Name: Mark

Sponsor: Specialised Imaging

University: University of Bath

Degree Course: MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering

What appeals to you about Electronics?

What appeals to me the most about electronics is the creativeness and variety of subfields you can get involved in, from defence and communications to integrated chip design and computer architecture. With today’s ongoing developments in AI, neuromorphic computing, and material science, I find that it is an exciting time to work as an Electronics engineer and design products which make use of these new technologies to improve the quality and convenience of everyone’s everyday life.

Why did you want a scholarship with Specialised Imaging?

I was keen to work with Specialised Imaging as they are globally recognised for their market leading ultra-high-speed imaging systems, which are used in a wide range of industries ranging from industrial and scientific to defence and research applications.

Having previously completed placements with a defence company specialising in the design of electro-optical devices, and a research placement studying the effects of laser welding through metallography and SEM analysis, a placement working within SI-Sensors was a familiar progression from my previous experiences, which offered me the unique and new opportunity to take up the role as an IC design engineer and apply the theory of what I had learned from my course to this exciting field.

What type of work have you been involved with during your placement?

During my summer placement, I worked as an Analog IC design Engineer, with a focus on the pixel architecture design as part of a feasibility study for a future successor to the image sensor within the current Kirana camera.

My day-to-day tasks involved the schematic design, simulation, and layout of a pixel circuit within Cadence, including familiar circuits blocks such as source-followers and current mirrors. I was also introduced to more advanced concepts such as measuring and identifying noise sources within an analog circuit with the use of ADE Explorer and learning about various design techniques, such as correlated double sampling, to minimise this noise.

The last few weeks saw me running LVS and DRC verification checks on my layout to ensure that the design was both compliant with the PDK design rules and would accurately resemble the schematic drawings.

My final week was spent characterising an Omnivision 5647 raspberry pi camera sensor, using Python, which was a nice way to round off my understanding of image sensors as a whole.

Through this placement, I’ve had a lot of fun learning about image sensors and understanding the challenges that designers go through to create a working and successful product. I now have more confidence and experience in my ability to use Linux and Cadence and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the placement here with Specialised Imaging.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I really enjoy boxing and took up the sport during my placement year. It is a sport which requires hard work and discipline and is generally a really easy way to meet people and socialise without the pressure of having to compete.

I also really enjoy music, and regularly play my piano, which is a really nice way to relax and play songs from movies or TV shows that I enjoy.

I regularly play poker with the University society (just pay once for the membership fee, no gambling!) and it is good fun trying to read people and call them out on bluffs or watching people play into a trap when you know you have the winning hand!

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