Keynote Speakers & Abstracts

Farrokh Ayazi
Georgia Institute of Technology

Low-Power Inertial Measurement Chips for Health Informatics and IoT

This talk describes the development of contact microphones with micro-g resolution and multi-axis gyroscopes with self-calibration capabilities for use as acoustic auscultation devices in body-worn sensor arrays. Combining such devices into a multi-degree-of-freedom inertial measurement unit (IMU) on a single-chip, enables the simultaneous measurement of cardiopulmonary sounds, chest wall motion, heart ballistocardiogram signals, as well as of user body motion. The CMOS ASIC consists of switched capacitor and transimpedance amplifier front-end circuits that utilize correlated double sampling and chopping for the dynamic cancellation of offset and flicker noise, and use charge injection calibration techniques to compensate for MEMS capacitor mismatch. We discuss the prospects of reducing power while maintaining precision in interface ICs for MEMS IMUs.
Speaker Bio:

Farrokh Ayazi is the Ken Byers Professor in Microsystems in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received the B.S. degree from the University of Tehran, in 1994, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1997 and 2000, respectively, all in electrical engineering. His main research interest is in the design of integrated Micro/Nano-Electro-Mechanical-Systems, with a focus on high-Q acoustic resonators and advanced inertial sensors. This has resulted in over 250 refereed publications, and 55 patents. Dr. Ayazi is an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, Elsevier Sensors & Actuators: A. Physical Journal, and a past editor of the IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems. He was the general chair of the 2014 IEEE Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems conference. Dr. Ayazi was the co-founder and CTO of Qualtré, a spin-out of his research laboratory that commercialized bulk-acoustic-wave silicon gyroscopes for high precision applications, and which was acquired by Panasonic in 2016.

David Blaauw
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Sensors for the IoT

The internet of things (IoT) at the edge of the cloud is rapidly evolving, and is poised to become a large market for the semiconductor industry. Most IoT devices do not require man-machine interfaces, allowing their sizes to be reduced to the mm-scale. However, this means that their primary input data comes from sensors. High-performance sensors and sensor interfaces are thus of utmost importance to their successful implementation. However, IoT devices face unique challenges: their power supply is often poorly regulated, their operating temperatures can change rapidly and range widely and their small size limits the sensor technologies that can be employed. In this talk, we discuss how to overcome these challenges and present a number of sensor interfacing solutions that enable small (down to mm-scale) IoT devices to perform accurate sensing of their environment. In particular, we will discuss pressure, temperature, light and pH sensing, as well as more complex sensing modalities such as audio and image acquisition. Finally, we will showcase a number of complete mm-scale sensing systems operating in deployed environments.
Speaker Bio:

David Blaauw is the Kensall D. Wise Collegiate Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. His research focus is on VLSI circuit design, with particular emphasis on the design of ultra-low power and high performance design for miniature sensor nodes. This has resulted in over 550 papers and 60 patents. Before joining the University of Michigan in 2001, he worked for Motorola, Inc. in Austin, TX, where he was the manager of the High Performance Design Technology group. He received his B.S. in Physics and Computer Science from Duke University in 1986, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1991. David was the Technical Program Chair and General Chair for the International Symposium on Low Power Electronic and Design. He is an IEEE Fellow, a member of the ISSCC Technical Program Committee and the director of the Michigan Integrated Circuits Laboratory.

Alessandro Caspani

Capacitive pressure sensors in standard CMOS technology

The increasing demand for environmental sensors in mobile applications such as phones and smart-watches has driven the development of low-power barometers, which must achieve centimeter-level accuracy in tiny packages at minimal power consumption. This paper describes a high-performance pressure sensor comprising of a capacitive MEMS die and a read-out ASIC which is fabricated in a standard 130nm CMOS technology. To meet the requirements of different applications, its accuracy can be traded off with power consumption. In high-precision mode, better than 1Pa_rms accuracy (equivalent to less than 10cm) can be achieved at a refresh rate of 128Hz, while drawing less than 400μA. In low-power mode, better than 3Pa_rms accuracy (equivalent to less than 30cm) can be achieved at a refresh rate of 1Hz, while drawing less than 3μA or, alternatively, a refresh rate of 200Hz can be reached drawing less than 270µA. The most challenging performance requirements are noise and linearity of the sensor resulting in a target for motor sensitivity of the MEMS design and targets for analog circuit noise and ADC quantization noise of the ASIC design. An overview of pressure sensing technologies will be given and advantages of capacitive MEMS sensors outlined. MEMS and ASIC circuit architecture will be presented and implementation details given. The presentation concludes with an outlook into future pressure sensors.
Speaker Bio:

Alessandro Caspani received his M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Ph.d. in Information Technology from Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy, in 2011 and 2014 respectively. Since 2015 he is working at Infineon Technologies as concept engineer. His field of experience includes integrated electronics for MEMS technologies in acoustic and environmental sensing with focus on low-power applications.

Gael F. Close

A Stray-field-Immune Magnetic Displacement Sensor with 1% Accuracy

We present a novel magnetic angle sensor for the accurate and robust measurement of small angular displacements. Implemented in CMOS, the sensor is based on a novel gradient measurement concept made possible by combining Hall sensors with integrated magnetic concentrators. In typical applications, the peak output voltage of the Hall sensors will only be 1.5 mV at the maximum operating temperature (160°C), and thus requires high-performance low-offset readout electronics. Over its 14mm linear displacement range, the sensor’s total error is less than 1% including manufacturing tolerances, trimming accuracy, temperature and ageing effects, which meets automotive requirements. The realization of the sensor involved several novel design considerations, e.g. related to the on-chip signal processing and to the sensor’s calibration, which will be discussed during the presentation.
Speaker Bio:

Gael F. Close received a B.Sc. (Eng.) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Liège, Liège, Belgium, in 2003 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, in 2004 and 2008, respectively. From 2008 to 2011, he was with IBM Research, Zurich, Switzerland, developing phase-change memory chips. Since 2011, he has been with Melexis, Switzerland. As a Senior System Engineer, he led the technical development of the magnetic sensor product line. He has some 30 peer-reviewed publications about nano-electronic devices, circuit/system design, and sensor product development. He holds 1 patent, and is an IASCC Six Sigma Black Belt (2017).

Bart Dierickx

101 ways to readout a photodiode

The design of a pixel of an image sensor involves several contradictory trade-offs: between silicon area and complexity, noise and uniformity, quantum efficiency and fill factor, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio, speed, conversion gain, response speed and power dissipation, amongst others. In consumer imaging, pixel pitch is a dominant specification. However, in higher-end applications, there is often a need and opportunity to do “more” with and in the pixel. We will present several cases where more complex in-pixel electronics enables higher performance compared to “plain vanilla” types of pixels, or even completely new applications. Examples of these are: pixels that can handle wide dynamic range scenes, that can operate in “IWR” global shutter. Pixels that can measure distance by “time of flight” or “LIDAR” pixels. Pixels with sense amplifiers that maintain a constant bias across the photodetector. Pixels that separate AC and DC optical information, pixels that demodulate the optical information. Pixels may even record short movies in local memory. Pixels that count photons or particles.
Speaker Bio:

Bart Dierickx obtained an MSc from the KU Leuven, in 1983, and then a PhD, in 1990, both in Electrical Engineering. Starting as a CCD designer at the KU Leuven/ESAT, he then moved to IMEC in 1984, where he started working on CMOS image sensors. Apart from the working on image sensors, he has also done research on deep-cryogenic electronics, 1/f and RTS noise, and radiation hardness. In 2000, be founded FillFactory and became its CTO. In 2006 he founded Caeleste and has been its CTO ever since. He is the author of 150+ papers and holds 40+ patents in the image sensor domain.

Nick Van Helleputte

IC design techniques and architectures for non-invasive health monitoring with PPG

Photoplethysmography (PPG) is a non-invasive optical recording method to measure a number of vital signs in a very unobtrusive manner. While PPG has been employed in a clinical setting already for a few decades, it has regained popularity in the last decade specifically for wearable health applications. This talk will explain various IC design techniques for PPG readout circuits. Based on relevant recent state-of-the-art examples, common architectural approaches will be explained for low-power, high performance wearable health applications.
Speaker Bio:

Nick Van Helleputte received the MS degree in Electrical Engineering in 2004 from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He received his Ph.D. degree from the same institute in 2009 (MICAS research group). His PhD research focused on low-power ultra-wide-band analog front-end receivers for ranging applications. He joined imec in 2009 as an Analog R&D Design Engineer. He is currently R&D manager of the Connected Health Solutions group. His research focus is on ultra-low-power circuits for biomedical applications. This has led to over 50 peer-reviewed papers, and to the design of several analog and mixed-signal ASICs that have been used in commercially-available wearable and implantable healthcare applications. He is an IEEE member and has served on the technical program committees of the VLSI circuits symposium and ISSCC.

Patrick P. Mercier
University of California, San Diego

Energy-Efficient Power Management Circuits for IoT and Wearable Devices

Next-generation wearable and IoT devices require small form factor implementations with long battery life. Most of their circuitry, including computation, sensing, and wireless communications, will be realized in SoCs that will operate at 1V or below. However, small batteries typically provide higher voltages than this, and so dc–dc converters are required. These must then be small, and capable of efficient operation over a wide range of loads (nanowatts for always-on circuits to milliwatts for duty-cycled radios). Unfortunately, dc-dc converters often require bulky inductors, and scaled CMOS processes cannot handle the required voltages. This presentation will discuss topological solutions and circuit optimizations to increase the efficiency of Li-ion-to-SoC dc-dc converters, while minimizing their quiescent power and reducing their size. Energy harvesting solutions, including techniques for low-area multi-modal harvesting power aggregation, will also be discussed.
Speaker Bio:

Patrick Mercier is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-founder/co-director of the Center for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego. He received his B.Sc. degree from the University of Alberta, in 2006, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in 2008 and 2012, respectively. His research interests include the design of energy-efficient mixed-signal systems, RF circuits, power converters, and sensor interfaces for wearable, medical, and mobile applications. This has led to over 110 peer-reviewed papers and two co-edited books. He has received numerous awards, including the 2010 ISSCC Jack Kilby Award for best paper. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems and the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Letters, and is a member of the ISSCC, CICC, and VLSI Technical Program Committees.

Michiel Pertijs
Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

Smart Ultrasound Probes: Going Digital in the Probe Tip

While medical ultrasound imaging is currently mainly done using hand-held probes connected to relatively bulky imaging systems, various new application areas are emerging that call for advanced miniaturized ultrasound devices. Examples include catheters capable of providing real-time 3D images to guide minimally-invasive interventions, and wearable devices for new monitoring and diagnostic applications. In contrast with conventional probes, which contain little or no electronics, these new devices need to become “smart”: integrated circuits need to be integrated into the probe to interface with the many transducer elements (typically 1000+) needed for real-time 3D imaging. This talk discusses the challenges and opportunities associated with integrated circuit design for smart ultrasound probes, focusing on strategies for channel-count reduction and digitization that pave the way towards probes with fully-digital interfaces. The talk will include examples of state-of-the-art designs featuring transducer-on-CMOS integration and pitch-matched circuits for high-voltage pulsing, beamforming and digitization.
Speaker Bio:

Michiel A. P. Pertijs received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering (both cum laude) from Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands, in 2000 and 2005, respectively. From 2005 to 2008, he was with National Semiconductor, Delft, where he designed precision operational amplifiers and instrumentation amplifiers. From 2008 to 2009, he was a Senior Researcher with imec / Holst Centre, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. In 2009, he joined the Electronic Instrumentation Laboratory of Delft University of Technology, where
he is now an Associate Professor. He heads a research group focusing on integrated circuits for smart ultrasound devices. He has authored or co-authored two books, four book chapters, 15 patents, and over 120 technical papers. Dr. Pertijs served as an Associate Editor of the
IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (JSSC). He is a member of the technical program committee of the European Solid-State Circuits Conference (ESSCIRC), and also served on the program committees of the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and the
IEEE Sensors Conference. He has received several awards, including the ISSCC 2005 Jack Kilby Award and the JSSC 2005 Best Paper Award. In 2014, he was elected Best Teacher of the EE program at Delft University of Technology.

Martijn Snoeij
Texas Instruments

Precision Fluxgate Magnetic Sensors for Current and Position Sensing

Magnetic sensors have a wide range of applications. While many are used to create an electronic compass, two very significant application areas are isolated current sensing and position sensing, which are fueled by the renewable energy build-out, electrification of vehicles, and factory automation. In order to limit system size and cost, the integration of a magnetic sensor along with readout circuitry on a single IC is highly desirable. Compared to other sensors, fluxgate have some unique properties, such as their particular suitability to be operated in a closed loop, allowing for very good linearity, along with high sensitivity and low noise, thus enabling high dynamic range. These properties, along with the co-integration of both sensor and circuit onto a single die, offer new opportunities for a low-noise, high-speed and low-power readout circuit. Different options will be discussed, such as a fully analog readout circuit, as well as the possibility to integrate an A/D converter in the sensor’s loop.
Speaker Bio:

Martijn Snoeij received his M.Sc. degree and Ph.D degree from Delft University (The Netherlands) in 2001 and 2007, respectively. In 2007, he joined Texas Instruments in Germany where he is a senior analog circuit designer. He has worked on a range of precision analog IC designs that include a precision fluxgate magnetic sensor, CMOS analog sensor front-ends, chopper-stabilized instrumentation amplifiers as well as bipolar amplifiers with JFET inputs. He also has been actively involved in IC process development for precision circuitry and sensors. Dr. Snoeij has authored or co-authored 18 IEEE papers and holds 12 patents.

Kamran Souri

High-Resolution Temperature Sensors for State-of-the-Art MEMS Frequency References

In temperature-compensated MEMS frequency references, stringent requirements on phasenoise and jitter, require the use of high-resolution temperature sensors. Such sensors must also be fast enough to maintain frequency stability during fast thermal transients. In this paper, two different temperature sensor designs will be presented. For battery-powered systems, a BJT-based sensor is presented which achieves sub-mK resolution at a conversion rate of 2kS/s. For more demanding telecommunications and networking applications, a sensor based on the use of dual-MEMS oscillators is presented. At a conversion rate of 200S/s, it achieves an extremely high resolution of 20uK, which is essential to meet the stringent phase noise and integrated phase jitter (IPJ) of such applications. Both sensors achieve stateof-the-art energy efficiency.
Speaker Bio:

Kamran Souri received his M.Sc. (cum laude) and Ph.D. from the Electrical Instrumentation Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, in 2009 and 2016, respectively. In 2014 he joined SiTime Corp., Santa Clara, CA, USA, where he worked on the design of MEMS-based frequency references. In 2017, Dr. Souri started SiTime’s design center in Delft, where he is currently the Director of Circuit Design Engineering. His research interests include the design of low-power, energy-efficient sensor interfaces, data converters and precision analog circuits. He has authored or co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed scientific papers, one book, and holds several U.S. patents. For his Ph.D. research, Dr. Souri was awarded the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Pre-doctoral Achievement Award, in 2013.

Zhichao Tan
Zhejiang University

Energy-efficient CMOS humidity sensors

Capacitive sensor systems are highly energy efficient. In practice, however, their energy consumption is typically dominated by the interface circuit that digitizes the sensor capacitance, such interface is usually named “Capacitance-to-Digital Converter (CDC)” which is the bridge between the physical capacitive sensor and the digital information processing world. The coming era of internet of thing (IoT) asks for sensors decreasing power dissipation while keeping high performance. Innovations are highly demanded for such high-power efficient interface design. Therefore, new circuit and system level solutions are developed in the past to drive the interface energy efficiency even higher. In this talk, we will first review the development of CDC in the past and then mainly focus on both circuit and system level approaches to show how to design an ultra-low-power capacitance-to-digital converter. Furthermore, as an illustration, two record breaking Ultra-Low-Power humidity sensors for IoT environment application are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed techniques.
Speaker Bio:

Zhichao Tan (Senior Member, IEEE) received the B.Eng. degree from Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China, in 2004, the M.Eng. degree from Peking University, Beijing, China, in 2008, and the Ph.D. degree from Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands, in 2013.

He was a Staff IC Design Engineer working on low-power high-precision analog/mixed-signal circuit design with Analog Devices Inc., Wilmington, MA, USA, from 2013 to 2019. In 2019, he joined Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, as a Faculty Member. He holds 5 U.S. patents and authored or coauthored more than 40 technique papers. His current research interests are in the areas of energy-efficient sensor interfaces, precision analog circuits, and ultralow-power analog-to-digital converters (ADCs).

Dr. Tan is currently an Associate Editor of the IEEE SENSORS JOURNAL. He served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMS I: REGULAR PAPERS and IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS. He was the a TPC Member of IEEE Asian Solid-State Circuits Conference and IEEE Sensors Conference. He was the Chair of IEEE Industrial Electronics Society Technical Committee on MEMS and Nanotechnology from 2019 to 2020.

Prof. Massimo Alioto, Ph.D.
ECE – National University of Singapore

Always-On Sensing Systems Solely Powered by Renewable Energy for Sustainable Scaling to the Trillions

Sensing systems on chip are scaling in numbers at an exponential pace, according to a trend that outpaces and outlasts Moore’s law with a trillion-range target in about a decade. Sustaining such trend is now being fundamentally impeded by the adoption of batteries as conventional source of energy. Indeed, producing, deploying, replacing, and disposing batteries at the trillion scale will obstruct the necessary advances in cost, form factor, system lifespan and sensing system availability over time, while also posing a formidable threat to the environment. Ultimately, scaling to the trillions of devices requires a major shift in the energy source usage to make sensing systems on chip sustainable technologically, economically and environmentally. This talk introduces key ideas and their silicon demonstration to enable a new breed of always-on sensing systems on chip with no battery inside (or any other energy storage, for that matter). Highly power-scalable systems with adaptation to the highly-fluctuating power profile of energy harvesters is shown to enable next-generation pervasive integrated systems with cost well below 1$, size of few millimeters, long lifetime well beyond the traditional shelf life of batteries, yet at near-100% up-time. Key on-chip component, sensor interfaces and complete sensing systems fitting existing wireless infrastructure are discussed and exemplified by numerous silicon demonstrations with power reductions by several orders of magnitude compared to recent art.
Speaker Bio:

Massimo Alioto is a Professor at the ECE Department of the National University of Singapore, where he leads the Green IC group, the Integrated Circuits and Embedded Systems area, and the FD-fAbrICS center on intelligent&connected systems. Previously, he held positions at the University of Siena, Intel Labs – CRL (2013), University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (2011-2012), University of California – Berkeley (2009-2011), EPFL - Lausanne.

He is (co)author of 330+ publications on journals and conference proceedings, and four books with Springer. His primary research interests include ultra-low power and self-powered systems, green computing, circuits for machine intelligence, hardware security, and emerging technologies.

He is the Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems, Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, and was Deputy Editor in Chief of the IEEE Journal on Emerging and Selected Topics in Circuits and Systems. Previously, Prof. Alioto was the Chair of the “VLSI Systems and Applications” Technical Committee of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (2010-2012), Distinguished Lecturer (2009-2010) and member of the Board of Governors (2015-2020). He served as Guest Editor of numerous journal special issues, Technical Program Chair of several IEEE conferences (ISCAS 2023, SOCC, PRIME, ICECS), and TPC member (ISSCC, ASSCC). Prof. Alioto is an IEEE Fellow.

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