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Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing

We are pleased to offer a selection of postgraduate taught modules that can be taken on an individual basis.

These modules are suitable for graduates or experienced practitioners working with compound semiconductors, who are looking to upskill or further their career, and who are happy to study alongside full-programme MSc students.

These standalone modules are taken from the MSc in Semiconductor Physics (School of Physics and Astronomy) and MSc in Compound Semiconductor Electronics (School of Engineering).

Credits

10 credit module (reference PXT301)

Dates

Autumn Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

50% exam, 50% written assessment.

Outline description

  • To introduce the fundamentals of compound semiconductor fabrication techniques.
  • To familiarise students with the state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and equipment available in Cardiff and at the Institute of Compound Semiconductors.
  • To prepare students to undertake training in industrial and academic semiconductor facilities.
  • To introduce the state-of-the-art in micro- and nano-fabrication techniques.
  • To allow students to confidently undertake a fabrication-related project.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Describe and understand micro- and nano-fabrication processes and procedures and the physics underpinning them.
  • Analyse known procedures and adapt them to synthesize new ones, selecting the most appropriate tools to carry it out.
  • Effectively collaborate and interact with fabrication experts using appropriate knowledge and language in order to develop and learn new procedures.
  • Develop new techniques and procedures through the analysis and adaptation of known ones.
  • Annalise arbitrary structures and access their manufacturability, taking into account scale, materials and other considerations.
  • Confidently discuss potential fabrication projects with leading experts using appropriate knowledge and technical language.
  • Know about foundries available and how to access them.

Delivery

Lectures 8 hours x 2, guest lectures 2 hours, assignments, group assignment, laboratory and cleanroom tour.

Syllabus content

  • Growth and Deposition: epitaxial growth methods metal organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and atomic layer deposition (ALD); material deposition methods plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD), thermal evaporation, ebeam evaporation, sputtering, spin-on-glasses.
  • Lithography and etching/lift-off: patterning methods optical lithography, deep-UV lithography, e-beam lithography; lay-out and mask-design; dry etching techniques reactive ion etching (RIE), inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching, chemically-assisted ion beam etching (CAIBE); wet etching techniques.
  • Foundries: multi-user wafer runs; design rules and design rule checking; prediction/verification of mask/layout.
  • Examples: fabricate a waveguide device; fabricate an LED; fabricate a complex optoelectronics device.

Credits

10 credit module (reference PXT302)

Dates

Spring Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

50% exam, 50% written assessment

Outline description

  • To build upon the foundation of Electromagnetism and solid state physics acquired in Undergraduate Physics.
  • To introduce the fundamental concepts underlying Compound Semiconductor photonics.
  • To develop basic working knowledge of photonic devices.
  • To introduce students to current research problems in Compound Semiconductor Photonics.
  • To prepare students to confidently undertake a photonics research problem.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Describe and understand the operation of state-of-the-art Compound Semiconductor photonic devices like LEDs, solar cells and lasers.
  • Apply waveguide theory, non-linear optics, quantum optics and semiconductor physics to design such devices from first principles.
  • Adapt known photonic functionalities to new Compound Semiconductor systems and materials.
  • Confidently discuss potential projects and solutions to research problems with leaders in the field using appropriate technical language.
  • Understand and critically analyse research papers and publications in the field of photonics.
  • Design scientific strategies to improve/enhance performance of Compound Semiconductor photonic devices.

Delivery

Lectures (7 hours x 2), problem solving classes (4 hours), marked exercises, large assignment (written report or oral presentation on a research paper).

Syllabus content

Passive Photonics:

  • Maxwell’s Equations and waveguide theory
  • Non-linear Optics (electro-optic effect, Kerr effect, two-photon absorption)
  • design and operation of waveguides/photonic switches/couplers
  • single photon sources (heralded and coherent)
  • quantum optics.

Active photonics devices:

  • band-structure, electrons and holes, doping and p-n junctions
  • heterostructures and quantum confinement
  • light emitting diodes
  • lasers
  • solar cells and advanced concepts
  • single photon sources (quantum dots and NV centres in diamond).

To help students develop collaborative skills and numerical problem-solving skills, students will be asked to work in groups to solve problems and present solutions to the rest of the class. Four contact hours will be devoted to this task.

Towards the end of the lecture the students will be asked to select a research paper from a selected list and give an oral presentation to the rest of the class (20 minute presentation followed by discussion). Students will be encouraged to work in groups of two.

Credits

10 credit module (reference PXT303)

Dates

Spring Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

40% written report, 40% practical-based assessment, 20% class test

Outline description

Compound Semiconductors offer the opportunity to develop Photonic Integrated Circuits in a similar fashion to the evolution of Silicon as the basis for Integrated Circuits for electronics in the 1970s and 1980s. In this module, we will study the nature of such a Compound Semiconductor generic foundry model for Application Specific Photonic Integrated Circuits, from the definition of basic building blocks based on simplest unit of physical mechanism to composite building blocks and full scale photonic integrated circuits and the physics they utilise.

The module studies the physical mechanisms, the systematic approach to generic technology, the simulation and design of such systems, considering manufacturing tolerances and methods of testing, and the characterisation of a simple on-chip optical link developed by the students. We will consider industrially relevant and cutting edge research examples based on Silicon and Compound Semiconductors to emphasise the conceptual similarities and differences. This will include relevant aspects of Compound Semiconductor Growth, Fabrication and Characterisation.

Students will understand the underlying physics of this important technology, understand the overarching approach, context and motivations for such a methodology, be introduced to computational design tools, the fabrication methods and experimental characterisation methods that are being taken-up by the Compound Semiconductor Industry.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Understand the context and principles of a generic foundry approach and the elements that makes such an approach possible.
  • Critically analyse and synthesise these underlying principles and apply such an approach to unseen systems.
  • Understand underlying physical principles of photonic circuit elements and synthesise overall circuit functionality based on this understanding by combining elements.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of standard photonic design tools.
  • Design practical Photonic Integrated Circuit that can be manufactured and characterised, utilising a generic foundry.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of standard data acquisition apparatus and characterisation equipment to obtain, record, export and store experimental data.
  • Identify, adapt and combine appropriate data analysis techniques to extract information from experimental data and synthesise appropriate scientific conclusions.

Delivery

The module will consist of lectures, computing sessions, practical sessions and problem classes.

Skills development

Photonic Circuit Design skills, experimental physics, communications skills, personal skills, problem solving, investigative skill, computing skills, analytical skills, experience of active research laboratories.

Syllabus content

  • Overview of generic integration (context, purpose and requirements).
  • Basic Building Blocks (BBBs) and Composite Building Blocks (CBBs) – concepts and physics mechanisms.
  • Building on the Fabrication aspects of PXT301 and the operating principles developed in PXT302 a description of achieving critical BBBs to include: passive waveguides (shallow and deep), SOA, Saturable Absorber, Waveguide Photodetector, Electrorefractive modulator, electroabsorption modulator, thermooptic modulator, tunable bragg reflector, electrical isolation, polarisation rotator, spot size convertor, waveguide termination.
  • Description of CBBs to include: junctions, multimode interference couplers and filters, arrayed waveguide grating multiplexer, mach zehnder interference modulator and switch, mode locked laser.
  • Fabrication Methodology for example systems – Silicon Photonics, InP.
  • Design environment: physical modelling tools, circuit simulators, mask layout.
  • Performance development kits.
  • Generic packaging issues.
  • Generic testing concepts.
  • Design project – e.g. on-chip optical link: design and characterisation.

Credits

10 credit module (reference ENT610)

Dates

Autumn Semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

70% exam, 30% written assessment of a project on CAD.

Outline description

This module will aim to develop the students understanding of the factors affecting the performance and design of three terminal high frequency devices based on Compound Semiconductors, namely HFETs and HBTs. Material systems considered will include gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP) and gallium nitride (GaN).

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Understand the factors driving the development of high frequency three terminal devices based on Compound Semiconductors
  • HFETs: Understand the concept and role of modulation doping in device operation
  • HBTs: Understand the concept and bandgap and carrier transit in device operation
  • Have a basic knowledge of physical models used both HFETs and HBTs
  • Have a full knowledge of how these physical models can be transformed into equivalent circuit models
  • Have a good knowledge of how a FET model can be extracted from experimental data, and how to obtain this data.

Delivery

The module will be delivered through a blend of online teaching and learning material, guided study, and on-campus face-to-face classes (tutorials, lab sessions).

Syllabus content

This module will aim to develop the students understanding of the factors affecting the performance and design of high frequency three terminal devices based on Compound Semiconductors, namely HFETs and HBTs.

  • The basic device operational physics and structure will be reviewed and the factors limiting their high frequency performance discussed; electron velocity, transit time, etc.. Then the role of heterojunctions in improving their high frequency performance will be addressed.
  • Role of Modulation doping in HFETs
  • Role of current transport across heterojunctions in HBTs
  • Device modelling will be addressed both from physical modelling and equivalent circuit model perspective, with 2 laboratories learning the basics of high frequency transistors modelling and characterization (DCIV and S-parameters).

Credits

10 credit modules (reference ENT672)

Dates

Autumn semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

100% coursework.

Outline description

To ensure that students from diverse backgrounds can achieve a common foundation in the use of a number of key industry-standard software tools and simulation techniques including Keysight ADS, AWR Microwave Office, 3D Simulators, Measurement Automation Software.

As well as being used throughout industry, these tools are used extensively within the individual research groups that contribute to the make-up of the MSc and MRes programmes, which is important as these tools that will be used in many MSc or MRes Dissertation activities. The module will aim to ensure students understand how these tools can be applied to real-life microwave and communications engineering problems.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Understand which software tools and simulation techniques are available to tackle the multidisciplinary nature of the microwave engineering subject areas covered within the MSc/MRes programmes.
  • Continue, by using the available software tools, to develop understanding of the specialist studies provided within the MSc/MRes, to the point that they can be successfully deployed within the dissertation phase of the programme.

Delivery

Students complete a number of laboratory sessions covering a range of simulation tools and techniques. All labs are supervised and guidance is given to the students as appropriate. As part of the laboratory exercise, each student will develop their work, at their own pace, and be expected to contribute to lab-based discussions.

Syllabus content

  • Through lab-based self-paced learning exercises, students will initially learn how to use Agilent’s industry standard ADS simulation tool, and specifically consider the design and analysis of simple radio-frequency amplifier circuit. In parallel, they will learn the basics of software automation (LabView).
  • Moving towards higher frequency physical design, typical electromagnetic effects will be explored using other simulation tools including Keysight Momentum, EMPro or HFSS . Finally, multiple aspects learned will be applied to a complex design.
  • In summary, many aspects of design will be considered, including schematic layout, harmonic balance simulation, envelope simulation, amplifier design and testing, investigation of sources non-linearity, sources and consequences of non-linear device operation, as well as an introduction to electromagnetic and Multiphysics simulation techniques.

Credits

10 credit modules (reference ENT799)

Dates

Spring semester. Please contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

100% coursework.

Outline description

The ability to use a range of advanced CAD tools and modern measurement instruments is a key attribute of a modern-day wireless / RF engineer. This module focuses on the two most industry relevant CAD tools, their advanced features, and how these can be used in modern-day microwave circuit design.

Following this, the concepts, principles of operation and the architectures of key measurement instruments are discussed and practiced. In addition, modern microwave circuit fabrication and prototyping techniques are explored, and then all of these techniques used in the design, construction and test of real microwave circuits.

The module also provides access to current, mainstream international industry in the field of Wireless and Microwave Communications, through a variety of industry-led focus events, including lectures and tutorials.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Explore advanced features of modern advanced microwave engineering CAD tools.
  • Understand the concepts, principles of operation and the architectures behind the important wireless and microwave measurement instruments and techniques used in industry today. To learn how to operate these instruments, and to understand how measured data can be used in the design, build and test development cycle.
  • To gain an awareness of the different types of modern-day microwave circuits.
  • To gain experience in modern microwave circuit fabrication and prototyping techniques.
  • To gain access to mainstream international industry in the field of Wireless and Microwave Communications, through a variety of industry-led focus events, lectures and tutorials. Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the industry recognised CAD tools available to wireless and microwave engineers today.
  • Understand the extent of advanced capabilities offered by these modern-day CAD tools.
  • Using these tools, develop competency in co-simulation, schematic capture, schematic simulation, electro-magnetic (EM) simulation, model generation, optimisation and visualisation. Develop an awareness of sources of error, and the difficulties involved in measurement at very high (microwave and mm-wave) frequencies.
  • Develop an awareness of typical Microwave Measurement tools and instruments used by RF/Microwave engineers in industry today.

Delivery

The module will be delivered through a blend of online teaching and learning material, guided study, and on-campus face-to-face classes (tutorials, lab sessions). Additional laboratory time is reserved to provide design problem guidance.

Syllabus content

  • Comparisons of modern-day microwave CAD tools Advanced features of modern-day microwave CAD tools
  • The vector network analyser
  • The spectrum analyser
  • The noise figure meter
  • The vector signal analyser
  • Advanced microwave sources
  • Microwave device measurement and characterisation
  • Measurement based non-linear modelling
  • Modern microwave circuit fabrication.

Credits

10 credit modules (reference ENT870)

Dates

Spring semester. Contact us for the latest timetable information.

Assessment

100% exam

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Outline description

  • To introduce the principles of micro- and nano-scale fabrication in the context of electronic devices and high frequency integrated circuit technology.
  • Application of basic principles to the design and realisation of devices and high frequency IC based problems in current and future systems.
  • To develop an appreciation of the way in which materials electronic properties and state of the art technology is used to enhance devices and high frequency IC performance and develop new applications.
  • To develop an appreciation of self-assembly techniques and introduce the concept of 'bottom up' design including electronic devices layout design.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Understand application of the design rules and methodology for realising a range of micro- and nano-scale passives and transistors and how processes are combined to create a high frequency electronic integrated circuit (IC)
  • Recognise the limits to present technology, and appreciate innovative ways of overcoming limitations
  • Apply the principles of micro- and nano-scale fabrication techniques to a range of familiar and unfamiliar engineering problems. Analyse simple and complex micro/nano-scale structures and appreciate the limits of technology
  • Analyse characterisation results and compare them with simulate results.

Delivery

This module is assessed by a two-hour examination scheduled in the Spring semester (50%).

Lab reports are used to assess for the practical elements of the cleanroom training, fabrication and comparison with simulations (50%).

Syllabus content

  • General concept of micro and nano fabrication
  • The development of electronic devices and high frequency IC micro and nano technology Basic resume of CS transistors operation
  • High frequency Electronic devices and ICs principles High Frequency Electronic device and IC layout design
  • Material and device evaluation for high frequencies applications Type conversion in semiconductors
  • Theoretical aspects of fabrication modules with emphasis in high frequency devices and IC realisations Photolithography
  • E-beam lithography Metallisation/lift-off Dielectric Deposition
  • Materials etching – methodology and processes Realisation of micro/nano-scale structures Metallisation and insulation
  • Mask production
  • Technology requirements for high speed electronics up to Millimetre-wave for radar applications Technology requirements for high power electronics for 5G applications.

Credits

10 credit modules (reference ENT898)

Dates

Spring semester. Contact us for the latest timetable information.

Cost

  • £540 (for UK students)
  • £1,220 (for international students)

Assessment

4 online tests 40%, 60% coursework (laboratory CAD files and reports).

Outline description

  • To learn the fundamentals of power amplifier design
  • To learn the most common, and some advanced, design techniques
  • To understand linearity and learn to apply linearization.

This module will cover the fundamentals and some advanced concepts in the design and linearization of high frequency power amplifiers. Power amplifiers are the most discussed component in high frequency electronics, both in academic research and industry. Their performance has a strong influence on important specifications such as power consumption and signal distortion.

After an introduction of the role of power amplifiers in high frequency electronics, the module will revise the basic concepts in trigonometry which underpin the analysis. The solid state devices used for power amplifier design will be overviewed. Power amplifier classes and advanced architectures will be studied in detail. Finally, the concept of distortion, along the most important linearity figures of merit and linearization methods will be studied.

Objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • Design a high frequency power amplifier based on performance specifications
  • Understand the main linearity metrics
  • Approach the design of a lineariser.

Delivery

  • Short videos for the underpinning theory
  • Face-to-face tutorials with exercises and problems
  • CAE tool tutorials.

Syllabus content

  • Introduction to power amplifiers: importance; figures of merit Non-linear trigonometry: recalling the basis
  • Class A PA. Class C to Class AB
  • High frequency PA design: practicalities High efficiency classes
  • Efficiency enhancement techniques Doherty PA practical design
  • Non-linear distortion basics Linearisation techniques.

Entry requirements

Applicants should possess a good first degree (typically a 2:1 or equivalent), or equivalent work experience in a relevant discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University's English Language requirements.

In order to apply, you must provide us with certificates and transcripts relating to previous qualifications, a personal statement, and (where applicable) proof of your English language proficiency.

How to apply

All the information on this page is correct at time of publication, however module details are subject to change.

Please contact the CPD Unit for further guidance on the application process:

Continuing Professional Development Unit