About the Electronics Systems and Devices Group
The group consists of 14 academic staff and over 60 PhD and Post-Doctoral researchers.
The interests of the Electronic Systems and Devices Group encompass every link in the information-processing chain of a system from input transducers, through information processing to output transducers. Within this broad spectrum, there are a number of specific areas where the Group has a wide reputation: simulation, synthesis and sensors. Simulation encompasses not just electronic simulation, but all aspects of physical system behaviour, both continuous and discrete.
The ESD group’s activities have continued to expand and diversify; the group have recently developed and sustained internationally-leading research in System-on-Chip (SoC) technology with particular emphases on: low- power hardware/software co-design, low-cost manufacturing test, and mixed-signal design. The most widely-cited contributions were made in energy-efficient system-level design algorithms, power constrained VLSI testing, and “transistor-only” analogue design methods. The quality and importance of the SoC research is demonstrated by the award of a prestigious EPSRC platform grant (System-on-chip: design methods and tools, 2004), renewed in January 2007, and three research books. The group also holds a Platform Grant on "New directions in intelligent sensors". The expertise of the group has played an important role in defining the content and deliverables of an EPSRC Network Grant (with Manchester and QUB), which aims to produce a strategy for microelectronics design research in the UK. Smart sensor materials, devices, design and fabrication of novel micro-generators have seen strong growth, with numerous projects funded by EPSRC, EU and DTI. The research findings have been documented in a monograph. In addition, novel and effective methods (vibration and thermoelectric) for energy harvesting in sensor monitoring applications have been developed.
ESD research has had a significant industrial impact and the majority of recent research has involved industrial partners, including ARM (Cambridge), Philips Semiconductors/NXP (Southampton), General Dynamics, DSTL, Morgan Electroceramics and QinetiQ. Additionally, the Group has a track record of spin-out companies. Perpetuum Ltd was founded in 2004 to exploit an electromagnetic vibration energy harvesting system developed in with EPSRC funding. The company was awarded £2.2M venture capital funding in March 2006 and currently has 12 employees. Patents arising from the Southampton/Brunel Faraday Partnership project (REMISE), resulted in the foundation of ForceSensys Ltd., a spin-out company at Brunel University. More recently, Dolphin IP was founded to exploit research into automatic generation of analogue IP cores from high-level specifications.