research

tomorrow is today

Our labs are advancing the field of electronic applications (E-Apps) to help create electronics that seamlessly integrate with our lives. Our innovation in electronic applications is fueled by new strategies to design materials, processes and devices. Our technical strategy uses complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology as a backbone process to innovate, harnesses classical and emerging materials and additive manufacturing (3D printing and robotic assembly) to build stand-alone electronic devices.

in future, electronics will be live, free and democratized!

Every day, the physical and digital worlds become more tightly integrated. Our physical electronics have advanced greatly – they have high performance and low costs, relative energy efficiency, and ultra-large-scale-integration (ULSI) density to enable multi-functionality. Applications like computation, communication, and display are commonplace.

The proliferation of these electronics will only increase: they will make critical contributions to automobile industries, and low-cost sensor technologies are making the Internet of Things (IoT) possible. To support this, energy efficiency (ultra-low power consumption and mobile power supply) will be immensely important.

Q: What are we doing in our labs?

A: We are preparing for the age of the Internet of Everything (IoE) where people, processes, data and devices will be seamlessly connected. We are building the physical electronics that are agile enough to support this.

Q: How are we transforming today's physical electronics?

A: We are transforming our traditional electronics, which are physically rigid and bulky, into free-form, flexible, stretchable and reconfigurable electronics - while preserving the high performance, energy efficiency, ULSI density and performance/cost advantages. This is an indispensable step as we move to integrate physical electronics with living beings; overcoming the asymmetry between soft tissues, irregular body contour, uneven skin surfaces and the uniformly shaped and sized physical electronics.

advancing nanoelectronics for smart living

We have conceptualized and demonstrated Nanotube Devices that, contrary to modern semiconductor physics, for the first time demonstrate a single charge-transport device that attains high performance, energy and area efficiency. Such nanotube devices are considered a primary solution for Implantable Electronics in neural recording and in-vivo applications. These nanotube devices are based on homogeneous and heterogeneous mono-crystalline nano-scale silicon, silicon germanium, silicon tin, germanium, III-V materials, and have core/shell gate stacks for field effect transistor, tunnel field effect transistor, photovoltaic and energy storage applications. To advance the high performance CMOS logic, memory and thin film based display technologies, our Wavy Transistors enable higher output current by elongating device width in the vertical direction without any area loss. By using CMOS compatible processes, we are developing Flexible 3D Coin Integrated Circuits with devices for chronic monitoring of neural activities through a soft, autonomous, and entirely wireless brain machine interface.

free form e-apps for a sustainable future

From desktop and laptop to tablets and smart phones, people routinely change their devices’ form factors for personal convenience. We believe in adaptively Reconfigurable 4D-IC Electronics – e.g., a smart phone can be stretched to the size of a large-screen display.

We are exploring new materials and highly manufacturable processes that can create devices to enhance the quality of life. For example, a digital thermal patch can adaptively reconfigure for various body locations to apply heat precisely for pain management. By integrating Dissolvable Amorphous Metals, we are now using the device for hyperthermia – fighting against cancerous cells by precise thermal therapy. Additionally, we are exploring complex Reliability Physics of such free form electronics to enhance their operation lifetime and user friedliness.

Our Decal Electronics use wireless communication and charging capability for making basic electric utilities (e.g., lightbulbs and smoke detectors) ‘plug and play.’ Additionally, the shape reconfiguration capabilities means that they can be used in areas where electronics could not have been installed in the past. We are also tagging plants and marine animals with dissolvable free form sensors to enhance agricultural productivity and environmental preservation.

In Embedded Electronics we are using robotic assembly to embed free form CMOS electronics into complex, 3D printed smart objects like smart dental brace with embedded germ destroying LEDs to enahnce enamel healthcare.

Our Smart Textiles program is enabling seamless integration of electronics into textiles to make them comfortable (e.g., adaptive climate technology), energy smart (e.g., energy harvesting and storage), dynamically designed, and color-changing.

Taking advantage of low-cost polymeric and cellulose based recyclable materials, we have developed skin type multi-sensory platforms which can simultaneously sense temperature, pressure, strain, humidity, light, sound, pH and touch. These devices can measure body vitals like temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and skin hydration, opening new doors for “wearable” electronics. We are firm believer of DIY Electronics – because we believe in empowerment of humanity through democratized electronics. Affordable electronics which are simple to learn, easy to understand and implement.

To realize our vision for Live Electronics, we have used microfluidics to develop personalized advanced smart healthcare. Using nanotechnology enabled Microbial Fuel Cells, we are developing low-cost healthcare devices and artificial organs.

We believe that physical electronics will augment the quality of our life more and more. That’s why we are flexing minds, stretching imagination and reconfiguring life.