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Senior Researcher - Integrated Magnetics and Power Circuits Design

Tyndall National Institute

Cork, Ireland

Job description

The trend toward miniaturisation and ever increasing functionality for portable electronic devices is creating new challenges in the fields of electronic engineering, materials science and process development.

A key performance requirement for portable devices is battery life and this can be significantly extended by using a “granular” power supply approach that enables unused functions in the system on chip (SOC) to be switched off. However this requires many miniaturised efficient power converters. In order to limit the output current ripple, power converters require energy storage and usually magnetic devices such as inductors and transformers fulfil this requirement. Traditionally, these magnetic components tend to be very bulky but for switch mode power conversion the value of the inductance required is reduced by using a high switching frequency (20 – 200 MHz).

This makes the footprint of integrated magnetic devices feasible but requires magnetic material and devices that can operate efficiently at high frequencies.

Prof. Ó Mathúna from Tyndall, is the founder of the International Workshop on Power Supply on Chip and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) in the field of power electronics with the citation “for leadership in the development of power supply using micromagnetics on silicon”. In 2015, the Magnetics on Silicon researchers were selected as the UCC Research Team of the Year.

Tyndall Integrated Magnetics research has demonstrated: Highest efficiency for micro-inductors.

Micro-inductors in dc-dc converters up to 100MHz, Highest efficiency coupled inductors, Highest voltage gain & efficiency for micro-transformers, First CAD tool for power micro-inductors, first high frequency integrated power magnetics using pulsed reverse electroplated magnetic material. In addition to integrated magnetics on silicon, Tyndall’s Integrated Magnetics research has addressed PCB embedded magnetic devices. To the present, a magnetic core is provided for both types of integrated devices using electrodeposited magnetic material and windings are fabricated for; magnetics on silicon devices using electrodeposited copper and for pcb embedded magnetics using internal copper tracks.

Tyndall’s Integrated Magnetics team has recently obtained more than €3m funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), EU Horizon 2020 and Enterprise Ireland for further world class pioneering research and commercialization of its Integrated Magnetics technology for High efficiency Power Supply on Chip/in Package products. The SFI Principal Investigator funding obtained by Prof. Ó Mathúna is one of 24 such awards in Ireland.

Tyndall is planning a number of strategic hires to expand the existing team.

Reporting to the Head of Group for Integrated Magnetics, the Senior Researcher in magnetics design will play a leading role in the delivery of world-class outputs and the generation of economic impact from research excellence in integrated magnetics devices and associated circuits. This Senior Researcher position will advance the development of a new generation of integrated magnetic devices, with increased efficiency and further miniaturisation. A major part of the research will focus on the development of validated numerical and analytical models for integrated magnetic devices. The models will be used in device optimisation and to determine the requirements, in terms of materials and processes for such magnetic components. A further key aspect of the research is the optimisation of the overall converter system. Analytical/compact models for the various components i.e. switches, inductors and capacitors will be combined to create a converter circuit model.

This will be used to evaluate the impact of circuit topologies, number phases, frequency etc on the overall performance.

The Senior Researcher will drive research collaborations with both academic and industrial partners and engage in the sourcing of research funding from industry as well as Irish, European and international research agencies. They will also contribute to the continued development of a ‘high engagement/high performance working environment amongst all staff by promoting Tyndall’s key values of Leadership, Excellence, Teamwork, People, Entrepreneurship and Optimism.

Responsibilities

  • Design, modelling and simulation of magnetic component structures using analytical techniques and numerical techniques such as finite element analysis
  • Characterisation of inductors and model validation
  • Co-optimisation of power converter/integrated magnetics
  • Initiate, participate in and manage key research projects. This includes support with the preparation of project deliverables, including technical reports, publications and the delivery of prototypes, as well as providing direct technical support to other group members using their knowledge and background in MEMS and systems integration technologies
  • Disseminate research results to research partners as well as scientific and engineering communities as appropriate
  • Participate in the generation, management and commercialization/technology transfer of Intellectual Property
  • Engage in the procurement of research funding from agencies including EI, SFI, EU as well as direct industry collaborations including the estimation of costs, resource requirements and schedules as well as supporting the preparation of contracts
  • Supervise and/or matrix manage the work of other staff and/or research students as required
  • Represent the Group in national and international fora, as required
  • Ensure compliance with Tyndall’s Quality Management system and Health and Safety standards
  • Carry out additional duties as may be reasonably required within the scope and level of the post

Requirements

  • PhD in Science or Engineering
  • Minimum 10 years postdoctoral research experience in magnetics (ideally in thin film magnetics) and related power electronic circuit technologies
  • Demonstrated innovation and research excellence in the design, processing and characterisation of magnetic materials and devices, ideally in thin film magnetics
  • Experience in Finite Element Analysis & power converter circuit design (Maxwell ANSOFT, PSPICE, etc)
  • Experience in magnetic component electrical characterisation using LCR, VNA etc
  • Experience of driving successful research collaboration with industry
  • Track record in sourcing funding from Irish Government research agencies, EU and industry
  • Lead author and/or co-author on publications in high impact journals and international conferences and/or on significant patents
  • Proven skills in leading and working within project teams to achieve results
  • Excellent communications, organizational, management and interpersonal skills
  • Experience in IP management, protection and commercialization
  • A commitment to personal development

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