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Department of Computer Science

Power Transfer Methods for Inductively Coupled 3-D ICs

Primary supervisor

Additional information

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Other projects with the same supervisor


  • Competition Funded Project (Students Worldwide)

This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) has created novel opportunities for integrated systems. Envisioned IoT applications in healthcare, well-being, entertainment, structural monitoring and other domains will require integrated systems that incorporate all different combinations of sensing, acquisition, and processing modules each manufactured in the most suitable process node. An enabling technology for supporting these systems is three-dimensional (3-D) integration where multiple physical tiers are integrated to form a multi-tier stack [1].

3-D integrated circuits typically use through silicon vias (TSV) for electrical inter-tier connectivity. These solutions, however, are still very expensive and technologically challenging, especially for heterogeneous designs where TSVs between tiers fabricated in different process nodes are required. Wireless connectivity through magnetic field, on the other hand, can circumvent these limitations providing cost-efficient solutions for inter-tier communication [2], [3] and sufficient power delivery [4]. Designing these wireless inductive links is a challenging approach, due to strict area and power constraints, therefore awaiting new ideas that will result in efficient power transfer techniques and reliable data exchange schemes.
This research project aims specifically the topic of power transfer between tiers for sensor driven applications. The design space for these power transfer components is multi-dimensional depending upon the power transfer method, e.g., inductive coupling or magnetic resonance, area, power demand, physical distance between the tiers, sensor EM sensitivity, etc. This complex design space presents unique opportunities for novel circuit design techniques and optimization methodologies for a diversity of objectives such as system performance, cost/area, noise, and inter-tier bandwidth. Tradeoffs among physical parameters for the on-chip inductors and different circuit designs should be explored leading potentially to several link designs with different traits, offering greater insight in the design of highly heterogeneous contactless vertical systems. This project will build on existing expertise recently developed in the group in the design of inter-tier communication links. Test circuits to measure the efficiency of the proposed ideas will be fabricated through multi-project wafer services and the student will also have the opportunity to gain experience in testing of ICs in addition to design and simulation methods.

[1] V. F. Pavlidis, I. Savidis, and E. G. Friedman, Three-Dimensional Integrated Circuit Design, 2nd Edition, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, June 2017.
[2] I. Papistas and V. F. Pavlidis, "Contactless Inter-Tier Communication for Heterogeneous 3-D ICs," Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, pp. 2585-2588, May 2017.
[3] I. Papistas and V. F. Pavlidis, "Inter-Tier Crosstalk Noise on Power Delivery Networks for 3-D ICs with Inductively-Coupled Interconnects," Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI, pp. 257-262, May 2016.
[4] S. Han and D. Wentzloff, "Wireless Power Transfer Using Resonant Inductive Coupling for 3D Integrated ICs," Proceedings of the IEEE International 3D Systems Integration Conference, pp. 1-5, November 2010.

Person specification

For information


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will have good time management.
  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?