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Master of Science in Engineering (Microelectronics Science and Technology)

The aim of the MSc(Eng)(MEST) is to prepare students for the fast-growing microelectronics and semiconductor industry that serves the foundation of modern society. Microelectronics and semiconductor industry are highly specialized with cutting-edge materials, processes, and sciences heavily involved. Our programme is to provide comprehensive knowledge and hands-on training to educate future microelectronics talents for the strong demand from the industrial sectors in this area. An in-depth, well-balanced, and multidisciplinary knowledge across various aspects of the whole value chain will greatly enhance students’ capability of grasping future business opportunities as engineers, managers, and entrepreneurs. 


Students will acquire essential knowledge to understand key science in semiconductor devices and their manufacturing processes, fundamental skills in microelectronic device design, hands-on training on designing and implementing fabrication processes for semiconductor devices, etc. Students will also have opportunities to gain valuable 'Experiential Learning' opportunities through 'hands-on' projects. 


Students are required to complete 72 credits of courses as set out below, normally over one academic year of full-time study or two academic years of part-time study: 

Candidates shall select courses in accordance with the regulations of the degree. Candidates must complete i) 8 courses, including at least 3 courses from List A and 4 from List B, and ii) a dissertation. They may select no more than 1 course offered by other taught postgraduate curricula in the Faculty of Engineering as electives.  

List-A core courses 

Characterization Techniques for Materials and Devices 

This course will focus on introducing a number of characterization techniques for the electronic devices and materials. Different physical parameters of the materials as electrical, optical, thermal, and etc will be examined and measured. Various tools and equipment such as atomic force microscope, scanning electron microscope, tunneling electron microscope, semiconductor parameter analyzer,  UV-visible spectrometer, solar simulator and etc, will be introduced in the course. Their working principles and the areas of practical applications will also be covered. The specific course objectives are: (1) Encourage students to explore latest material and device performance characterization tools; (2) To develop creative, analytical and critical thinking abilities in the material and electronic device characterizations; (3) Able to apply the state-of-art characterization tools onto their research. 


Solid-state Materials and Physics 

This course will focus on the fundamental principles of solid-state materials and physics, including crystal structures and binding, point defects, dislocations, alloys, reciprocal lattice, lattice vibration, thermal transport, electronic structure, and electrical transport. The specific course objectives are: (1) To provide students fundamental knowledge that is critical for in-depth understanding of material behaviors in modern microelectronics; (2) To encourage students building connections between basic physical principles and transport properties that are important to technological applications. 


Semiconductor Devices 

This course starts with the overview of the electronic properties of materials. There is an emphasis in fundamental physical models to understand the crystal structure and bonding, band structure of semiconductors, electron and hole carrier properties, electrical current and p-n junctions. With the basis, the course will further discuss on various semiconductor devices including diodes, bipolar junction transistors and field-effect transistors. This course will also introduce the applications of devices including light emission and detection. 


Integrated Circuit Systems Design 

This course covers the following topics: IC design route and technology considerations; logic and circuit design with MOS and CMOS: data and control flow in systematic structures; systems design and design methods; computer aids to IC design; application case studies. 


Nanotechnology: Fundamentals and Applications 

Nanotechnology is a rapidly developing discipline which has emerged from foundations based in microtechnology built up during the past few decades. Many exciting engineering applications in nanotechnology have been proposed and some are already in use. The current intensive research activities world-wide make it highly likely that many more products and applications in nanotechnology will emerge in the next few decades. This course aims at: (1) to equip students with fundamental knowledge and concepts on micro- and nano-technology, and to enable the students to apply such knowledge in future careers in both industry and universities; (2) to enable students to understand the effects of material size on behaviour and properties, and from these to appreciate the new possibilities in both fundamental science and practical applications brought about by nanotechnology; and (3) to introduce students to promising and emerging applications of nanotechnology in energy storage/conversion, unconventional materials and optical metamaterials, and help students to further research and/or work in specific application areas. 

Topics include: characteristic length scales, nanomaterials, nanostructures, physical properties of nanostructures, deposition techniques of nanofabrication, micro/nanolithography, high resolution analysis and characterization, scanning probe methods, nanoindentation, mechanical behaviours of bulk nanostructured materials, processing techniques for bulk nanostructured materials, ultrahigh strength of nanostructures, bio-nanotechnology, energy storage, energy conversion, nanophotonics, plasmonics, optical metamaterial. 


List-B disciplinary courses 

Advanced Micro/nanofabrication 

Deterministic fabrication of devices and structures at the micro- and nanoscale is critically important for microelectronics manufacturing and many emerging devices in photonics, biomedical sensing, etc. This course will help students to understand the fundamental physics and engineering applications of key processing techniques that are commonly used in the micro- and nanoscale fabrication. The covered topics include 1) fundamental properties of common materials in microelectronics; 2) fundamental science on optics, vacuum, and plasma; 3) working principle, development history, and applications of various lithographic patterning technologies; 4) physics and applications of thin film deposition; 5) physics and applications of plasma etching; 6) other important processing steps in microelectronic fabrication and other emerging advanced micro/nanofabrication. 


Advanced Semiconductor Device 

The course is to understand the technical challenges of scaled bulk MOSFETs and learn about the advanced transistor structures adapted to overcome the issues and continue Moore’s Law in a general sense. The topics include the following: 1.Overview of basic CMOS (Threshold voltage and MOSFET theory); 2.Advanced MOSFET Physics (Scaled MOSFET, Hot carrier effect, advanced gate stacking); 3.Advanced transistor structure and their fabrication (FinFET and gate-all-around FET); 4. Emerging materials and device structure (Low-dimensional materials and potential device structures). 



The recent advances in semiconductor technology and optical sciences allow the unprecedented control of light flows and light-matter interactions at the nanometer precision, a length scale that is much smaller than the wavelength of light. This opens immense opportunities for technological renovations including faster internet, more sensitive immuno-sensors, more powerful but less energy-intense computing using photons instead of heating generating electrons, smart cameras and 3D virtual displays that is flexible and thinner than a piece of paper. The class introduces the principles of optics at the small scale where conventional ray optics starts failing, teaches methods and tools of nanophotonics designs through case studies, and stimulates critical thinking on the future of photonics and optoelectronics through team projects. 


Digital System Design Techniques 

This course aims to provide a structured approach to digital system design. Fundamental to this is an understanding of the underlying technologies for modern day digital systems and the methods of analysis. Systematic design methodology and computer aids are crucial to tackling systems of increasing complexity. Selected design issues (such as faults, testability) will also be presented where appropriate. 

The course begins with an overview of digital technologies, their evolution and the implication on design realization. Students are updated on fundamental theories and essential building blocks to prepare them for higher level systems design. A structured approach is used to quickly guide students from basic combinational logic to more complex digital systems such as RTL or programmable processors. Design tradeoffs and optimizations are emphasized as an integral part of the design process. The course also covers hardware description language (Verilog) as a high level design tool. Where resources allow, students will have the chance of gaining experience on the use of Verilog.  


Optoelectronics and Lightwave Technology 

The aim of this course is to broaden the knowledge in the hardware of in optical communication systems from optoelectronic devices to integrated optical network. 

Optical communication system has almost become a “must” technique in data/signal transmission (i.e. fiber to home). Students will have the ability to address the issues: 

(i) what optoelectronic components are required in the system and the operation principles and device physics, 

(ii) the issues that have been be considered to build a optical network by using the optoelectronic components 

(iii) to evaluate the performance of the optical network to meet the target/budget (technical) and to improve the performance (using advanced technology). 

All the issues will be discussed in this course.  


Analog IC Design, Computing & Memories 

This course aims to provide important circuit theories to analyze and design analog circuits and analyze small-signal operations of transistors. Design and apply basic analog design techniques in the field of analog IC design. Use of CAD tools to simulate and design analog circuits. Specifically, it covers: Basic device modeling and device operations. MOS transistor basics: Modes of operation, large-and small-signal analyses; Analog circuits: Single-transistor amplifiers, differential pairs, multi-transistor amplifiers, different types of current mirrors. Transistor circuits at high frequencies; operational amplifiers at high frequencies. Introduction to Bode plots. Feedback amplifiers, effects of feedback on gain and bandwidth, stability of feedback amplifiers, and compensation methods. Computing with analog circuits and emerging memory devices/structures. 

Microsystems for Energy, Biomedical and Consumer Electronics Applications 

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidics have gradually found numerous applications in modern energy, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering applications. This course aims to provide students with the necessary fundamental knowledge and experience in the working principles, design, materials, fabrication and packaging, and applications of MEMS and microfluidic systems. MEMS and microfluidic devices are emerging platforms for modern engineering applications in biomedicine, chemistry, material sciences and micro-machines. This is the course that will introduce graduate students and practicing engineers into the growing field of microsystem engineering. Practical examples will be given when delivering each major topic. Teaching of the course is also strengthened with case studies on carefully chosen topics. At the end of this course, students who fulfil the requirements of this course will be able to: (1) demonstrate ability to understand the fundamental principles behind MEMS and microfluidic; (2) differentiate different MEMS and microfluidic techniques and understand their importance in modern engineering; (3) apply concepts of micro-systems for industrial applications, particularly in energy, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering. 

Topics include: MEMS and microsystem products; microsensors; microactuators; microfluidic devices; multidisciplinary nature of microsystem design and manufacture; fluid mechanics in microscaled flows; materials for MEMS and microfluidic devices; fluid mechanics in microscaled flows; fabrication techniques of MEMS and microfluidic devices; flow characterisation techniques; flow control with microfluidics; microfluidics for life sciences and chemistry. 




It involves undertaking a dissertation or report on a topic consisting of design, experimental or analytical investigation by individual students. The objectives are to: (1) simulate a realistic working experience for students; (2) provide them an experience of applying engineering principles, engineering economics, business or management skills; and (3) train students to work independently to obtain an effective and acceptable solution to industry-related or research-type problems.  

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