LONDON Lancaster University’s Engineering Department has won a £240,000 (around $452,000) grant to develop the next generation of electronic systems based on micro and nano technology.
Prof Andrew Richardson and Dr Norbert Dumas from the Engineering Department have been awarded the grant from the EPSRC Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Centre to develop built-in 'health monitors' for system in package technologies.
SIP, an extension of the multi-chip module concept, provides the opportunity to mix electronic, micromechanical, optical and bio-chemical technologies.
“It allows us to combine silicon chips together in a much more compact unit and opens up the possibility of putting non-electrical functions inside,” said Prof Richardson, group leader of the Centre for Microsystems Engineering. “With this technology, you could in the future foresee blood sugar monitors built into your watch for diabetes sufferers or pollution and UV sensors in your mobile phone to inform you of the danger of sun-burn or toxic substances in the air.
The team at Lancaster will work with a team at Greenwich and Heriot Watt Universities to address these reliability and manufacturing issues.
The work will focus on modelling sources of failure and developing a health monitoring capability that can be built into the systems to sense thermo-mechanical, electromagnetic and chemical stress that could lead to system failure.
“We’re developing health monitoring capabilities for these systems to provide the companies with an ability to build electronic chips and packages that are both 'self aware' and can monitor their environment. For example, a wireless sensor that could record vibration levels and temperature extremes in an aircraft engine,” added Prof Richardson.
The project will be carried out in collaboration with NXP (previously Philips Semiconductors), Flomerics, MicroCircuit Engineering, Coventor, Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems and Qinetiq.