Annual Research Conference – The Highlights

28 01 2013

Last weeks internal research conference was a great success. Not only was it the first time that I haven’t been dragged into the organisation, but we made a good job of winning the prizes …

Sandip narrowly beat Neal to the poster prize with his work on the development of gas sensor arrays, following on from Ben Furnival.

SiC gas array high temperature

The winning poster

Neal took second with his work on amplifier structures for hostile environments, an area which will support a lot of our other work in sensor development.

SiC amplifier hostile environment

SiC Amplifier structures

On top of this, Lucy won the best presentation award, beating Karthik into second place. Her presentation used Prezi, which was something new to me and judging by the comments in the audience was new to most of us. She then went on to win the second best paper prize, making it a good day out for us all.


Electronics, Sensors, Photonics KTN Meeting

3 05 2012

Just back from the Advances in wireless sensor networks for hostile environments meeting hosted by the Electronics, Sensors and Photonics KTN. A long day out from Newcastle (even though we are halfway up the UK) on the train, the event was held in the old LMS training facility.

Calidior Altior Durior

There was plenty of interest in our work and loads more of interest to think about, from ideas on the development of design rules for wireless sensor networks, to the challenges of instrumenting gas turbines and oil wells. The poster I presented can be downloaded from here as a full size (A0) pdf file KTN Poster

The Hasselt Diamond Conference

10 04 2012

Amit has been off to the Hasselt Diamond Conference to showcase his work on the functionalisation of diamond surfaces, with a view to understanding their suitability for manufacturing thermionic converters. The key for this application is the realisation of a thermally stable, negative electron affinity surface, which will enhance the electron emission properties. This is an interesting challenge in three parts, the understanding of the surface, modelling the behaviour of two surfaces in close proximity and the non trivial engineering challenge of placing two atomically flat surfaces only a few nanometers apart in a vacuum. His work is a follow on to the paper we published in Physical Review B at the end of 2011 and includes some recent observations on metal terminated surfaces.

Hasselt Diamond conference functionalisation poster

It’s not all hard work at a conference though and Amit spotted a fantastic advert. It seems strange that a UK based company doesn’t use this type of advertising here …

Strongbow advert

Don’t know why, but for some reason, it appears that this image will only insert sideways …

Sensors presentations

25 10 2011

Two presentations finished for this weekend. The first is the oral presentation on the development of Pd nanowires on a DNA template. The sensitivity of these is higher than those grown using alternative techniques and is substantially easier, as it is a self assembled bottom up technique. A pdf of the presentation can be found at IEEE Sensors 2011 – Paper 1457. The other presentation is Ben’s work looking at the mechanism behind gas sensing in high-K/SiC (IEEE Sensors – Poster 1421 – Ben), where we show that HfO2 dielectrics are insensitive to oxygen. This is a key step in us understanding the basic physics behind our target of building an array structure in SiC. The poster has been printed by the reprographics team here in the University, who have recently added the capability to print onto canvas, which means I can fit it into my suitcase and avoid the excess charges for a poster tube on the plane. It’s also cheaper than buying a ‘normal’ A0 paper version and having it laminated!


16 09 2011

The venue for ICSCRM 2013 has just been confirmed at the conference. We are looking at Miyazaki in southern Japan. Apparently, the conference venue is a 5* hotel, with a natural hot spring. Looks like this might be a popular destination!

ICSCRM 2013 announcement miyazaki

The location of ICSCRM is revealed

This will follow St Petersburg for ECSCRM 2012, and whilst the 2014 location isn’t known yet, rumour has it that ICSCRM 2015 will be held by Catania in Sicily.

ICSCRM 2011 – Day FOUR

16 09 2011

Well  today began with the usual sweet breakfast treats (I now love muffins and bagels…jokes) and as we were joined by Kurt and Nick for breakfast I ditched Lucy as she had some important talks to go to including the first of the day on Phosphorus doped gate oxides in 4H-SiC MOSFETs. While Lucy was hard at work Kurt, Nick and I relaxed whilst discussing American geographical history and Kurt’s experience in driving all the way from east coast to west coast in about three days!

After the mid morning break we attended a few talks on defects and reliability and then spent some time organizing all of the photographs and information we had gathered so far.

At lunch we met some very interesting characters from a range of different backgrounds, which brought up a very opinionated discussion on graphene and its potential in future technologies. Unlike me there were several skeptics present but I think I managed to convince them of its uses.

The afternoon had some very interesting talks for both Lucy and I and it was very refreshing to not have to present any posters! I attended some talks on sensors and LEDs where guys from NASA presented high temperature wire bonding and packaging technologies, which was of great relevance and interest to us. Lucy attended another MOS processing and characterisation session, which was also very useful in many ways particularly the discussion of ways to improve the oxide quality in MOS devices. Options which were discussed both experimental and theoretical investigations into the use of of sodium, rubidium, phosphorus and potassium in gate oxides to improve oxide quality.

The final session of the day was the most important of the week for me as it was 2 hours completely dedicated to Graphene devices and practical applications. The highlights of the afternoon were the talks from  IBM on graphene integrated circuits and a talk from Joshua Robinson on graphene field effect transistors. It is very exciting to be surrounded with so much interest and advancement in the area of graphene and it has definitely motivated me and given me many ideas for my future work in my project.

To top off a good day, the conference banquet was held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by the waterfront in Cleveland. The food was great and we got plenty of time to explore the exhibitions. Once again I also had the opportunity to discuss graphene research with Kurt and Yu-Ming Lin from IBM, which a fabulous opportunity to question some intelligent graphene minds, whilst Lucy pretended to understand the discussions!

I’ll be updating soon with information on the location of ICSCRM 2013 when it is announced at the end of the conference closing plenary.

Power Electronics Conference

16 09 2011

Whilst the team are out in Cleveland showing the world our achievements, the rest of us back here in a damp Newcastle are continuing our push to hit more of the big conferences. This week sees the abstract deadline for the Power Electronics, Machines and Drives conference, which is to be held in Bristol in March. Omid is putting the finishing touches to his abstracts, one of which describes the first demonstration of an all silicon carbide Pulse Width Modulator gate drive circuit. This circuit allows us to control the duty cycle across the entire range and we are currently using it to drive a power FET in a DC-DC converter. We will find out on the 4th of November if we have been successful, so here’s hoping!

The next outing for our resilient technology work is going to be for the new first years during induction week. A new idea is to show the new students how what they are going to learn in the first couple of years of their degree is going to be driven by our research and how they are going to help shape the world when they leave. This should be great fun and will mean that we can find the old demos, such as the flame thrower!

SiC high temperature test flame

Silicon Carbide electronics under extreme testing