RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy
1. OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH STRUCTURE AND ENVIRONMENT The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) remains committed to the maintenance and enhancement of its balanced strategic and applied research portfolio. All key 1996 RAE research targets have been met, with enhancements in primary indicators (see table below). Journal publications total 378 and include 70 IEEE Journ/Trans, 34 IEE Proc, 30 Electron Lett, 32 Appl Phys Lett, 30 J Appl Phys, 30 Phys Rev B and 6 Phys Rev Lett. Refereed conference publications total 357. Other outputs (books, book chapters and patents) total 15. Whitehouse has been promoted to Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, 3 staff members have been promoted to professor (Chambers, Rees, Zhu), 5 staff to other senior posts (Houston R, Cook SL, Jewell SL, Parbrook SL, Tozer SL) and 5 further staff recruited (Atallah, Benaissa, Bingham, Edwards, Tennant). Prestigious Fellowships have been awarded to Jewell (EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship), Mellor (Royal Society Industrial Fellowship) and Clark-PDRA (Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship). Sabbatical leave is seen as an important part of staff development and currently Kingsley is on a year’s secondment to Antenova.
2. RESEARCH ORGANISATION Research is based in 3 major groups: Semiconductor Materials and Devices (SMDG), Electrical Machines and Drives (EMDG) and Electronics and Communication Systems (ECSG), which includes the new Centre for Mobile Communications Research (C4MCR), led by EEE, with support from Computer Science. In addition EEE plays a significant role in the Sheffield Centre for Earth Observation Science (SCEOS, with Mathematics and Geography) and has been a partner in the Sheffield Centre for Advanced Magnetic Materials and Devices (SCAMMD, with Physics and Engineering Materials). SMDG embraces the EPSRC III-V Central Semiconductor Growth Facility and the EPSRC Field Emission Gun Transmission Electron Microscope North Eastern Facility. These comprehensive growth and characterisation facilities are strategically co-located and strongly underpin group research. EEE is fully networked (URL - http://www.shef.ac.uk/eee/).
3. RESEARCH MANAGEMENT, STRATEGY AND CONTROL Research strategy is reviewed at regular Group discussions and Departmental Away Days, while general policy is monitored by the Departmental Research Committee (Chairs: Whitehouse (to 8/99), Cullis), which comprises key academic staff with RA and RS representatives. It reviews research opportunities and strategy, organises the optimum placement of new studentships and oversees the production of the Departmental research report. The Research Committee reports to Department Management and Policy Committees. The latter comprises all Professors and selected Committee Chairs, reviews longer term research objectives and appraises new, substantial research opportunities. Aspects of EEE research are regularly assessed independently by visiting review panels (the EPSRC III-V Central Facility is reviewed biennially by EPSRC and twice yearly by its Steering Committee – Adams, Bland, Blood, Eaves, Grange, Martin, Parry, Thrush). The overall EEE research activity is monitored by the Industrial Liaison Committee for Research, comprising senior company representatives (at present: Brothers [MD, Infineon], Grant [Director, Westbourne Associates], Hughes [Director, Marconi], Norton [Director, Performance and Innovation Unit, Cabinet Office and Visiting Professor EEE], Smith [MD, Oxford Instruments], Tribe [Engineering Director, De La Rue], Walters [EDS Consultants]). Periodic University corporate reviews of research activities also take place.
4. RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE PLANS
A. Semiconductor Materials & Devices Group (SMDG): (Cullis, Rees, Robson (Emeritus 9/96), Whitehouse, Houston, Woods, Woodhead, Parbrook, 1 Academic-Related staff, 8 CF-related RAs, 3 other RAs and 20 RSs). 11 EPSRC responsive mode grant awards totalling £2.9M, 1 EPSRC CF renewable grant of £6.3M, 6 EU grants totalling £760k, 10 DERA awards totalling £177k, 4 direct industrial awards totalling £77k and 4 other awards totalling £71k. Average spend: £1,530k pa. Totals of journal papers: 259, conference papers:151, books: 3.
ACHIEVEMENTS: The SMDG studies the optoelectronic and structural properties of semiconductor materials, grown both in-house and elsewhere, and the novel devices which they compose. Red VCSELs have been developed (Woodhead with NMRC, Uniphase, IMEC, Surrey Univ, Univ College Cork) for plastic fibre comms, with CW outputs of >1.5mW at 672nm, operating up to ambient temperatures of 50°C. This leading laser technology minimises the effects of absorption by free carriers leaked into the Bragg mirrors and is currently being commercialised by members of the consortium. The longest lifetime high-power CW lasers at 743nm (1800hrs, 1.2W) utilising an InGaAlAs quantum well gain region have been developed for photodynamic cancer therapy and high power (2500hrs, 1.5W) InGaAs QW lasers at 1070nm as Nd:YAG replacements (Roberts with PLT Technology). Quantum cascade lasers (Hopkinson with Physics), using InAs active layers, have operated at 7400nm, the shortest wavelength reported for GaAs-based structures. Quantum dot lasers (Hopkinson with Physics) have been produced with state-of-the-art low thresholds and operation extending to 1260nm. A novel method for electrical isolation of V-groove quantum wires, using oblique, self-shadowed ion implantation, has improved the temperature dependence of 1D lasers (Houston, Woodhead, Hill, Roberts). Growth on (111)B has been exploited (Rees, Hopkinson with Thales (Thomson CSF), CNRS (LAAS) Toulouse, ETSI Polytecnico Madrid) to achieve record low threshold, high efficiency and high power piezoelectric 1060 and 1080nm InGaAs/AlGaAs/GaAs lasers for intersatellite communications and gas sensing.
University seedcorn funding of interdisciplinary research on MEMS, which utilises semiconductor device fabrication methods, led to the successful design of magnetic-coil based cochlea implants and the associated LIGA development of 3D field-sensing microcoils (Woods). A University Centre for Sensor Technology and Research (STAR) (Whitehouse) has successfully investigated next-generation FeSiBC-based piezomagnetic MEMS cantilever and membrane-based sensors for contactless automotive and aerospace applications (EPSRC/Lucas-Varity: top alpha5-rated Final Report, March 2001). New piezoelectric polymer-based combined pressure and shear MEMS prototype sensors also have been developed (Whitehouse, Sheffield Community Health Grant) for both podiatry applications and next-generation robotic hands. A current EPSRC project (Whitehouse with Chemical Engineering, EPSRC) is also investigating novel sensors for in situ monitoring of hostile high temperature environments.
PLANS: It is intended to exploit and advance many of the key project areas described above and to enhance company sponsorship of PhD-level training. In the CF a new e-beam lithography facility, shortly to be installed (Hill with Physics), will allow substantial enhancement of device fabrication work and nanotechnology research with University-wide and industrial collaboration. New III-antimonide QW structures (on GaAs) are being studied as potential optical emitters and detectors in the 3000-8000nm mid-IR waveband and for novel phosphide-antimonide-based electronic and photonic devices (Whitehouse). The considerable potential for InGaAsN long-wavelength (>1200nm) lasers is being explored (Woodhead, Houston, Parbrook). Ultra-fast photodetectors, for use beyond 40Gb/s, will be developed in a fully integrated OEIC solution using InP/InGaAs heterojunction devices in a travelling wave configuration with on-chip antennas (Houston). Development of ultrafast, long wavelength, APDs in Al0.8Ga0.2As/GaInAs(N) is also planned, together with devices using cavity and waveguide photon collection structures (Rees, David, Tozer); novel Fokker-Planck and integral equation techniques are under development to replace Monte Carlo modelling of APDs and other microwave devices and new modelling and measurement techniques of high order noise are planned as analytical tools. Advanced optical signal processing functions using HACT devices will lead to efficient implementation of control algorithms (Woods). III-nitride materials will be developed for high frequency and high temperature electronics applications, advanced LED and laser structures, intersub-band detectors and emitters, and solar-blind detectors (Parbrook, Houston, Woodhead, Whitehouse). The FEGTEM facility will be further enhanced and deployed in new areas including the development of high angle annular dark-field detection for atomic resolution microanalysis. The combination of atomic resolution imaging and microanalysis will be exploited to push nanostructure analysis to new levels of refinement in III-Vs, III-nitrides, Si and SiGe alloys (Cullis). Based upon the atomistic modelling of quantum dots, structural distortions due to inhomogeneous composition will be determined and dot electronic properties will be computed using bandstructure and deformation potential theory (Cullis with Physics).
B. Electrical Machines and Drives Group (EMDG): (Howe, Zhu, Mellor (A*), Jewell, Atallah, Bingham, Stone, 12 RAs, 12 RSs). 12 EPSRC grant awards totalling £2M, 10 EU grants totalling £1.5M, 1 DTI Link award of £225k, 1 DTI CARAD award of £291k, 1 DERA award of £16k, direct industrial awards totalling £585k and awards from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society totalling £293k. Average spend: £800k pa. Total journal papers: 49, conference papers: 122, patents: 4.
ACHIEVEMENTS: Both the international standing of the EMDG and the calibre of its personnel have been recognised externally by the award of one of the first EPSRC Platform Grants (Howe) to support research on enabling technologies for ‘more-electric’ aircraft engines, of three highly prestigious and competitive fellowships (Jewell, Mellor, Clark), and of 5 of the 23 research grants funded under the EPSRC Managed Programme on Electrical Machines and Drives. EMDG research is wide-ranging and includes multi-degree-of-freedom spherical actuators, for which a definitive design methodology has been established and a closed-loop position bandwidth of ~100Hz has been achieved, high temperature actuators/machines, which have operated in an 800C ambient, and Halbach magnetised machines, with an inherently low torque ripple (<1% FL torque), developed for applications such as electric power-assisted steering.
PLANS: EMDG will continue to address the challenges of multidisciplinary research on electrical drives/power electronic systems/motion control and related enabling technologies for applications in a variety of market sectors. It will further strengthen its high visibility research on environmentally friendly vehicles (Task Leader on EU ELEDRIVE Thematic Network on ‘Fuel cells and their application to electric/hybrid vehicles’ (Howe), and co-ordinator of Foresight Vehicle Link Research Network FABIAN on ‘Fuel cell and battery powered vehicles’, (Howe)) and ‘More-Electric’ Aircraft (EPSRC Platform Grant spawning research projects on active magnetic bearings for aircraft engines and matrix (ac/ac) converters for power management/electrical drives in aircraft power distribution/ actuation systems) (Jewell, Stone, Bingham, Atallah). It will initiate further inter-disciplinary research links and industrial interactions. It will continue to research novel electromagnetic devices, including magnetic gears for high specific torque (Atallah, Howe), ‘pseudo’ direct drive applications, such as wind-powered generators and ship propulsion and modular permanent magnet machines for safety critical servo applications (Zhu, Howe). Research will also continue on the application of advanced control strategies for applications ranging from highly coupled multi-axis drive systems to energy management in traction systems employing dual energy and power sources (Bingham).
C. Electronics and Communication Systems Group (ECSG): (Chambers, Ivey, Bennett, Kingsley, Benaissa, Cook, Seed, Tennant, Tozer, Edwards, 3 Academic-Related staff, 2.5 RAs, 21 RSs). 4 EPSRC grants totalling £1.2M, 2 EU grants totalling £216K, 8 DERA awards totalling £315K, 4 industrial awards totalling £190K and 5 other awards totalling £329K. Average spend: £486k pa. Total journal papers: 70, conference papers: 84, patents: 8.
ECSG combines the expertise of our former Electronic Systems and Communications and Radar Groups and embraces C4MCR. The new ECSG has a wide, linked portfolio of projects and expertise from computer vision to VLSI and packaging; and from new networking and wireless mobility techniques, involving smart antennas and structures, to the health aspects of mobile phones. Excellent anechoic facilities (DERA, EPSRC, NERC funded) permit electromagnetic measurements on antennas, novel materials and large area scatterers. A multimedia mobile communications system testbed (EU funded) is designed to explore 3G+ telecomms technologies. Excellent CAD facilities and access to extensive fabrication facilities allow devices and systems to be implemented readily. ECSG academic staffing has been strengthened by the promotion of Chambers to Professor and Cook, Seed and Tozer to SL. New appointees are Benaissa (SL) and Tennant (SL) and Edwards (L).
ACHIEVEMENTS: Since 1996 the ECSG has continued to build its reputation in the fields of electromagnetic computational modelling of antennas and scattering, rf measurements and novel antennas and materials. Novel conducting polymers (Chambers, Engineering Materials, DERA, EPSRC) have been developed for use in radar signature control and emc shielding and show controllable and repeatable 20dB changes in microwave transmission coefficient. Integration of these materials into smart surfaces and structures is attracting strong interest from many foreign government agencies and from BAE Systems. ECSG expertise on passive microwave absorbers has led to the design of rf invisible buildings for use at airports, including London Heathrow (Chambers, with Unipoly and Spanwall). Active radar shielding based on spread spectrum techniques is also under investigation. This fundamentally new approach, funded by DERA, is also attracting funding from BAE Systems, with further interest from several international government organisations (Chambers, Tennant).
PLANS: ECSG research will continue in all of the above areas, taking advantage of group links across the disciplines of systems and communications. New links for the group are being formed across campus by C4MCR. Funding for Self-Routing Mobile Phone Systems (Edwards, Seed) is being sought from industrial and EPSRC sources and studies of 3G CDMA traffic strategies are planned (Edwards, Ivey). Funding for measurement systems for em interaction with biological tissue from next generation nomadic wireless devices is also being sought. A major bid is being planned by an interdisciplinary consortium involving Psychology, ECSG and clinical staff from two Sheffield hospitals, for substantial funding on safety issues of mobile handsets (Cook). As computer processor speeds increase interest is growing in novel, inexpensive emc shielding for use at mm-wave frequencies and development funding is being sought from Intel (Chambers). The group is a strong contender for Academic Capability Partnership with BAE Systems on advanced microwave materials. Civilian applications of smart microwave surfaces will be explored via the Foresight Vehicle route (Chambers, Tennant) and funding is being sought from Jaybeam for novel steerable beam antenna arrays for mobile communication BTS applications (Tennant). The work on antenna on a chip will be continued and expanded in collaboration with Antenova (Ivey, Kingsley). Other work in VLSI will continue via the well-established partnership with Manchester, Liverpool and Queens, Belfast (Ivey, Seed). This team plans to launch a research-led MSc in System on a Chip (SoC) design in collaboration with ARM, building on the success of our joint work in low-power electronics. The MEMS/MST interconnection and packaging work will be expanded as part of the Faraday Centre (Ivey, Seed) and a centre for electronic and micro-electro-fluidic packaging (Ivey, Seed) will be established. The basic science of computer vision will continue to be developed and linked to practical applications in industry (Seed). Negotiations to secure funding for the commercial exploitation (Tozer, Stone) of research on high-efficiency fluorescent lamp drives are also at an advanced stage.
Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL
Last updated 17 October 2003