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Two Masdar Institute Faculty Members Present Papers at ISSCC 2012 in San Francisco

First-Ever Papers from MENA Region to be Accepted for Presentation at Premier Forum for Advances in Solid-state Circuits and Systems-on-a-chip

 

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 26 February, 2012 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced two of its faculty members presented papers at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2012 in San Francisco.

This is the first time scientific papers from any Arab country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have been accepted by the ISSCC. Dr. Jerald Yoo and Dr. Michael Perrott, both Professors of Microsystems Engineering at Masdar Institute, presented papers titled ‘An 8-Channel Scalable EEG Acquisition SoC with Fully Integrated Patient-Specific Seizure Classification and Recording Processor’, and ‘A Temperature-to-Digital Converter for a MEMS-Based Programmable Oscillator with Better Than ±0.5ppm Frequency’, respectively.

Themed ‘Silicon Systems for Sustainability’, the 59th edition of the ISSCC is being held from 19-23 February. The flagship conference of the Solid-State Circuits Society, ISSCC is a premier forum for the presentation of advances in solid-state circuits and systems-on-a-chip, which is the integration of circuit components, such as analog, digital, memory, and clock module,on a common (silicon) device. This year, the conference featured more than 200 technical presentations, including the two from Masdar Institute faculty, which represented the benchmark results, designs in state-of-the-art processes, and circuits in emerging device technologies.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: “ISSCC is extremely selective and so accepting two papers from our Microsystems Engineering faculty signifies Masdar Institute’s strong capability in Microsystems Engineering, particularly in areas of great relevance globally. Masdar Institute has become the first-ever institution in the MENA region to gain such an extraordinary honor, which bears testimony to our excellent faculty. We will continue to reach more science and engineering milestones and thank the UAE’s leadership for their support and clear economic development plans to help guide our research efforts and achieve such global recognitions.”

Prof Perrott also presented a talk in an evening session titled ’VCO-Based Quantizers: Has Their Time Arrived?’. In addition, he is on the Data Converters Subcommittee that was chaired by Venu Gopinathan of Texas Instruments, Bangalore. Dr Yoo participated as a panelist on a session titled ‘What is the Next RF Frontier?’ He offered his remarks during the session titled ‘Is RF Really and Answer for Healthcare Applications? – Low Power Circuits for BAN’.

Dr. Yoo’s work is from his MIT research collaboration with Dr. Anantha Chandrakasan, Professor and EECS Dept. Head at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Yoo and Dr. Chandrakasan have developed a system-on-a-chip (SoC) to detect, classify and record seizure activity from a patient’s electrical brain activity, referred to scientifically as a surface electroencephalogram (EEG). A patient-specific seizure pattern learning algorithm is employed to enable mapping of brain activity that occurs before a seizure is physically experienced. This SoC is the first full integration of seizure classification processor with analog front-end and data recording engine. Over a 50 million people are suffering from epilepsy around the world today , and they can benefit from this SoC. The work is a major development for both ultra-low power electronics and healthcare.

Dr. Perrott’s work was performed at SiTime Corporation, an analog semiconductor company that makes MEMS timing solutions and is based in Silicon Valley, US.  A highly stable frequency reference is presented that opens new doors to using silicon-based micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) resonators, oscillators, and clock generators for timing.  Nearly all modern electronic systems rely on timing devices, such as the clock required for microprocessors, the radio frequency generation required for wireless transceivers, and the timekeeping required for high speed internet traffic. The work in this paper shows that MEMS-based timing devices can offer very high performance that is similar to or better than quartz-based solutions, and points toward the possibility that MEMS-based devices could become the dominant source of timing for future electronic devices.

Predicting the future advances in ‘solid-state circuits and systems-on-a-chip’, Dr. Yoo said: “Healthcare sector is one of the semiconductor industry’s most promising fields of application. Circuit technology advances to date have dramatically increased microchip performance. Nowmicrosystems applications in fields such as healthcare are driving new innovations that will have the most profound future impacts. New technologies are being developed that satisfy the cross-cutting needs such as energy efficiency, high signal to noise for biomedical applications and patient safety– all at once.

"This year’s theme is ‘Silicon Systems for Sustainability’, a subject quite relevant to my research and in today’s world. In order to achieve sustainable world, low energy circuit technology is a key player. For instance, just 10% energy reduction in a unit circuit will save over 5 MWh of energy per year consumed by Google Data Center, according to the Google website. One of my research areas is to minimize energy consumption of biomedical circuits.”

According to Prof. Perrott, ‘Advances in mixed-signal integrated circuit design techniques enable new electronic devices to be developed which have more features, higher performance, lower power, smaller size, and lower cost than incumbent technology. MEMS technology enables entirely new sensors based on the electro-mechanical properties of materials.  In this work, we have shown that the combination of advanced mixed-signal design techniques and MEMS technology enables timing devices which have excellent frequency stability and unprecedented flexibility compared to traditional quartz-based solutions.”

Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.

 

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