- - Laurea in Electrical Engineering in 1986 at the University of Bologna;
- Ph.D. in “Electrical engineering and computer science” in 1992 at the University of Bologna;
- Assistant Professor in Electronic Engineering at the University of Bologna from 1994 to 2004;
- Associate professor in Electronic Engineering at the same University since 2005;
- Member of the “Centro di Ricerca sui Sistemi Elettronici per l'Ingegneria dell'Informazione e delle Telecomunicazioni Ercole de Castro” (ARCES) since 2001, when the center was founded following the approval of the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR);
- Currently she is responsible for the University of Bologna of the ERASMUS exchanges with Technishe Universiteit Delft (Netherland), Tampere University (Finland), Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux (France), and Technishe Universitat Berlin (Germany);
- Board member of the PhD program “Information Technologies” hosted by ARCES and then of the PhD “Electronic, Telecommunications and Information Technologies” hosted by DEI Department at University of Bologna until 2017;
- Currently in charge of two courses on Digital Integrated Circuits Design for students in Electronic Engineering Master Degree;
- From 2016 member of the scientific committee of the joint STMicrolectronics-ARCES Lab at the University of Bologna.
E.F.S. research activity was carried out in the frame of circuit design to improve system performance in different application fields; she addressed 1) non-linear signal pre-processing through analog circuits, 2) architectures and circuits for the front-end of RF transceivers, 3) circuits to allow 3D wireless interconnection for chip-to-chip communication and wireless probing, 4) design of bio-sensors and of active electrodes for brain imaging. Currently the research activity is devoted to 5) the design of soft-core embedded FPGAs and 6) the design of autonomous sensing and actuating IoT nodes both at system and circuit level.
All of her research activities were carried out in the framework of national or European projects or in cooperation with STMicrolectronics.
She is a co-author of 8 patents within the research agreement between University of Bologna and STMicroelectronics.
In the following a brief summary of E.F.S research activity in the various fields:
- Architectures and analog circuits for non-linear signal processing.
The study of architectures and analog circuits for non-linear function approximation was mainly carried out within the context of cooperation between the University of Bologna (DEIS) and SGS-Thomson, now STMicrolectronics and continued in the framework of Progetto Finalizzato MADESS II, 1998-2000. The main results of this research activity were a prototype in a 0.7 um CMOS technology of a field programmable analog processor and a software layer. This computes the programming values that shape the circuit response to approximate a target I/O relationship. Three international patents have been granted, related to the architecture and the technique for temperature compensation of the analog processor, and to some circuits schemes used in the bias and in the I/O interfaces.
- Architectures and circuits per RF applications.
The design activity has been first carried out within the context of two Italian national projects (PRIN 1998 ““Metodologie progettuali per applicazioni wireless in tecnologia CMOS submicrometrica” and PRIN 2000 “Design of an RF front-end for wireless transceivers in CMOS sub-micron technology”) and then within the Italian National Project FIRB ICT PNR 2001-2003 “Enabling technologies for reconfigurable wireless terminals” (national coordinator Prof. R. Castello). Within this project, E.F.S. has proposed a reconfigurable VCO that achieves a continuous tuning range between 0.75 and 2.2 GHz by using one fully integrated LC quadrature VCO with ±20% tuning range, a mixer and two frequency dividers. The prototype has been designed using a 0.13um technology. Within the context of the ARCES research line devoted to modeling, design and characterization of RF-MEMS devices, E.F.S. has also participated to the design of an RF multi-band oscillator by the integration of an active CMOS circuit and an LC reconfigurable tank with MEMS switches.
E.F.S. was the responsible of UniBO research unit within the Italian PRIN 2005 project (“Enabling blocks for CMOS integration of UWB-OFDM transceiver”) The main goal of the project was to demonstrate, through silicon prototypes, the feasibility of the most critical blocks of an UWB transceiver in deeply scaled CMOS technology. In particular UniBO was in charge to the design of the fast hopping frequency synthesizer. A prototype was fabricated in CMOS 90 nm technology and test results proved the architecture and the circuit solutions to be effective in satisfying system specifications with low area and power.
- 3D wireless interconnection.
This activity was performed in the context of the ENIAC JU- ESiP (“Efficient Silicon Multi-Chip System-in-Package Integration; Reliability, Failure Analysis and Test” 2010-2013) and E.F.S was the responsible of University of Bologna activities. The research goal was the design of a test platform based on capacitive coupling. The motivation is that contactless probing eliminates probe and pad damage because of scrub marks, thus allowing test yield improvement. In addition, non-contact probing reduces the force needed for stable contacts on all needles and supports random placement of probe pads thus enabling high parallelism. These features also make contactless probing a candidate to perform pre-bond die tests (i.e., to solve the KGD test problem). Original solutions were proposed and prototypes implemented in 40 nm CMOS technology that proved the feasibility of the approach.
- Design of bio-sensors and of active electrodes for 3D brain electrical imaging.
E.F.S. first collaborated to IST-FP6 Cochise project (“Cell-on-Chip biosensor for detection of cell-to-cell interactions” 2006-2009) coordinated by the University of Bologna, Prof. R. Guerrieri. The aim of the research project was the study and implementation of platforms, combining microsystems, electronic and fluidic systems and software tools, that make possible the study of complex biological phenomena at the scale of individual cells.
The activity continued E.F.S. in the framework of JTI ENIAC CSI (“Central Nervous System Imaging” 2010-2013) and FP7 Cream (“CReativity Enhancement through Advanced brain Mapping and stimulation” 2013-2016) projects. Here the goal was to design electronic systems for functional brain imaging based on the acquisition of bioelectrical signals on the scalp of the patient. The functional imaging of the brain plays an important role in the diagnosis and therapy of various pathologies such as Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases and in many applications of so-called Brain-Computer-Interfaces. The main result was the design in 0.35 um CMOS technology of a prototype of active EEG electrode with the capability of jointly extracting EEG and EIT (electrical impedance tomography) signals, also monitoring electrode-skin contact impedance.
- Design of soft-core embedded programmable devices.
Soft-core embedded Programmable Digital Embedded FPGAs are becoming appealing IPs to enhance modern SoCs, since technology scaling enables reconfigurability with low area impact. This notwithstanding, to become effective eFPGAs should be highly adaptable to support application-specific optimization, in terms of DSP blocks, technology options and floorplan requirements. For that, the main result of the research activity, in strict collaboration with STMicroelectronics, was the design of a soft-core eFPGA template based on Multi- Stage Switching Network which couples high flexibility with a modular design approach based on the regular replication of few simple switch modules for the programmable routing. The soft-core IP was mapped both on 65 nm CMOS and on smart-power BCD technologies and the performance was evaluated using post-synthesis results. This activity was funded by the ECSEL IA R2POWER300 (“Preparing R2 extension to 300mm for BCD Smart Power and Power Discrete” 2014-2015) project and continues in the framework of ECSEL IA R3-POWERUP (“300mm Pilot Line for Smart Power and Power Discrete”, started Nov. 1, 2017) project
- Design of autonomous sensing and actuating IoT nodes.
The IoT paradigm is based on networks of nodes capable of sensing and actuating on the environment. Each node is battery powered so it has strict energy constraints in order to extend battery life. Different strategies and technologies are studied to reduce the nodes power consumption and to optimize the communication performance.
As the radio consumption is the largest contributor to node power budget, radio Wake-Up technology is currently being studied to turn off the main transceiver while the communication is not needed.
This research activity is carried out in the framework of the Joint Lab ST-ARCES and partially funded by ECSEL 2016 Connect (“Innovative smart components, modules and appliances for a truly connected, efficient and secure smart grid”, 2017-2020) and H2020 INFRAIA 2016-2017 EnABLES (“European Infrastructure Powering the Internet of Things”, 2018-2021) projects.