Student projects

General information

A lump sum of CHF 600.- for transportation expenses’ support will be given to each student doing his/her semester project in AQUA in Neuchâtel.

A lump sum of CHF 1600.- for transportation expenses’ support will be given to each student doing his/her Master project in AQUA in Neuchâtel.

Doing a part of the project in Lausanne can be discussed. The lump sum would then be adapted proportionally to the number of trips to Neuchâtel.

No refund of effective fees will be provided. We advise students coming to do a project in Neuchâtel to buy a half-fare subscription.

 

Master projects

Testing of a 512×1 Event-Driven Linear SPAD Array

The objective of this project is to characterize and test the 512×1 linear SPAD array. The detector and system performance parameters to be measured are dark count rate, photon detection probability, dead time and maximum excess bias. The first task towards this goal is to develop a camera module based on a commercial FPGA board. The part to be designed is a sensor board with the chip mounted on it, which is compatible with the FPGA board. The second task is to develop the readout block of the sensor, starting from existing firmware. The lack of on-chip electronics resulting from the reconfigurable structure requires the implementation of readout modules on an FPGA, using VHDL. The firmware needs to send the control signals to the chip for the desired operational settings and collect the detected photons with their address in the array and timing delay from the laser pulse, in an event driven configuration. Finally, the information needs to be stored in the on board DDR3 RAM blocks and transferred to the PC via USB 3.0. Further specifications of the control and readout modules will be finalized depending on the details of the target application.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]

Camera Module Development for a Large Format Time-Resolved SPAD Image Sensor

The objective of this project is to develop a camera module that can perform FLIM-FRET analysis based on the existing 512×512 SPAD array. In addition to the currently available integrated SPAD sensor and two commercial FPGA integration boards, the required parts for this module are a custom designed sensor board with chip-on-board technology and a firmware written in VHDL. The firmware must control the camera operation signals from the FPGA, store the acquired data in DDR3 RAM blocks on the integration board, recover the fluorescence lifetimes in the FPGA and finally transfer the processed data to the PC via USB 3.0. The entire process must be performed in real time, where the overall speed is determined by the maximum readout speed of the sensor, 100 kfps for 1-bit images. The detailed description of the FLIM-FRET algorithm, standard MATLAB functions of the FPGA board and a test module for the half array 512×256 will be available for reference.

Details (PDF)

Contacts: [email protected]

Experimental and theoretical investigation of 2D/3D image sensor data fusion

Single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) can be used to image at extremely low light levels in a photon counting mode and also to time the arrival of photons with picosecond precision in a time-of-flight (ToF) mode. In this project we will combine the 2D and 3D imaging modalities by wrapping 2D grayscale images captured in intensity mode onto a 3D image produced in the time-of-flight mode. The resulting system has a number of applications such as facial and object recognition. The student will begin by fusing 2D and 3D data already acquired from a SPAD imager in the lab as a proof of concept. After this initial phase, an experimental setup will be constructed using a SPAD camera and scanning setup, capable of acquiring images with megapixel resolution. The system will be verified by performing the 2D-3D data fusion on a number of different scenes.

This project can be adapted as a semester or Master project.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]

3D device modelling of miniaturized SPADs

To construct compact and cost-effective multi-megapixel SPAD cameras it is crucial to investigate further miniaturization of the SPAD pixels toward 3-7 um, which can be arrayed in small sensor formats. However, reducing the active area dimensions to a few micrometers may lead to a dramatic decrease of photon detection probability (PDP) and increase the risk of premature edge breakdown due to three dimensional effects in the electric field distribution.

The objective of this work is to construct a 3D device simulation model with TCAD and clarify the impact of pixel miniaturization on basic SPAD performance parameters, e.g. PDP and dark count rate (DCR).

This project can be adapted as a semester of master project.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]

Development of a LiDAR System

The aim of this project will be developing a LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) system for a target distance of 200 m using a NIR wavelength (e.g. 850nm, 905nm). The default system will be based on e.g. PicoQuant laser driver, Thorlabs lenses, filters SensL R-series detector and TI comparator, time-to-digital converter (TDC) implemented in an FPGA. Then, the LiDAR system will be optimized with single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) based detectors (e.g. LinoSPAD, SwissSPAD…) developed at the AQUA lab.

Details (PDF)

Contact: myung.[email protected]

 

Semester projects

Experimental and theoretical investigation of 2D/3D image sensor data fusion

Single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) can be used to image at extremely low light levels in a photon counting mode and also to time the arrival of photons with picosecond precision in a time-of-flight (ToF) mode. In this project we will combine the 2D and 3D imaging modalities by wrapping 2D grayscale images captured in intensity mode onto a 3D image produced in the time-of-flight mode. The resulting system has a number of applications such as facial and object recognition. The student will begin by fusing 2D and 3D data already acquired from a SPAD imager in the lab as a proof of concept. After this initial phase, an experimental setup will be constructed using a SPAD camera and scanning setup, capable of acquiring images with megapixel resolution. The system will be verified by performing the 2D-3D data fusion on a number of different scenes.

This project can be adapted as a semester or Master project.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]

3D device modelling of miniaturized SPADs

To construct compact and cost-effective multi-megapixel SPAD cameras it is crucial to investigate further miniaturization of the SPAD pixels toward 3-7 um, which can be arrayed in small sensor formats. However, reducing the active area dimensions to a few micrometers may lead to a dramatic decrease of photon detection probability (PDP) and increase the risk of premature edge breakdown due to three dimensional effects in the electric field distribution.

The objective of this work is to construct a 3D device simulation model with TCAD and clarify the impact of pixel miniaturization on basic SPAD performance parameters, e.g. PDP and dark count rate (DCR).

This project can be adapted as a semester of master project.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]

Fabrication of high aspect ratio Though-Silicon Vias

The project is going to focus on the fabrication of high aspect ratio Through-Silicon Vias. The project will consist in three main phases.
1.       Preparation [first month]. In the first phase, the student will design the mask for the photolithography of the TSVs and will get all the trainings required by the CMi staff in order to be independent in the fabrication process. During this phase the student will learn how to design .gds files in an automatic way using the python library gdsCAD. Then, the student will help fabricate the photolithography mask she will use for the TSV design.
2.       Analysis [core of the project]. In the second phase, the student will learn how to fabricate the TSVs following two different process flows, and will show and analyze, by means of SEM images, the TSV quality difference and will extrapolate guidelines for the design process. During the fabrication, the student will sweep some parameters to assess their influence in the fabrication process:
a.       Materials used for the seed and adhesion layers deposition.
b.       TSV quality dependence with respect to the aspect ratio.
c.        TSV pitch, to assess if there is any proximity effect playing a role in the fab process and at what point it becomes relevant.
3.       Optimization [last month]. In the third and final phase, the student will, with the acquired knowledge from phase two, design and fabricate a wafer with the highest aspect ratio he/she expects to get.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]

Investigation of superconducting nanowire performance on different substrates

The project is going to focus on the fabrication and testing of impedance mismatching superconducting nanowire resonators made of NbTiN on a different range of substrates (SiO2, TiO2, Si3N4, Al2O3, AlN, AlN-on-Sapphire and MgO). The student is going to perform an analysis similar to what has been shown by Zhang and You [7], but focusing on the achievable depairing current fraction [8] of the thin films grown on different substrates. The student will develop skills in fabrication processes, cryogenics, data acquisition and data analysis.

Details (PDF)

Contact: [email protected]