Interface IC Design for MEMS and Sensors (ECE 6422)

Course Description and Purpose
Sensors and Actuators are the interface between electronics and the non-electronic world we live in.  The electronic interface that converts the raw output of a sensor into a standard, easy-to-use, electrical signal is called the interface circuit (or the interface IC). This course covers the design of low noise interface circuits for sensors, actuators, and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), including the design of MEMS oscillators. Although MEMS and microsensors have found way into numerous applications, practicing engineers know little on how to properly interface, read-out and actuate these analog-in-nature devices without compromising signal integrity, dynamic range, signal-to-noise ratio, linearity, quality factor (Q), and stability. In this course, students will learn about solid-state and electro-mechanical signal transducers, design and modeling of MEMS devices and resonators, and interface circuit architectures.  They will study various IC design techniques for readout, actuation and control of micromechanical devices and sensors, as well as design of MEMS oscillators. The circuit design aspects of the course relate to switched-capacitor charge integrators, dynamic noise and offset cancellation techniques, low noise design techniques, trans-impedance amplifiers, circuit and system-level noise analysis, oscillator design using high-Q acoustic resonators, phase noise analysis, DC-DC voltage charge pumps for sensor applications.  State-of-the-art research and development work is included in the course.