Research topics for Ph D

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One of my distant friend regards highly of me and often discusses (rather mentions) techincal matters. My friend is a teacher and pursuing higher education. My friend needs me to suggest current reasearch topics in field of nanoelectronics, vlsi or microelectronics. I promised her that I will get some information for her. I have always received expert inputs on this forum. Can I get advice on this one. Many thanks in advance

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Usually one has some ideas, or better is a feel, for what one wants to study by the time they're a Ph.D candidate.
Otherwise, the follow on to flash memory would be one of the paradigm changers for MCUs.
32 bit MCUs are going to chew through megabytes of memory.

Use of asynchronous logic will become more prevalent to reduce the transistor count.
Cores will be getting smaller to increase area for memory.

Parallax is designing their follow-on multi-core small processor; it hasn't been easy for them.
Improve the tools and processes used for design, simulation, and layout for multi-core MCU ASICs.
MOSIS is one way to generate the result to be demonstrated.

Ref.
Spin-Torque MRAM (Everspin Technologies)

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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The adoption of ferroelectric NVRAM on MCUs by TI is quite notable. however, the fact that they are the only ones that I know of suggests that either (1) it is pretty hard or (2) they have a patent lock on it.

Maybe there have already been a plethora of theses on this - I have not followed this area. But, for microelectronics, it might be a fruitful path.

Jim (who happens to have a PhD in EE)

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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There are a couple of different FRAM technologies, but I suspect that the basic technology is different enough from standard silicon that integrating the two could require a lot of extra process steps.

Nonetheless, even something like a serial FRAM chip indicates that the basic logic is there, and at speeds up to 40MHz. And if you have the basic logic, you can do anything. A zero-power non-volatile processor rather appeals to me.

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Surely the problem with things like FRAM is that someone has already thought of it and has done or is doing the research already?

The idea of PhD as I understand it is to explore uncharted ground. As gchapman says you are probably only in a position to know about what's "new" when you have done the Masters or whatever it was that leads up to the PhD. I think it's usually the case that your tutor or other members of the teaching staff will probably already have areas they know could do with further research that no one has yet visited usually due to lack of manpower.

I think it very unlikely that, unless readers here are actively involved in areas of research and not simply using micros because they are useful/(fun!), that they will know of unexplored areas of research that could do with investigation.

I guess that if universities have forums/message boards you might find more discussion of research areas there but, because universities like to develop a range of patents to prove their bona fide's, I think you may find that until you are part of the organization they keep their ideas very close to their chest as they will want to benefit from the research and not make it prior art.

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Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus suggests virtual reality may be finally coming to the masses. And I just saw that Michael Abrash has joined the team. He's basically a computer graphics deity.

May be fertile ground for research.

C: i = "told you so";

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Jeri Ellsworth is a creator in the VR field.
castAR: the most versatile AR & VR system by Technical Illusions (Kickstarter)

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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How about a space tug with a grabber that can get a dead satellite out of a slot at 22500 miles up and bring it back or toss it?

Crap. I bet Elon Musk already has a team on it.

Imagecraft compiler user

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The adoption in the next 20-30 years of the carbon nanotube circuitry and how it will completely replace conventional silicon-based circuitry to provide faster performance, extremely low power and smaller footprint.

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I am a PhD student in the early stages, to be honest just because your doing a PhD doesn't really mean a lot

Before I started my PhD I too thought that to get a PhD you need this gem of an idea and to then go forward and make some sort of discovery/breakthrough and this is how everyone thinks it works

Its true to be awarded a PhD you need to add to the sum of human knowledge I think is the wording so they are looking for some novelty in your work

I am not Einstein_2, I am just a normal lad who comes from quite a deprived area and my parents are not rich, I was not brought up with a silver spoon I come from a council estate, also I left school with no GCSE's and I don't have a masters degree either I served an apprenticeship and I was a simple sparky for almost ten years

What I do have is a first class honours degree (so I can miss the MSc), youth (32, I feel 19) and I have bucket fulls of enthusiasm

I make hardware and have tinkered around with electronics for some time

I also didn't have a research project but I did build up a relationship with a contact in a Uni and he ended up my supervisor, the University can provide students with projects, some PhD's are to be applied for and the competition can be fierce

In the end this was a massive worry for me in the start, all the worry about having to change the world and what not soon fade away my supervisor proposed a good project I am enthusiastic about investigating, I wrote a research project proposal that the school consider

And I am constantly told everyone thinks they have to change the world yet there is very few people actually did anything significant for their PhD, the PhD gives the skills needed to perhaps (in rare cases) go on to discover something big its the way it is

A PhD student is just that a student and by the very definition doesn't fully understand things so its not likely they are going to discover anything!

I am also told that by looking into a complex area of engineering and researching well doing lots of work the the PhD can just fall out and I can see how this is

I get thesis from uni all the time and read them, its very difficult to see what is the novelty and these are the best students thesis that are banded about

Its more hard work than intelligence yet for some reason the general public have amazing expectations from PhD students, like they are special, it can get a bit awkward at times when people ask me about it, I don't like to talk about it as one thing I hate in life is people thinking they are better than the next because of some qualification this I hate

I read thesis's from the 90's and even I can see that the algorithms can be run much faster these days, observers with faster results mean different performances are possible and this is novelty right here taking someone elses work that little further

I don't expect you could ever get a PhD project from an internet forum its just not going to happen, you need the backing of at least one academic to put the case forward to a Uni so my advice to anyone wanting to get a PhD project is to make contacts in Universities this is where it all happens

Regards

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hugoboss wrote:
The adoption in the next 20-30 years of the carbon nanotube circuitry and how it will completely replace conventional silicon-based circuitry to provide faster performance, extremely low power and smaller footprint.

We've heard that sort of thing before. Shoot, in the early 80's we were expecting to have cryogenic computers on our desks any time. (That seemed a little impractical to me unless the part that needed to be cold was very small.)

The largest known prime number: 282589933-1

Without adult supervision.

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Except they actually have started experimenting with carbon and graphene nanoswitches. The first attempts were not very successful (they originally made it with a metal anode, but the thing would break after one actuation; they replaced the anode with graphene and now they are up to about a million actuations before it breaks...), but you can bet in 20-30 years when the manufacturing methods for carbon nanotubes evolve and mature they will end up anywhere. They were able to switch a FET-like carbon device sized about 1nm with a single electron. Plus there are already larger carbon-based memory devices viable for commercial purposes somewhere in a lab, but they do not yet exceed current CMOS density.

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Bignoob wrote:

I don't expect you could ever get a PhD project from an internet forum its just not going to happen, you need the backing of at least one academic to put the case forward to a Uni so my advice to anyone wanting to get a PhD project is to make contacts in Universities this is where it all happens

Regards

Well said. My son's PhD (in criminology) seemed to me to be nothing more than established psychology applied to a particular area of policing. Nothing earth shattering. But Melbourne University thought it was "deserving" as did Victoria Police who awarded him a scholarship to complete it and... then hired him when it was completed.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia