Electrical & Computer Research

>> ELECTRICAL & COMPUTER ENGINEERING RESEARCH

FIELDS OF RESEARCH

  • Applied Electromagnetics
  • Atmospheric Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Communications Engineering
  • Microelectronics
  • Power Apparatus and Systems Engineering
  • Signal and Image Processing
  • Computer Architecture and Software Sys-tems

RESEARCH FACILITIES

Applied Electromagnetics Laboratory
The Applied Electromagnetics Laboratories has two anechoic chambers in the frequency range of 500 MHz to 50 GHz for antenna research. The larger one is equipped with an automated data acquisition and compact range measurement system; the smaller one has a near-field scanning system. In addition, to the anechoic chambers, there is an outdoor antenna measurement range, which is equipped for testing large antenna units. The microwave area has two laboratories for high frequency circuit design and measurements research. The measurement laboratory has a Wiltron 360 network analyzer for measurements up to 65 GHz.

Biomedical Engineering Laboratory
The Biomedical Engineering Laboratory includes image acquisition/processing stations, a fully instrumented 3-dimensional human movement lab including EMG acquisition and analysis. A number of facilities are shared with researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Department of Radiology maintains a breeding colony of a species of salamander, the axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum. These are being used to analyze the mechanical and electrical components of the development of axolotl embryos, which provide a good model system for normal development and major birth defects in humans. Equipment for computer controlled time-lapse microscopy is being assembled. Software Systems is an area that represents a strong research program in the Department. The VLSI laboratory is an important component of the research program in Computer Engineering, as well as supporting research areas in Electrical Engineering such as electronics, signal processing and communi-cations. The laboratory includes a network of Sparc workstations for research and education. The laboratory has access to the fabrication of chip designs, via the Canadian Microelec-tronics Corporation. The current implementation technologies are full-custom CMOS, FPGAs, and integrated sensors. Software CAD packages available include CADENCE, simulators for Neural Networks and many standard university programs such as circuit and logic simulators. There are also facilities for experimental work with mobile robots.

Computational Intelligence (CI) Laboratory
The Computational Intelligence (CI) Laboratory has a collection of robots (two Kheperas, and a number of individual hexapod and tractor robots). In addition, the CI Laboratory has two Sun workstations, three Pentium workstations, two PowerPC workstations and two printers. Research is carried out in the design of intelligent systems (both hardware and software), data acquisition and classification of data using a number of technologies commonly associated with computational intelligence; namely, fuzzy measure theory, fuzzy sets, fuzzy Petri nets, granular computing, neural networks and, especially, rough neural networks, rough Petri nets, and rough sets. Research in software and hardware system design and measurement using CI technologies is aided by a number of tools such as Rosetta, Rough Set Exploration System (RSES), DesignCPN, and Matlab.

Power Systems and Machine Laboratories
The Power Systems and Machine Laboratories are well equipped with several workstations, a real time digital power system simulator (developed at the HVDC Research Centre), a large variable frequency supply, and several well instrumented machine sets. Facilities for developing DSP-based controllers and protection devices are available.

High Voltage Power Transmission Research Laboratory
The McMath High Voltage Power Transmission Research Laboratory is the largest of its kind amongst Canadian Universities and is equipped with generating and measuring apparatus, including digital data acquisition systems for research on insulation, HV phenomena and diagnostics. The Data and Signal Compression Laboratory has dedicated and network computers, a high resolution scanner, a video capture facility, a digital camera, a CD-ROM mastering system, and an FPGA development facility. It also has access to a large ATM facility for research.

Microprobe and Microfabrication Laboratory
The Microprobe and Microfabrication Laboratory is a well-equipped laboratory with three faculty members. Topics of interest include scanning probe microscopy, micromachining and microfabrication, semiconductor manufacturing, and high frequency microelectronics and microwave circuit testing. Probe microscopy systems include tunnelling (STM), ultra high vacuum STM, atomic force (AFM), resistive (SRM), capacitive (SCM), and dynamic electrostatic force microscopes used for in situ IC testing. CAD platforms include four SUN Ultra workstations, two Pentium III computers, and G3 and G4 Macintosh computers. CAD tools used are Cadence, L-EDIT and MEMSPro for IC design, and Libra, Spice, Ensemble and HFSS for high frequency modelling. RF test equipment includes 50 GHz sampling scopes, a 6 GHz Network Analyser and on-wafer probing facilities. Microfabrication capabilities include a cleanroom, thermal evaporation, 3 inch mask aligner, wet etching, oxidation furnaces, electroplating, UHV system, and an inspection microscope. Equipment to be added in the years 2000-2001 includes a 1000 sq. foot cleanroom, 6 inch two-sided mask aligner, ICP plasma etching, XeF2 etching, RF sputtering, E-beam evaporation, Alpha-Step surface profiler, 50 GHz millimeter wave probe station, and a wafer saw.

Computing Facilities
The Department has substantial computing facilities used for research. These include a network of over 67 SUN and HP workstations and six undergraduate laboratories with a total of 84 Pentium computers. A large number of microcomputers are also distributed throughout the Department’s research laboratories. These computers, as well as those of individual researchers, are networked by Ethernet.