TRS-LED Seminar Series
A Power System-on-Chip Technology for iLight Application: System Architecture and Passive Components

Prof. Johnny Sin, HKUST
Mr. Sherman Fang, HKUST

 :  18 Jan 2013 (Fri)
 :  3:00pm - 4:30pm
Venue  :  ECE Conference Room 2512, 2/F (Lift 25/26), HKUST


The iLight application aims to intelligently utilizing light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for a wide range of essential applications, including illumination, display, and signaling. However, in the state-of-the-art commercialized LED products, the power management module is overwhelming in both volume and cost. Therefore, in order to build an ultra-compact, high functionality and low cost system, a novel technology to provide a power system-on-chip solution is needed. In this technology, the silicon substrate will have to serve the following three functions. First, it should accommodate the silicon integrated circuits (ICs) which provide active matrix and signal processing functions to control every pixel in the LED array. Second, it is a “silicon interposer” which provides interconnections between the power management ICs and GaN power transistors. Third, it should also efficiently accommodates the passive components, including inductors, transformers, and capacitors. In the first section of this talk, the system architecture of this platform technology will be introduced and discussed.

One type of key components used in power management modules is passive components, including inductors, transformers, and capacitors. They are bulky and expensive discrete devices mounted on PCB boards in conventional technology. In order to convert a high input voltage (off-line voltage, 110 ~ 220 VAC) to several lower voltages for different modules in the iLight system, transformer/inductor with large inductance (~100 µH) is required. Integrating these components for system-on-chip is far beyond the scope of any available integration approaches. Also, the required capacitor is at µF level, in which conventional types of integrated capacitors will not be able to fulfill the requirement. In the novel technology, all the passive components will be embedded within the silicon substrate and connected to the front-side circuits through 3D through-silicon-vias. In terms of the embedded inductor/transformer placed in the backside of the silicon substrate, a large volume is provided for placing the magnetic core. By introducing a magnetic material with high permeability, extremely large inductance (~100 µH) can be achieved within a reasonable area of 10 to 20 mm2. In terms of the embedded capacitor, we are still working on it, and it should also be integrated at the back of the substrate. The fully integration of the passive components will dramatically reduce the volume and cost of the iLight system. In the second section of this talk, the various structural designs and performance of the inductor/transformer will be presented and discussed. The progresses in the area of integrated magnetic devices research, which were reported in a recent workshop, will also be presented.



Prof. Johnny Sin

Professor Sin was born in Hong Kong. He received his BASc (1981), MASc (1983), and PhD (1988) degrees, all in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Toronto in Canada. He joined Philips Laboratories, New York, USA, upon the completion of his PhD studies, and was a senior member of the research staff there from 1988–1991. Professor Sin joined the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, in August 1991 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2001. He is one of the founding members of the Department, and has served as the Director of the Undergraduate Studies program in the Department from 1998 to 2004. In Fall 1998, he was awarded the Teaching Excellence Appreciation Award by the School of Engineering at the University. He was the director of the Nanoelectronics Fabrication Facility from 2003 to 2012, and the director of the SPADE (Semiconductor Product Analysis and Design Enhancement) Center since 2001: a semiconductor failure analysis facility at the University to serve the semiconductor industry. Professor Sin is the holder of 13 patents, and has published over 260 papers in technical journals and refereed conferences. Professor Sin is an Editor of IEEE Electron Device Letters from 1998-2010. He has been a member of the IEEE Electron Devices Society Administrative Committee (Power Devices Sub-comittee) since 1998. He has served as a technical committee member of the International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and IC’s (ISPSD) since 1999. He is a Fellow of IEEE for contributions to the design and commercialization of power semiconductor devices.

Mr. Sherman Fang

Mr. Fang Xiangming received the BSc in Applied Physics from University of Science and Technology of China in 2009. He is now a Ph.D student in the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, under the supervision of Prof. Johnny. K.O. Sin. His research interests are power supply-on-chip (PowerSoC) and integrated magnetic components for power applications.


Light refreshment will be served at the end of the seminar.
(The seminar is FREE while registration is needed. Please register HERE)