Integrated Circuits Laboratory (ICL)
From Stanford Electrical Engineering Department Graduate Handbook
Revision as of 14:52, 21 April 2008 by Wikiuser
Fely Barerra, Administrative Associate, CIS 332, (650)723-1349, fely at ee.stanford.edu
The Integrated Circuits Laboratory (ICL) encompasses a broad program of research that extends from basic materials processing to system integration. The laboratory consists of 14 faculty members, 9 Research Associates, 100 Ph.D. students and 10 full-time staff members.
The ICL has a long and productive history into the processing of semiconductor materials that includes the investigation of silicon, germanium and now organic semiconductors. Understanding and accurately modeling the physical processes that are used to fabricate high-performance integrated circuits is often integral to technology development. Specific areas of research include gate dielectrics, diffusion, deposition, etching, ion implantation, associated thermal processing. Accurate simulations of complex fabrication sequences and predict the resulting device structures is one area of ICL expertise. SUPREM initially developed in ICL is probably the best-known example of such modeling; it is used in industrial organizations and universities throughout the world to develop new processes and optimize existing technologies.
Device research in the IC Lab spans the entire spectrum of integrated devices implemented in silicon, germanium, compound and organic materials. Efforts are underway to scale advanced transistors to nanometer dimensions, and to discover the ultimate physical limits of these devices. New types of devices, such as SiGe heterostructures and SOI (silicon-on-insulator) structures are being actively explored, both experimentally and theoretically, in an effort to find alternatives to more conventional structures. Advanced two-dimensional device modeling programs, (i.e. PISCES), have been developed to accurately predict devices behavior. As in the case of the process modeling software, these programs are now used world-wide, for example in commercial codes, to characterize the behavior of new device structures.
In addition to the research into novel device structures and processing technology, there is interest within the IC Lab in the actual manufacturing processes used to fabricate integrated circuits. Understanding the control and limitations of fabrication processes, as well as the impact of process perturbations on chip yield and performance, are areas of related research.
The design of integrated circuits comprises a major focus of the laboratory, with a number of research programs devoted to exploring the design of high-performance analog and digital circuits. Research topics include mixed-signal circuits for analog-to-digital conversion and broadband communications, RF circuits for application in wireless communications systems, high-speed digital circuits, algorithms, architectures and circuit design techniques for high-performance digital signal processing systems, and special-purpose high-voltage integrated circuits. Advanced CAD and testing facilities support the design and evaluation of complex device structures and circuits.
The IC Lab offers unique opportunities to design and implement special purpose devices and Bintegrated circuits that can be incorporated into prototype systems. Such chips are being built for applications in integrated sensors, high energy physics instrumentation and smart power electronics, as well as traditional computer and communication systems. The technologies used to build these chips range from mainstream silicon structures to advanced alternative materials and novel heterogeneous structures.
In the area of micromachined sensors and actuators, work is underway to develop novel chemical, biological, and mechanical transducers that will not only replace macroscopic counterparts but also create entirely new capabilities for scientific, environmental, industrial, and clinical applications. At the core of this research is a combination of new micromachining technologies together with mixed-signal circuit designs that are optimized specifically for such emerging applications.
Bioengineering and the associated electronics is an emerging area of strength within the ICL. Faculties are working on projects that include: probing the brain, related signal processing, electronics interfaces to living cells and bio-photonics for non-evasive probing. The ICL, housed within CIS, is located directly across the street from the Clark Building where the Bio-Engineering Department is located.
Performance of microelectronic systems is increasingly limited by the technologies used to package semiconductor chips. There is a growing program of research within the IC Lab into new methods of system integration. For example, 3D integration of ICs and the coupling of photonic structures with digital and analog ICs are representative of such activities.
The fabrication facilities of the IC Lab are part of the [Stanford Nanofabrication Facility (SNF)]. The SNF is a 10,000 square foot, class 100 laboratory that is housed in the Center for Integrated Systems (CIS) building and serves as a west coast hub facility for the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). This network, an integrated partnership of university fabrication facilities sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides unparalleled opportunities for creative researchers to turn new ideas into experimental reality. CAD and testing facilities are also located in the CIS building.