Innovation in Circuits and Devices

In the last nine years, IEL has developed very important scientific contributions related to system design (both hardware and software aspects) for nano-scale systems targeting the new Internet-of-Things (IoT) era. In particular, IEL has developed the fundamental main scientific contributions.

First, in order to enable the continuation of Moore’s law in latest and future nano-scale computing systems (both using CMOS and post-CMOS technologies), at IEL new optimization algorithms have been developed to improve the efficiency of logic synthesis. These algorithms rely on innovative logic data structures and optimization techniques based on majority and comparator logic connectivity, which enable smaller and faster circuits at lower costs. Then, at system-level, novel convex and machine learning based optimization algorithms have been proposed to solve the problem of design-/run-time thermal management strategies for high-performance many-core architectures, which allow to engineer thermally-controlled nanoscale computing systems. Moreover, IEL laboratories have worked on the deployment of next-generation three-dimensional (3D) chips including alternative on-chip liquid-based (single- and two-phase) cooling strategies that dynamically adjust the liquid flow rates, as well as voltage and frequencies of operation to minimize the overall computing and cooling energy in next-generation high-performance computing systems. Second, IEL has developed key contributions on the new research area of system-level design of ultra-low power IoT systems by pioneering the area of smart edge computing for long-term personal health monitoring systems and Lab-on-a-Chip systems. Within this research area, the results of IEL laboratories enabled the deployment of the first real-time personal ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring system based on compressive sensing, and innovative analytical solutions in the field of therapeutic drug monitoring and in the area of single-cell manipulation and characterization on chip.

Third, IEL has worked on the design of novel devices and sensors that enable more-than-Moore nanoelectronics targeting minimal energy consumption for the IoT era. In particular, in IEL in 2011 the first low-power transistors using a single layer of MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide) were made, and since then a new generation of MoS2-based electronic devices for logic circuits and flash memory devices have been engineer with exceptional properties that rival those of far more developed silicon-based technology. Then, IEL pioneered a new generation of steep slope transistors (tunnel FETs and ferroelectric FETs), MEMS and NEMS devices with vibrating body transistors to achieve energy-efficient digital, and low power sensing functions. Moreover, IEL laboratories have proposed in this period new nano-scale bio-sensing devices that exploit SiNWs, CNTs and memristive effects, as well as novel co-design approaches in Bio/Nano/CMOS interfaces, new lab-on-chip/CMOS integration solutions and a novel technology for microfluidic-embedded microsensors.