Microelectronics WebLab
Future Plans
The field trials described above were performed using an HP4155B instrument from Prof. del Alamo's research laboratory. While this was adequate in the concept feasibility phase, it represents a serious problem for the widespread use of the set-up in future subject offerings. HP has recently donated an HP4155B to dedicate to this educational initiative. Additionally, a HPE5250A switching matrix has also been donated by HP. This tool will allow us to make multiple devices available in simultaneous basis to the user. There are several reasons to extend the system in this way:
  • Students can be given "their own device", as defined by a certain location in the matrix. This will mitigate unethical use of the system and will also introduce an interesting randomness in the results obtained by each student.

  • Redundancy can be built against device burnout.

  • Different devices can be characterized at the same time to further a specific educational goal. For example, MOS transistors of identical structure but different gate lengths could be measured in an exercise.

We request funds to improve and extend the capabilities of the overall system and to further its implantation in the microelectronics program. Specifically, we wish to:

  • correct multiple bugs identified in the current version of the software;

  • implement a myriad of useful suggestions received from the students;

  • write a better manual;

  • devise a simpler graphical user interface to lower the barrier to first time users;

  • develop code for the switching matrix so that different devices can be made available simultaneously to the user;

  • develop a number of "canned" demos for lectures for 6.012 and 6.720;

  • develop a number of homeworks for 6.012 and 6.720;

  • develop "coaching" exercises for first-time users of the system and for learning elemental data manipulation.

This system is likely to be used in several subjects in EECS. 6.012 is taught twice a year with a total of about 170 students (mostly undergraduates). 6.720J/3.43J is taught once a year with about 30 students (half grads/half undergrads). A third subject where this set-up could be used is 6.152J/3.155J/10.480J Microelectronics Processing Technology, a junior laboratory that takes place twice a year and that is offered in a "fast-pace" mode several times more. About 100 students, mostly undergraduates, take this subject as preparation to use the microelectronic facilities of MIT. Undoubtedly, as experience is gained, other subjects will be identified where this system or similar systems could be used.

In a third phase, we will explore exporting the system to other educational institutions. Furthermore, a dedicated system could be permanently set up for other institutions to log in and study it and perhaps for selected institutions in countries under development to use it in regular basis as part of their educational offerings. We will also examine developing similar systems to provide remote access to other microelectronic device characterization techniques, such as capacitance-voltage characteristics and high-frequency S-parameter measurements.

For more information, contact: Prof. Jesus del Alamo
Copyright © 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology