Active and concluded projects

ACTIVE PROJECTS:

 

Sensor Fusion (SENFUS) 

- project (2019 - 2022)

- main partner: ams AG, Graz (Austria)

Abstract:

Project Sensor Fusion develops the platform for integration of ARM Cortex platform on the chip level with sensors, information processing and secure storage of information. A high speed digital interface in charge of communication with surrounding sensors is also developed and it will be integrated with an ARM Cortex core. Additionally, automated measurement and verification of the digital platform integrated with analog circuits and sensors will be performed.   

Fast switching converters based on GaN devices and resonant architectures (IP-2019-04-8959)

- project FASCON (http://www.fer.unizg.hr/fascon) (2020 - 2024) 

- funded by: Croatian Science Foundation (Croatia)

Sažetak: 

Switching converters are very important in modern electronics because of their high efficiency in portable applications and in automotive electronics. This project aims to provide the methods for the reduction of the generated electromagnetic (EM) interference of the resonant converters while keeping their high efficiency. Several approaches are analyzed. Utilization of a spread-spectrum technique improves electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), but it may deteriorate other characteristics of the converter, e.g. the efficiency. The spread-spectrum modulation in commercially available converters is usually fixed and its parameters are not user-configurable. Having a configurable spread-spectrum modulator allows fine tuning and reduction of generated EM emissions without having to sacrifice the performance. Secondly, using gallium-nitride (GaN) transistors in switching power converters instead of silicon ones leads to lower power losses and operation of the converters at even higher switching frequencies. Thirdly, the investigation on the impact of the voltage conversion ratio on power efficiency and electromagnetic emissions in the high-frequency multi-stage DC-DC converter chain is performed. Finally, measurements of switching converters are very demanding, firstly because of the measurements of the high side transistors and secondly because of strong conducted and radiated electromagnetic emissions. In this project, an entire electro-optical measurement environment for characterization of electromagnetic compatibility and measurement of transistor switches is developed and its usage is fully assessed from the viewpoint of technical specifications and commercial usefulness. The proposed research investigates the methods for optimization of power efficiency of switching power supplies while meeting the acceptable levels of electromagnetic emissions using novel device technologies and architectures of DC-DC power converters.

High current measurements 

- project (2020 - 2021)

- main partner: AVL List GmbH, Graz (Austria)

Abstract:

The main goal is to measure high currents very precisely.   

ESD modelling 

- project (2018 - 2022)

- main partner: ON Semiconductor BVBA, Oudenaarde (Belgium)

Abstract:

The main goal is to model various aspects of ESD behaviour, including device level modelling and full-chip ESD modelling.  

Broadband probe and stress test chip

- IVPROBE project (2015 - 2018)

- partner: ON Semiconductor BVBA, Oudenaarde (Belgium)

Abstract:

The main goal is to design and test a broadband current-voltage probe applicable to measurements of large currents/voltages in electromagnetically-hostile environment. The probe is intended for on-wafer measurements of ICs.  

Advanced design methodology for switching DC-DC converters

- project AdvaDCDC (http://www.fer.unizg.hr/en/advadcdc) (2015 - 2019) 

- funded by: Croatian Science Foundation (Croatia)

Abstract:

Advanced design methodology for switching DC-DC converters is developed in this project. The low-side and high-side switch, their drivers and the control circuitry are integrated into one package which minimises the parasitic elements and allows switching frequencies up to 10 MHz. A driving-signal circuitry with high-precision adjustable timings is developed. This will allow the optimisation of dead-times with respect to the power conversion efficiency of a converter for any given set of the parameters of the integrated circuit (IC) package, external components and a printed circuit board (PCB). A special attention is given to the design of a level-shifter for a high-side switch. Besides driving the on-chip power switches, the developed driving-signal circuitry is routed to external pins of the IC package to enable driving of the externally connected switches.

Gallium-nitride (GaN) and silicon-carbide (SiC) semiconductor devices present a promising solution for a high-voltage and high-efficiency power conversion. In order to design a highly efficient converter for high-voltage switching applications by using GaN and SiC power transistors, the GaN/SiC DC-DC converter will be optimised by using adjustable driving-signal circuitry, which is designed at the beginning of the project. The developed methodology will allow the evaluation of the efficiency of GaN and SiC devices in high-voltage switching applications as well as highly optimised design of the converters.

The PCB, on which the converter IC is soldered, represents the next crucial part of the design and it has a dominant effect in determination of the electromagnetic compatibility and thermal properties of the converter. A simulation environment which will allow the electromagnetic-thermal co-optimisation of DC-DC converters will be developed. A statistical analysis of the parameters of a PCB and an IC package will be performed to ensure that the variations in the manufacturing process do not compromise the reliability and the efficiency of the designed converters.

The accuracy of design and modelling of DC-DC converters will be improved by accurate modelling of power inductors under realistic operating conditions (signal shape, current levels, self-heating) and by performing electromagnetic compatibility measurements and modelling, which is always required by industrial partners. 

 

CONCLUDED PROJECTS:

 

On-chip EMC sensor 

- project (2017 - 2018)

- main partner: ams AG, Premstaetten (Austria)

Abstract:

The main goal is to design an on-chip electromagnetic compatibility sensor.  

Electromagnetic Compatibility Simulation Environment

- project (2014 - 2017)

- main partner: ams AG, Premstaetten (Austria)

Abstract:

The main goal is behavioural modelling of analogue electronic circuits in the time domain for functional modelling as well as for modelling of electromagnetic compatibility of electronic circuits.  

Next Generation Highly Integrated RF Gate Drive Circuit for High Switching Speed Semiconductors

- project (2016 - 2017)

- main partner: UTRC, Cork (Ireland)

Abstract:

The main goal is to design an isolated driver of high-voltage high-current switching devices (MOSFET, GaN HEMT).   

Wirelessly powered microelectronic circuit for distributed sensor networks (Bežično napajani mikroelektronički sklop za distribuirane senzorske mreže)

- project IntRFID (http://www.fer.unizg.hr/intrfid) (2014 - 2016)

- main partner: Locus d.o.o., Zagreb (Croatia)

- financed by: European Union through the European Regional Development Fund via Ministry of Science Education and Sports (Croatia)

 

Abstract:

This project aims to develop the key building blocks for the integrated circuits which are the basis for the development of applications for wirelessly powered distributed sensor networks. For this project circuit development and chip processing are based on a 0.18 μm CMOS technology. Today's sensor nodes in distributed networks use the battery supply, which is problematic due to the limited battery life time and its cost.

Integration of wirelessly powered supply with data processing circuits inside a single chip is a solution which simplifies the functionality and the maintenance of the sensor networks. In this project chip is processed as a system consisting of the circuits for the wireless supply, the analo-gue-to-digital converter, the oscillator and the communicaƟon channel. The main goals of the project are to bring research and development activities and innovation closer to the needs of the Croatian industry, build capacities of the academic institutions and the public science institutions for the technology transfer, better cooperation with the industry and to uplift the environment for the research,  development and innovation through infrastructural investments and investments in the necessary research equipment. 

Core research activities on the project include the development of the wirelessly powered supply, the development of a 9-bit cyclic analogue to digital converter insensitive to the variations of the power supply voltage, the development of the oscillator insensitive to the variations of the power supply voltage, the development of the communication channel, the measurements on the processed chips and the dissemination of the research results.

Intelligent light Management for OLED on foil Applications

- IMOLA, FP7 project (http://www.imola-project.eu/) (2011 - 2015)

- main partners: imec (Belgium), TNO (The Netherlands), Philips (Germany), NXP (The Netherlands), NXP (Belgium), Hanita (Israel), Henkel (Belgium), CRP (Italy), Fundico (Belgium)

Project Objectives: 

The main objective of the IMOLA project is the realization of a large-area OLED-based lighting module with built-in intelligent light management. Interesting applications are wall, ceiling and car dome lighting, where the light intensity can be adjusted uniformly or locally according to the time of the day or the position of a person, or even road lighting, where the light can follow a car.

The front side of the module consists of OLED tiles attached and interconnected to a flexible backplane foil. In an early stage of the project, individual tiles (on glass as well as on foil) will be used, but in a later stage OLED tiles on the roll will be laminated and interconnected to the backplane.

The backplane of the module contains the integrated driver electronics for the brightness control of the individual OLED tiles. A very thin and efficient smart-power chip converts a single 40V supply voltage into a controllable DC current for each OLED tile. This power converter chip employs an external passive component (inductor) that will preferably be embedded into the backplane foil. As the smart-power chip also allows the integration of dense CMOS circuitry, extra functionality and intelligence can be implemented on the chip. This includes optical feedback to eliminate non-uniformities between the tiles or to compensate OLED degradation effects. Other sensor functions can provide maximum interaction with the environment. Furthermore, advanced communication features, e.g. by means of PLC techniques across the power supply lines, can enable intelligent brightness control from a central unit.

Within the consortium, all necessary expertise is available to ensure perfect coverage of all technological aspects (such as OLED and backplane foil development, chip placement, electrical interconnect, component embedding and lamination) as well as all design aspects (driver chip design, inductor design and EMC) in this challenging project.

Integrated voltage regulator using novel topologies and devices

- INVENT, IWT project (1 July 2011 - 31 Mar 2015)

- main partner: ON Semiconductor BVBA, Oudenaarde (Belgium)

Abstract:

By combining the unique skills and experiences of the partners in the consortium, the high level objective of this project is to investigate integrated high power DC-DC converters using novel topologies and devices. More specific, the objectives are to research and develop novel device architectures with optimal performance, investigate manufacturing of these devices on SOI substrate, research integrated DC-DC converter topologies and the various levels of integration, and investigate the EMC robustness of the DC-DC converter topologies proposed in the project. 

Improvement of Electromagnetic Reliability System Performance by applying Electromagnetic Synergy

- GoldenGates, IWT project (2009 - 2012)

- main partners: ON Semiconductor BVBA, Oudenaarde (Belgium), KU Leuven (Belgium)

Abstract:

The main goal is to provide the IC designer with a modeling and simulation environment that takes into account the IC, the PCB and the system level and enables a significant improvement of the first-time-right EMC target success rate. The new models and simulation flow will be created and validated in the project and design guidelines will be provided.

Automotive IC design for large EMC

- Parachute, MEDEA project (2007 - 2009)

- main partners: ON Semiconductor BVBA, Oudenaarde (Belgium), KU Leuven (Belgium)

Abstract:

EMC is a major issue with respect to the design of electronic products and a very costly problem if the EMC requirements are not satisfied. In order to accurately model and predict the performance of integrated circuits, printed circuit boards and whole systems it is necessary to use accurate models of the whole path going from the chip (silicon) up to the system level. University of Zagreb focuses on modelling TEM cell, transmission lines inserted into the TEM cell, coupling between the EM fields in the TEM cell and transmission lines, modelling of SMD components and chip packaging.

ROBUst mixed signal design methodologies for Smart Power ICs

- ROBUSPIC, FP6 project (http://www-g.eng.cam.ac.uk/robuspic/) (2003 - 2007)

- main partners: ON Semiconductor (Belgium), Robert BOsch (Germany), Cadence (France), CamSemi (UK), EPFL (Switzerland), imec (Belgium), KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Cambridge (UK) 

Abstract:

Smart power circuits and technologies contribute in a unique way to the realization of the system-on-chip concept by combining digital logic with analogue signal processing and power and high voltage switching. The main objective of this project is to enable a robust design of smart power circuits leading to a first-time-right design with built-in reliability and thus avoiding very costly over-dimensioning. To achieve this ambitious goal, compact models will be built that accurately describe power device operation including extensions to verify safe-operating area conditions. The devices to be modelled include the lateral DMOS, vertical DMOS and LIGBT fabricated in bulk silicon and power devices realized in advanced SOI technology.Model extensions are planned for device ageing due to hot-carrier injection, statistics due process variations, device matching and layout effects such as large area closed-cell matrices. An important feature will be an accurate description of the internal device temperature plus a coupling to package thermal models and EMC modelling. The final goal is to achieve a system level design flow for smart-power SoC using complex transistor level simulations or generated black-box models. Full smart power circuits will be simulated with the new design flow and models will be assessed and calibrated against experimental measurements. The gain in performance and robustness will be quantified. The project therefore aims at providing the EC "power" industrial community with new, highly robust tools to design and characterize smart power devices and circuits. This will strengthen and significantly advance ECs position as a fast growing, world supplier of smart power technologies. Design and fabrication of highly reliable and efficient Smart Power circuits is one of the most important strategic ways to reduce drastically energy losses in power systems by ensuring optimal energy conversion at all times.