Overview of SSEL


The Solid-State Electronics Laboratory (SSEL) at the University of Michigan is one of the largest and oldest academic research and educational laboratories in the country working on the development of electronic and micromachined devices, technologies and systems. It is part of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), College of Engineering (CoE), and interacts with many departments and colleges across the university. The SSEL also operates the Michigan Nanofabrication Facility (MNF), which provides the latest and most advanced research facilities and capabilities in micro and nano technologies to researchers at Michigan and throughout the country.

SSEL traces it history back to 1946, when the Electron Tube Laboratory (ETL) was established at the University of Michigan. Researchers at the ETL made many significant contributions in microwave tubes including magnetrons, traveling-wave tubes, backward-wave oscillators and crossed-field amplifiers, and invented the Crestatron, a high-efficiency, high-power microwave amplifier. ETL was renamed the Electron Physics Laboratory (EPL) in 1958 to reflect the emerging role of electronics. For the following two decades, EPL researchers were instrumental in making several important contributions, including the first X-band traveling wave ladder line ruby maser as a very low noise amplifier, development of Impact Avalanche Transit Time (IMPATT), BARITT, and Gunn self-oscillating mixers for doppler radar applications, microwave sensors, automotive radars, intrusion alarms and door openers, and the development of a number of critical micromachined solid-state sensors and MEMS processes and technologies, including the first integrated pressure sensors and thermopile-based infrared detectors. As solid-state devices and semiconductor-based microfabrication technologies became more dominant in both research and commercial sectors, EPL was renamed again to become the SSEL in 1984. It has kept that name for the past 20 years, and in the past 20 years, the pace of progress and research innovations and contributions at SSEL has been even faster and more impressive than before.

Currently, SSEL has a very broad research program in all aspects of solid-state devices and technologies, including solid-state physics and theory, integrated photonics and optoelectronics, organic and molecular electronics, optical displays and devices, microwave devices and circuits, semiconductor materials, semiconductor characterization and metrology, nanotechnology and nanofabrication, integrated RF, analog, digital, and VLSI circuits, solid-state sensors, actuators, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and integrated microsystems.

Research in compound semiconductors is focused on growth and characterization of wide- and narrow-bandgap semiconductors, new high-speed and microwave device structures, optoelectronic devices, and millimeter-wave heterostructure devices.

Research in integrated photonics and optoelectronics covers a wide variety of topics including III-V semiconductor growth by molecular beam epitaxy, the physics and applications of self-organized quantum dots, the study of two-dimensional photonic crystal active and passive devices for quantum computing, single photon light sources and environmental sensing, and integrated bio-photonics.

Research in organic and inorganic thin-film devices includes thin-film transistors, integrated circuits and light-emitting devices on glass and plastic substrates, hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin-film transistors and active-matrix arrays on glass and plastic substrates for flat panel displays and sensors, and active-matrix organic light-emitting display technology.

Research in analog integrated circuits includes low-power and high-precision sensor and actuator interface circuits, telecommunication and RF circuits, wireless telemetry, and high-speed analog-digital converters.

Research in VLSI digital circuits includes microprocessor and mixed signal (microcontroller) circuits, with emphasis on low-power and high-performance; computer-aided design, including logic synthesis, physical design, and design verification; testing and design for testability; advanced logic families and packaging; integrated circuit micro-architectures; and system integration.

Silicon-based research includes process development, device design and fabrication for integrated circuits, integrated physical and chemical sensors, biological integrated sensing systems; microfluidic systems for chemical and DNA analysis; systems incorporating implantable biomedical sensors; microinstruments for environmental sensing, and other microelectromechanical systems (MEMS); advanced semiconductor processes; semiconductor process control and automation; metrology and optical measurement systems.