We focus on analog and mixed-signal circuit design for front ends, including AD and DA conversion. Efficient wireless and wired communication to and from digital systems or chips (always via analog signals) is recognized as a basic ever-lasting functionality, and dominant bottleneck and key factor 1 in all present and future communication and interconnectivity systems. Front-ends perform that task and include all kinds of signal conditioning, see the figure below.
The information encapsulated in, or retrieved from the analog communication signals is digital, except for the sensor-interfacing lines; the frontend implementation requires a smart combination of analog and digital signal processing, thus mixed-signal. The main applications we focus on are communication systems, sensor systems, and medical systems.
The scientific challenges of our work is manifold:
- achieving better and deeper insights, new concepts, and breakthroughs
- edge performance and power efficiency, and fundamental limits
- multidisciplinarity (system, architecture, algorithm, analog and digital circuits, technology)
- technology scaling to deep submicron and even nano scale
- control of design complexity
- built-in of intelligence (smart front ends and converters)
In principle, we implement all designs in state-of-the-art silicon, to proof the concepts under realistic technological constraints, to build up practical design expertise, to link up with research in industry and to deliver appropriate Ph.D.s for industry. Here, we cooperate extensively with industry. If possible, mainstream state-of-the-art technologies are used such as deep sub-micron CMOS and SiGe; where appropriate, we use special processes (GaAs, InP).