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PhD Studentship Opportunity: A new approach to bio-inspired flexible and printed electronics – modelling and simulation of advanced semiconductor devices and circuits

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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Dr R Sporea , Dr M Florescu No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This fully funded 36-month project will focus on a revolutionary electronic device with numerous uses in data processing and artificial intelligence implementations in wearables, distributed sensors and ultra-efficient, low-cost printed electronics. The winner of this studentship will develop advanced toolkits for the simulation and optimisation of a novel transistor and circuits based around it. Using this technology, future printed and flexible circuits will be able to adapt, learn and perform complex functions while maintaining a compact size and extremely low power consumption.

The new transistor has high amplification, excellent power efficiency, tolerance to manufacturing variability, reduced distortion, and the ability to replace complex electronic circuits to achieve certain analogue and mixed-signal functions. Ultimately, this innovative device engineering approach should revolutionise the design of large area electronics by enabling: advanced analogue computation and memory in distributed sensors; neuromorphic behaviour, including hardware adaptation (learning) and control without complex digital supervision; and substantial simplification of conventional circuit design for large area electronics with potentially order-of-magnitude cost savings.  

The work will be carried out at the Advanced Technology Institute under the supervision of Dr Radu Sporea, rge-area electronics specialist and EPSRC Rising Star. As the successful candidate, you will be joining a diverse and welcoming team, in a professional yet relaxed work environment focused on outcomes, continuous development and wellbeing. You will contribute to other interesting projects and learn complementary skills. Support networks with the group, the Institute and the University’s Doctoral College present important mentoring and career development prospects. At the end of the project, you will be a leading expert in emerging electronic device design, with a deep understanding of device operation and its applications. As a result of numerous international collaborations, you will be aware of industrial needs and emerging trends. 

Supervisors: Dr Radu Sporea and Dr Marian Florescu

Watch the video introduction to this project

This is a 3-year project starting in July 2021.

Entry requirements

First Class BEng or 2:1 MEng or equivalent in: mathematics, physics, electronic engineering, material science

Desirable: Project work in electronics or electronic systems, AI, electronic device characterisation, device and circuit simulation and layout with commercial packages; demonstrated ability to deliver projects on time, while working individually or in teams. 

English language requirements: IELTS Academic 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Advanced Technology Institute PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab.

Please state clearly the studentship project at you would like to apply for.

Interview dates: 4-26 March 2021, online.

Related links

About Project ALPACA

Related journal article: Versatile Thin‐Film Transistor with Independent Control of Charge Injection and Transport for Mixed Signal and Analog Computation

Related journal article: Source-gated transistors for order-of-magnitude performance improvements in thin-film digital circuits

Advanced Science News coverage

About the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI)

The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) is a multidisciplinary research centre at the University of Surrey focusing on today’s grand challenges: energy, advanced manufacturing, nanomaterials, quantum devices, and medical therapies. The ATI hosts the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) South Hub and the Ion Beam Centre (national facility). 25% of EPSRC research grants at Surrey (~£22M) were awarded to ATI researchers last year. Facilities available for the project include: Clean room: full photolithography, deposition and patterning suite, inspection, chip bonding and annealing equipment; Large Area Electronics lab: electrical (semi-auto prober, source-measure units, signal generators, data acquisition, Kelvin Probe, oscilloscopes, C-V kit, etc.); Microscopy suite: optical, SEM, TEM, AFM, and focused ion beam system with trained operator; Printing lab: inkjet, screen and gravure printers, slot-die coater; material formulation area; thermal and laser treatment, surface characterisation; Formulation lab with technical staff; Metrology lab (with NPL): analysers, prober, thermo-reflectance and electro-optical suites; Process, device and circuit simulation suite (Silvaco). 

Project partners include: National Physical Laboratory, University of Cambridge, University of Rennes, Yamagata University, Silvaco and Sharp. Where appropriate training visits and exchanges will be organised. As soon as the international situation permits, longer placements (1-4 months) are planned at Yamagata University for device fabrication and system integration.   

Project co-supervisor Dr Marian Florescu is a Reader at the University of Surrey and the Research Director Physics Department and head of the Theory and Computation Group, in the Advanced Technology Institute. Dr Florescu leads a well-established research effort in the areas of fundamentals and applications of non-crystallographic photonic and phononic structures, high-performance computational photonics and classical and quantum optics of structured photonic materials. His expertise in computational electromagnetism, condensed matter physics and TCAD device modelling are highly relevant for the proposed projects.  

Funding Notes

Funding covers:
• Full UK/EU tuition fee
• Stipend at £15,285 p.a. (2020/21)
• RTSG of £1,000 p.a.
• Personal Computer (provided by the department)
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