Suggested Courses For Embedded Systems And Semiconductor Programs In African Universities

Suggested Courses For Embedded Systems And Semiconductor Programs In African Universities

The following are some courses we propose for universities and polytechnics in Africa to adopt to revamp their embedded systems, semiconductor and VLSI programs. We understand that many African schools have  relevant and related courses in electronics, logics, microwave, computing, etc which are complementary to these ones. The major difference is that these new courses will go further to develop critical thinking, problem solving abilities and advanced knowledge with practical components in microelectronics.


These ones will be project based where the students will be required to design and develop systems which could range from controllers for solar panels to chips for water purifiers. Fasmicro Lab Outsource can help to develop these programs.


Students would learn the practical design cycle of mixed signal integrated circuits with fundamental principle of semiconductor devices and their applications in medicine, robotics, telecommunications, healthcare, power generation, etc.  The summaries of the courses as as follows:



This an introductory course in which students- manually and through computer simulations- will design digital CMOS integrated circuits and systems at the level of transistors. The design flow covers transistor, physical, and behavioral level descriptions, using SPICE, Layout, and VerilogHD1 VLSI CAD tools. After design computer verification, students can fabricate and test their semester-long class projects.



This is an advanced laboratory course in the application of FPGA technology to information processing, using VHDL synthesis methods for hardware development.  The student will use commercial CAD software for VHDL simulation and synthesis, and implement their systems in programmable XILINX 20,000 gate FPGA devices.  The lab will consist of a series of digital projects demonstrating VHDL design and synthesis methodology, building up to final projects at least the size of an 8-bit RISC computer.  Projects will encompass such things as system clocking, flip-flop registers, state-machine control, and arithmetic. The students will learn VHDL methods as they proceed through the lab projects, and prior experience with VHDL is not a pre-requisite.


MICROPROCESSOR LAB: This course introduces the student to the programming of computers at the machine level. General concepts relevant to microcontrollers are presented, including memory access, numerical representations, programming models, and coding techniques. A CAD will be used along with development platform like PIC, SX-48 chips.


Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits: Analysis and optimized design of monolithic operational amplifiers and wide-band amplifiers; methods of achieving wide-band amplification, gain-bandwidth considerations; analysis of noise in integrated circuits and low noise design. Precision passive elements, analog switches, amplifiers and comparators, voltage reference in NMOS and CMOS circuits, Serial, successive-approximation, and parallel analog-to-digital converters. Switched-capacitor and CCD filters. Applications to codecs, modems.


SEMINAR & PROJECTS ON VLSI: Research seminar devoted to current research in the engineering of large-scale integrated analog systems and project management. Topics include opamps, comparators, vision and auditory processing systems, RF circuits, etc. Group of students will work on projects.

MICROFABRICATION LAB: This laboratory course is an introduction to the principles of microfabrication for microelectronics, sensors, MEMS, and other synthetic microsystems that have applications in medicine, automotive, telecoms, biology, etc. Course comprises of laboratory work and accompanying lectures that cover silicon oxidation, aluminum evaporation, photoresist deposition, photolithography, plating, etching, packaging, design and analysis CAD tools, and foundry services.


ADVANCED TOPICS IN FABRICATION AND MICROENGINEERING: This will be graduate-level course on topics that relate to microsystem integration of complex functional units across different physical scales from nano to micro and macro. Topics will include emerging fabrication technologies, micro-electromechanical systems, nanolithography, nanotechnology, soft lithography, self-assembly, and soft materials. Discussion will also include biological systems as models of microsystem integration and functional complexity.


Mixed Signals Microsystems: This is a course on the design of integrated mixed signals and domain microsystems. The emphasis is in micro-power sensor interfaces for instrumentation and automation in the life sciences. The course comprises weekly lab lectures, laboratory sessions where students make measurements on fabricated devices and circuits and CAD laboratory assignments. There will be a final group project.


ROBOT SENSORS AND ACTUATORS: Introduction to modeling and use of actuators and sensors in mechatronic design. Topics include electric motors, solenoids, micro-actuators, position sensors, and proximity sensors and how they can be designed, used in systems. This course is a full lab course with 20% devoted to lectures.


BIOSENSING AND BIOMEMS The course discusses the principles of biosensing and introduces micro- and nano-scale devices for fluidic control and molecular / cellular manipulation, measurements of biological phenomena, and clinical applications.


Semiconductor Physics: Crystal properties, symmetry and imperfections. Energy bands, electron dynamics, effective mass tensor, concept and properties of holes. Equilibrium distributions, density of states, Fermi energy and transport properties including Boltzmann’s equation. Continuity equation, diffusion and drift of carriers


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