Johannes Kepler University Linz
Institute for Integrated Circuits
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Harald Pretl
Altenberger Straße 69 | SCP4 0332
4040 Linz | Austria
Tel: +43 732 2468 4748

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Energy efficiency is currently more relevant than ever. Battery-powered devices like mobile phones and tablet computers, and especially the group of “wearable devices” create new challenges for integrated circuits and systems. Despite higher computing power of embedded processors, larger screens and higher throughput of wireless connections, the time of usage has to remain constant at least.

In addition, applications such as pervasive computing require sensor systems with “always-on” functionality, which can be achieved only by extremely low power consumption of sensors for light, acceleration, location, orientation, sound and image.

A combination of the topics radio, sensors and power management (especially in terms of energy harvesting) results in the field of sensor networks, also known under the slogan Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Our research activities comprise the following topics:

Sensors for mobile devices and sensor networks

Sensors usually consist of the signal generator, the conditioning and digitization of the electrical signal and digital signal processing. Powerful sensors are characterized by low power consumption, small manufacturing costs and novel sensing methods, e.g. 3D Gesture Sensing.

Research projects in this field comprise the development of new sensors and digitizers for:

  • Time (MEMS-based oscillators, on-chip oscillators with very high accuracy)
  • Temperature (high accuracy with no/minimal trim)
  • Light
  • Capacity (touch sensors)
  • Vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, sleep state)
  • Location and movement (GNSS, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope)

5G Cellular Communications and Low-Power Wireless

Transmitting and receiving systems for 5th generation mobile communication consist of further advancements in the 4th generation, as well as support of mm-wave frequencies for ultra-high speed data communications and low-cost, low-power networks for the Internet-of-Things.

Research topics in this context are:

  • Low-power front-end (low-noise amplifier, mixer, synthesizer, power-amplifier) up to 28 GHz and beyond
  • Low-power back-ends (filters, amplifiers) with bandwidths > 1 GHz
  • Ultra-fast low-power ADCs and DACs with sampling rates > 1 GS/s
  • Digital signal processing for data rates in the GHz range
  • Envelope Tracking (ultrafast DC/DC converters for the supply of power amplifiers in mobile communications)
  • Power management (energy harvesting, DC/DC converters, novel linear regulator topologies)