University of Malta
 

International Research Projects
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Project ICA17-II Grant

Period:       1993-1994

European Union grant, Project ICA17-II, awarded in 1993 to help introduce the design and testing of Integrated Circuits in the Department of Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics, as well as enable participation in the EUROCHIP, now EUROPRACTICE, a programme of the E.U.


Design of Integrated Circuits and Microsystems

Period:       1997-2000

The project aims at the development of Integrated Circuits in the following areas: low-voltage, low-power ICs, high-speed IC design, and Microsystems design, in collaboration with the Integrated Microsystems Group, Department of Electronics, University of Pavia, Italy. This project was funded under the Fourth Italian-Maltese Financial Protocol.

FP6 Integrated Project: SENSATION

Period:       2004-2007

E.U. FP6 Integrated Project approved under Priority IST 2.3.1.2 (Micro and Nano sensors). The objective of this project was to explore a wide range of micro and nano-sensor technologies to achieve unobtrusive, cost-effective, real-time monitoring, detection and prediction of human physiological state in relation to wakefulness, fatigue and stress anytime, everywhere and for everybody. The Micro and Nanoelectronics Research Group was a partner in this Integrated Project, participating in 2 work packages of the project, with the task of designing medical sensors interface circuits.

Camera interface board for stereovision applications (Stereoview-Eye)

  • Provide a means of interfacing two cameras to a frame grabber in such a way that guarantees synchronised operation while ensuring that the system is able to cope with the bandwidth requirements.
  • Interface an additional camera to the same PC in a way that allows independent operation from the stereo vision pair.
  • Allow updating and reading of the camera control and status registers via the frame grabber API.
  • Provide means to interface an external IR-flash module to the cameras.
  • The stereovision camera pair will be used for 3-D localisation of a human subject and the third independent camera will be used for eyelid motion detection.

channel_link

Sensor Communication Network

Sensation Communication Platform:

    • Connection of Sensors with Applications
    • Sensors on the user’s body or in its local environment
    • Applications in the local or wide environment
    • Using technologies existing in the market

sensor_comm1
sensor_comm2



Design and Development: BAN Prototype
  • SCM Functions and characteristics:
    • Secure transmission of data from 4 analogue sensors or 4 digital sensors
    • Size: 34 mm. x  48 mm.
    • Li-ion rechargeable battery
    • IEEE 802.15.4/Zigbee wireless based

  • SCM Implementation:
    • MSP430F427 microcontroller
    • CC2420 IEEE 802.15.4 wireless transceiver (2.4 GHz)
    • Sensor supply enable for sensors (non-exclusive).
    • Analogue switches for test current and implementation of 4th analogue channel.
    • Battery: 3.6V Lithium Ion battery.
    • Battery protection and charging circuit, with input for universal type adapter; 1.3mm plug


BAN_prototype
 


Design of a Frequency Synthesizer Chip for Global Positioning System Application

Period:       2004-2008

The objective of this project was to design and implement a low voltage CMOS low phase noise quadrature output frequency synthesizer to be used for a GPS tuner application. This project was done in collaboration with ST-Microelectronics, Catania, Italy. The integrated circuit was designed and implemented in ST-M proprietary 0.13 µm CMOS-RF technology and currently prototype chips are being fabricated. In particular the aim of the project was to investigate the utilisation of an on-chip DC-DC converter to increase the tuning range of the voltage-controlled oscillator without degrading the phase noise response. In addition, the practical results from the prototype samples showed the effectiveness of the scheme used to limit the effect of the DC-DC converter on the spurious tones of the frequency synthesizer.

 Picture100


LAB4MEMS: LAB FAB for smart sensors and actuators MEMS - ENIAC KET Pilot Line 2012

Period:       2013-2015

Lab4MEMS is a research and development (R&D) project funded by the European Community under the ENIAC Nanoelectronics Framework aiming to establish a European Pilot Line for key enabling technologies on advanced piezoelectric and magnetic materials, including advanced 3D Packaging technologies to meet the ever evolving market needs. The Pilot Line is promoted to reinforce the manufacturing facilities currently located in each respective participating country, aiming to implement and optimise the industrial processes and to validate the supply chains and the demonstrators suitable to penetrate the market. The main industrial Pilot Line is located in ST-Microelectronics among Italy and Malta, well supported by R&D Centres, SMEs and Research Labs distributed among the nine European countries of the consortia, streaming the whole manufacturing chain from front-end to back-end. The project has started on January 2013 and will run for 30 months.

The University of Malta (UoM) is actively involved in a number of work packages (WP). In WP2, UoM is contributing in the design of a piezoelectric RF MEMS variable capacitor and AMR magnetometer test structures. In addition, UoM is also involved in the design of the system architecture, including the electronics necessary to drive and test the MEMS devices. UoM is also involved in WP4, where packaging processes for MEMS Devices and the setup of a pilot line for production of new MEMS Packages are being investigated. In particular, UoM will be contributing in the characterisation and testing of the finished MEMS products. In WP5, UoM is contributing in the validation of the KET-pilot line technologies. UoM is also involved in WP6, whose aim is to elaborate and coordinate a plan of dissemination, exploitation and standardisation.

Lab4MEMS Official Website

Launch


RF MEMS Variable Capacitor

The conceptual design of a RF MEMS variable capacitor was analysed in collaboration with Cavendish Kinetics (CK). CK manufactures such devices for mobile phone antenna tuning applications. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of proposing piezoelectric actuation as an alternative to the currently employed electrostatic actuation. The University of Malta was engaged in carrying out extensive finite element simulations on different designs using Coventorware, which is a MEMS CAD tool. These simulations were crucial in determining whether the actuator target specifications could be met.


rfcap 

Test Structures for Anisotropic Magneto Resistive Sensor Design

Anisotropic magneto-resistive (AMR) sensors are magnetic field sensors that are gaining market in the MEMS development sector since they provide new functionality to electronic mobile equipment. They consist of a permalloy thin film that has been deposited under a strong magnetic field. This gives the material an easy axis along which the material is magnetized. When a field is applied along the sensing axis (perpendicular to the easy axis), the magnetic field inside the sensor is rotated which in turn causes a change in the resistance. By measuring this change, the magnitude of the magnetic field can be deduced. UoM is contributing towards the design of an AMR based integrated compass for mobile devices. This research consists of designing structures that will be used to test and measure the permalloy film properties and the sensor characteristics. The finished structures will then be used by the sensor design team in order to produce a fine tuned integrated compass.

AMR3

This work is intended to produce several AMR test structures (e.g. Van der Pauw structures shown above) that will be used to standardise the testing and characterisation of integrated compasses. This will provide the AMR compass designers with a proper technique for evaluating and characterising their products. Amongst the proposed tests one may mention: measurement of the sheet resistance of permalloy and other metals; measurement of the maximum variation of the resistivity throughout wafer and measurement of permalloy magnetic properties. During this work, two fabrication runs are being proposed. One will be oriented to the characterisation of the process properties and the other will be oriented towards the optimisation of the sensor shape.

 

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13th Edition of EY’s Annual Attractiveness Event

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The 13th Edition of EY’s Annual Attractiveness event will be held on 25th October 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel,

St. Julians. It is titled "Thinking without the box: disruption, technology and FDI".

 

The  students' invitation and more information can be found here

The conference programme can be found here

 

 
 
Last Updated: 9 December 2013

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