Opto-Electronics and Imaging
Lenseless holograph imaging
There has been tremendous interest within the research community to further electro-optical systems by reducing cost and optical complexity by introducing lenseless holographic imaging, as well as developing single pixel camera systems for very expensive sensing devices. Both methods require advanced image reconstruction algorithms, from which further parameters can be extracted through computer vision methods. Our focus is in the development of such system with application in particulate matter (pollutant) characterisation and concentration detection, as well as in water quality monitoring systems for rural areas. Both these application areas offer exciting research opportunities, while contribution to the quality of life of all South Africans.
Semiconductor and MEMS Devices
The Carl Emily Fuchs Institute for Micro-Electronics (CEFIM) MEMS group has experience in the design, manufacturing, development, characterisation and measurement of the uncooled microbolometer and cantilever IR sensor elements. The focus to date has been the thermoelectric modeling of these devices, including the development of novel theoretical models, multi-physics FEM simulation modeling as well as the SPICE modeling, improved experimental parameter extraction techniques and the development of the necessary experimental setups. Even though some of these techniques are already well published, new techniques have been proposed and investigated for a novel sensor design.
Further to the sensor characterisation, a significant research scope exists specifically for the novel dual element sensor in the areas of
* Analogue readout electronics
* Offset error compensation
* Digital signal processing of thermal images
Although the current MEMS focus is mostly on thermal imaging and IR sensors, there is also the potential for RF MEMS, inertial sensors, acoustic and ultrasonic actuators and Bio MEMS. Please feel free to contact us if you have a specific interest in these areas.
Microwave and mm-Wave Research
Our research team has three main driving applications:
mm-Wave Microelectronics for Terrestrial Communications
System-in-package (SiP), System-on-chip (SoC) and hybrid packaged devices are preferred at millimetre-wave frequencies due to the reduced interface complexity to larger transmit / receive systems. There are, however, significant research gaps w.r.t. hybrid packaging of semiconductors in the millimeter-wave frequency range, as well as the performance of on-chip passive components. These research gaps limit the commercial viability of these technologies. Current research interests include the pursuit of novel on-chip and hybrid millimetre-wave SiGe BiCMOS devices (VCOs, PAs, filters, antennas and arrays, phase shifters) and advanced techniques for passives modelling on-chip.
Characterization and Detection of Radiation Damage in Microelectronic Devices
With the ever increasing use of the low-cost CubeSat standard, the use of non-hardened semiconductors is becoming more commonplace in environments of ionizing radiation. This creates a new need for understanding the effects of total ionizing dose on both single devices and circuits and the development of methods to predict degradation over time. Furthermore, in-system detection and characterization of radiation degradation will also aid in calibrating sensor data and estimating mission lifetimes, as well as eliminating compromised sensors from consideration.
RF Electronics and Microelectronics for Radio Astronomy
Our group pursues research in a wide range of RF electronic and microelectronic solutions for radio astronomy. These include the development of development analogue pre-processing circuits to ease the requirements on data processing, CMOS SoC integration of MFAA LNAs and ADCs, and low-cost mm-wave integrated precipitable water vapour (IPWV) radiometry system development.
Photo-detectors and Silicon LED's*