  • A PhD scholarship for 4 years, with a competitive monthly stipend;
  • An exciting interdisciplinary research environment at KU Leuven, Europe's most innovative university;
  • The possibility to participate in international conferences and collaborations;
  • The possibility to interact with industry;
  • The PhD research position can start as soon as possible.

    Interested?

    Interested applicants should submit a motivation letter with a statement why this project fits with your expertise, a curriculum vitae, the names and contact information of 2 references.

    Please do not postpone submitting your application until the deadline. Applications are monitored continuously, and it could be that the vacancy closes before its end date once a candidate has been found.

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Georges Gielen, tel.: +32 16 324076, mail: georges.gielen@kuleuven.be .

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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