Toshi Nishida's Research Group

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Event date: 
Fri, 03/25/2011 - 1:00pm to 9:00pm

On Friday, March 25th, some IMG undergraduates will present their work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Reitz Grand Ballroom.  Two poster sessions are  scheduled for 9-11am and 3-5pm, with oral presentations 1-3pm.  The presentation schedule is attached; please come out and show your support for the IMG undergraduates!

Flexible Microelectrode Array for Neural Recording

Technological advances in microelectrode neural probes have great potential to benefit patients with neurological diseases and injuries because they allow for direct interfacing and intervention with neurons of the nervous system. The interface design involves chronically collecting neural activity directly from the cortex of the brain, interpreting its information, and delivering therapy via an electronic interface. Such Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) systems that are capable of recording and processing the activity of large ensembles of cortical neurons have the potential to allow paralyzed individuals to communicate with the external world via computer control or direct control of prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs.We design, fabricate, and test flexible microelectrode array that can be hybrid-packaged with custom electronics in a fully implantable form factor to realize a self sustained BMI system. Also the flexible cable will provide strain relief to the implanted electrode and potentially improve long term viability.

This project aims at designing novel micromachining techniques for polymer-based flexible substrate microelectrodes as well as defining requirements for recording amplification, signal processing, and wireless telemetry systems. Much effort is going into the design and fabrication of highly compliant 2D electrodes which will potentially increase the possibilities of achieving reliable neural recordings over a chronic period . All efforts are in attempt to further the field of chronic neural recording for neuroprosthetic therapies.

Effect of Mechanical Stress on AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) Device Characteristics and Reliability


AlGaN/GaN HEMTs are regarded as promising candidate for RF and high power electronics applications due to unique material properties of GaN, such as, wide band gap, high breakdown field, high carrier mobility, and large saturation velocity. Other advantageous characteristics, such as, piezoelectricity and spontaneous polarization within AlGaN and GaN layers result in high 2D electron gas densities. However the wide deployment of the AlGaN/GaN HEMT technology is currently hindered due to its limited electrical reliability. Achieving high-level of reliability concurrently with high power operation remains an important challenge for this technology. Improvements in the reliability of these devices require a thorough understanding of the failure mechanisms that degrade the device performance.

Studies show that AlGaN/GaN HEMTs degrade significantly under typical device operation. Degradation in these devices has been hypothesized to occur due to charge trapping, hot electron effects, and crystallographic defect formation due to inverse-piezoelectric effect. GaN HEMTs have high internal stresses resulting from lattice mismatch between GaN and AlGaN layers and generated during device operation due to inverse piezoelectric effect. Mechanical stress impacts the device performance by affecting the carrier mobility, polarization, band-gap, trap energy levels and trap generation and hence influences the reliability of these devices. The goal of this project is to investigate the effect of stress, bias and temperature on device characteristics and understand the fundamental physics governing the device operation; and hence the failure mechanisms that degrade the device performance. Four-point mechanical wafer bending is used to study the effect of stress on AlGaN/GaN HEMT channel resistance and gate current to provide insight on the role of stress in device reliability.