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October 12

Title: From Smartphone to Smart Car: Circuits and Systems for SPAD imaging

Speaker: Robert Henderson

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

Robert Henderson

16:00 - 17:00 CEST / October 12 / Virtual Room 1

From Smartphone to Smart Car: Circuits and Systems for SPAD imaging

This presentation will chart the rise of SPAD devices from their first integration in CMOS technologies to volume production in smartphones and ranging products towards emerging applications in automotive LIDAR and healthcare. This new generation of quantum consumer imaging devices has been enabled by the co-integration of large SPAD arrays, massively parallel photon timing and counting electronics and embedded signal and image processing. The full realisation of the potential of these detectors poses three significant challenges for technologists and circuit and system designers; achieving simultaneously (1) maximal effective quantum efficiency (2) picosecond timing resolution at low power consumption and (3) high temporal-event dynamic range. This talk will be illustrated with pixel circuit solutions and video images drawn from example applications from microscopy, endoscopy, proximity detection, time of flight 3D imaging to flash LIDAR. The opportunities for circuit innovation offered by recent 3D integration of backside illuminated SPADs above nanoscale CMOS will be highlighted as well as trends and prospects for the future.


Robert Henderson is a Professor of Electronic Imaging in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. He obtained his PhD in 1990 from the University of Glasgow. From 1991, he was a research engineer at the Swiss Centre for Microelectronics, Neuchatel, Switzerland. In 1996, he was appointed senior VLSI engineer at VLSI Vision Ltd, Edinburgh, UK where he worked on the world’s first single chip video camera. From 2000, as principal VLSI engineer in STMicroelectronics Imaging Division he developed image sensors for mobile phone applications. He joined University of Edinburgh in 2005, designing the first SPAD image sensors in nanometer CMOS technologies in the MegaFrame and SPADnet EU projects. This research activity led to the first volume SPAD time-of-flight products in 2013 in the form of STMicroelectronics Flightsense series which perform an autofocus assist function in more than 150 different smartphone models, recently passing the 1 billion module milestone. He benefits from a long term research partnership with STMIcroelectronics in which he explores medical, scientific and high speed imaging applications of SPAD technology. In 2014, he was awarded a prestigious ERC advanced fellowship. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

October 14

Title: Copying brain

Speaker: Donhee Ham

Affiliation: Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and EE. Harvard University and Samsung Fellow

Donhee Ham

16:00 - 17:00 CEST / October 14 / Virtual Room 1

Copying brain

Massively parallel, intracellular recording of a large number of mammalian neurons across a network has been a great technological pursuit in neurobiology, but it has not been achieved until our recent breakthrough [1]. For example, the intracellular recording by the patch clamp revolutionized neurobiology with its unparalleled sensitivity that can measure down to subthreshold synaptic activities, but it is too bulky to scale into a dense array, and only ~10 parallel patch recordings have so far been possible. For another example, the microelectrode array (MEA) can record from many more neurons, but this extracellular technique has too low a sensitivity to tap into synaptic events. In this talk, I will share the recent breakthrough of ours [1], a CMOS nanoelectrode array that massively parallelizes the intracellular recording from thousands of connected mammalian neurons. I will also explore the applications of this unprecedented tool in fundamental and applied neurobiology, in particular, functional connectome mapping, high-throughput drug screening for neurological disorder, and copying biological neuronal networks as a possible new synthesis of machine intelligence.

[1] J. Abbott et al, “A nanoelectrode array for obtaining intracellular recordings from thousands of connected neurons,”  Nature Biomed. Eng., doi: 10.1038/s41551-019-0455-7 (2019)


Donhee Ham is Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and EE at Harvard and Samsung Fellow. He earned a BS in physics from Seoul National University. Following a military service, he went to Caltech for graduate training, where he worked in LIGO under Prof. Barry Barish in physics, and later obtained a PhD in EE winning the Wilts Prize for the best EE thesis. His experiences/recognitions include IBM T. J. Watson Research, distinguished visiting professorship at Seoul National University, IEEE conference committees (e.g., ISSCC), distinguished lecturer for IEEE SSC Society, associate editor for IEEE TBioCAS, IBM faculty fellowship, and MIT TR35. His intellectual focus includes neuro-electronic interface, neuromorphic processor, low-dimensional and quantum devices, NMR technology, and integrated circuits.

October 16

Title: Let Physics do the Computing: Analog Computation Revisited

Speaker: Wolfgang Porod

Affiliation: University of Notre Dame

Wolfgang Porod

16:00 - 17:00 CEST / October 16 / Virtual Room 1

Let Physics do the Computing: Analog Computation Revisited

Analog computation has a long history, but bit-based digital computers have proven to be superior for general-purpose computation. As main-stream digital technology faces technological and even fundamental limits, especially for power dissipation, alternative analog approaches to computing have recently received increased attention. In such analog dynamical systems, the computational process more closely exploits the underlying physics-driven dynamics, which offers the promise of lower power dissipation. We will review recent work in this area.  Specifically, we will consider physical processes and dynamical systems based on waves and on coupled oscillators.  It is unlikely that such dynamical systems will find use as general-purpose computers, but they might well complement and enhance a digital computing engine for certain tasks that naturally map onto the underlying physics.


Wolfgang Porod currently is Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He received his Diplom (M.S.) and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Graz, Austria, in 1979 and 1981, respectively. After appointments as a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University and as a senior research analyst at Arizona State University, he joined the University of Notre Dame in 1986 as an Associate Professor. He also has served as the founding Director of Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano).  His research interests are in the area of nanoelectronics and nanomagnetics, with an emphasis on new circuit concepts for novel devices. He has authored some 600 publications and presentations. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and he has served (2002-2003) as the Vice President for Publications on the IEEE Nanotechnology Council. Over the years, he has been active in organizing Conferences, Special Sessions and Tutorials, and as a speaker in IEEE Distinguished Lecturer Programs.