Cum Laude PhD Defense Sven van Berkel

The research

In millimeter and submillimeter-wave radiometric imaging systems, a persistent goal is the increase in the speed of acquisition of the image while maintaining a high sensitivity. Typically, the highest sensitivity is achieved by cryogenically cooling the detectors, specifically in astronomical applications. However, for the purpose of low-cost imaging applications, it is desirable to operate at room temperature. Without cryogenically cooling, the electronic noise introduced by the detectors becomes dominant, making the detectors less sensitive. In this thesis focal plane architectures are proposed that maximizes the imaging speed of radiometers operating at room temperature without using any amplification circuitry. It is shown that in such scenario a practical image acquisition speed can still be achieved when a very broad portion of the THz-band is exploited. Ultimately, the imaging speed is maximized when the FPA is undersampled, implying a tradeoff in the size of the optics. The analysis is substantiated by a case study with recently developed wideband leaky lens antenna feeds operating from 200 to 600 GHz. THe entire front end has been developed, fabricated (CMOS Technology) and characterized, demonstrating the complete feasibility of passive imaging in the THz frequencies at neglibile costs. The implications for the automotive and security applications are dramatic, as detecting obstacles in fog, and spotting concealed weapons or bombs can now be done at negligible costs (tens of euros). That these systems will be in our future lives is now sure. When this will happen, as usual, will depend on the market request.

Future Dr. Sven van Berkel

Sven has already signed a contract at NASA, in California where he will start working as soon as the Covid lockdown stops.

Max Schöpe wins 3rd prize in student paper competition at FUSION 2020

PhD student Max Schöpe won the 3rd prize in the student paper competition at this year’s edition of the International Conference on Information Fusion (FUSION) for his paper “Multi-Task Sensor Resource Balancing Using Lagrangian Relaxation and Policy Rollout”.

For more than 20 years the FUSION conference has been recognised as a premier forum for researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas in the field of information fusion and its impacts on our society. The presented papers cover foundational, technological, and application-focused innovations in the sensor, data, information and knowledge fusion scientific domains. This year 169 papers were accepted and presented at the conference in total.

Moore4Medical kicks off

The ECSEL Joint Undertaking Moore4Medical kicked off last June, 2020 with the overarching objective to accelerate innovation in electronic medical devices. Moore4Medical is masterminded by prof. Ronald Dekker (Philips Research & ECTM) and sees important involvement and vast opportunities for TU Delft’s Microelectronics department.

The project addresses emerging medical applications and technologies that offer significant new opportunities for the Electronic Systems & Components (ECS) industry, including: bioelectronic medicines, organ-on-chip, drug adherence monitoring, smart ultrasound, radiation free interventions and continuous monitoring. The new technologies will help fighting the increasing cost of healthcare by reducing the need for hospitalisation, helping to develop personalized therapies, and realising intelligent point-of-care diagnostic tools.

Moore4Medical will bring together 66 selected companies, universities and institutes from 12 countries who will develop open technology platforms for these emerging fields to help them bridge “the Valley of Death” in shorter time and at lower cost. Open technology platforms used by multiple users for multiple applications with the prospect of medium-to-high volume markets are an attractive proposition for the European ECS industry. The combination of typical MedTech and Pharma applications with an ECS style platform approach will enhance the competitiveness for the emerging medical domains addressed in Moore4Medical. With value and IP moving from the technology level towards applications and solutions, defragmentation and open technology platforms will be key in acquiring and maintaining a premier position for Europe in the forefront of affordable healthcare.

TU Delft’s Microelectronics department leads two of the six workpackages represented in Moore4Medical: the Implanatable Devices workpackage, led by Dr. Vasiliki “Vasso” Giagka (BE & Fraunhofer IZM), and the Organ-on-Chip workpackage, led by Dr. Massimo “Max” Mastrangeli (ECTM). Both workpackages will see the interaction and contribution of many world-class industrial and academic players to develop respectively bioelectronic medicines and smart multi-well plate platforms, and will provide a rich opportunity to capitalize on and further expand the standing expertise of the BE and ECTM groups of the department.

We wish Moore4Medical success!

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Andra Velea wins Audience Award of the Young Medical Delta Thesis Awards

We are proud to announce that the MSc thesis of Andrada Velea on the development of 'Flexible Passive and Active Graphene-based Spinal Cord Implants' won the audience award of the Young Medical Delta Thesis Awards 2020 with 418 out of the 1024 votes. The research theme is a successful synergy of the expertises of the ECTM and BE sections, and was supervised by Vasiliki Giagka and Sten Vollebregt. Andrada’s work has led to 2 IEEE conference publications, among which the prestigious 33rd IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (IEEE MEMS 2020), which took place earlier this year in Vancouver. We would like to congratulate her for this great achievement.

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Medical Delta Professors appointed

Medical Delta appointed 9 new MD Professors, with joint appointments at LUMC and TU Delft, or Erasmus MC and TU Delft. Three of these are connected to the MicroElectronics Department: Wouter Serdijn, Andrew Webb, and Natasja de Groot.

Prof. Dr. Natasja de Groot (Erasmus MC, TU Delft) researches the use of sensors and catheters to more accurately diagnose and treat cardiac arrhythmias. At TU Delft, she will have an affiliation with CAS and BE.

Prof. Dr. ir. Wouter Serdijn (TU Delft, Erasmus MC) researches the use of bioelectronics in medical research. At EMC, he will have an affiliation with Neuroscience.

Prof. Dr. Andrew Webb (LUMC, TU Delft) researches how imaging can be more widely available for medical purposes. He is a professor in MRI at LUMC, and already had a part-time appointment at CAS.

The new Medical Delta professors introduce themselves and their research in a short video. This can be viewed here:


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TU Delft launches first eight TU Delft AI Labs

TU Delft is setting up eight new AI Labs to investigate how artificial intelligence (AI) can accelerate scientific progress. To this end, scientists researching AI will be working together with scientist who use AI in their research. The first of these eight interdisciplinary AI labs will be followed by another sixteen in the course of 2020 and 2021.

Rapid developments in AI, data science and digitalisation can accelerate scientific progress in all fields, ranging from medical science to infrastructural research, and across all levels, from fundamental to applied research. TU Delft is boosting collaboration between AI scientists and scientists in other domains, with the launch of a series of TU Delft AI Labs.

Within the MACHINA Lab, for example, researchers in machine learning work together with materials scientists on the analysis of existing materials and the development of new materials. Within the AidroLab, researchers in geometric deep learning are working with researchers in water management on subjects such as how to improve flood forecasting in the urban environment. Researchers in the CiTyAI-Lab will use a wide variety of data sources to map the impact of the city's 'fabric' on its inhabitants in order to improve the living environment.


AI-related knowledge is indispensable for future generations of engineers and scientists. That is why the labs also aim to strengthen education in the field of AI, data sciences and digitalisation, and to create links with educational programmes in various scientific domains.


TU Delft plans to double its budget in the field of AI, data & digitalisation to 70 million euros per year. These funds will be used for the recruitment of talented researchers, the establishment of research units, the development of educational programmes on AI, data and digitalization, and on the strengthening of collaborations, partnerships and networks.

DeTAIL: Delft Tensor AI Lab

The DeTAIL research lab was proposed by Bori Hunyadi (CAS) and Kim Batselier (3mE), and studies training and innovation in tensor-based AI methods for biomedical signals.

Real-life biomedical data is often high-dimensional. Current signal processing solutions artificially segment such high-dimensional data into shorter one- or two-dimensional arrays, causing information loss by destroying correlations between these data. At the same time, advances in biomedical sensor and imaging technology – such as substantially larger recording durations of wearable sensor technology and the unprecedented increase in spatial and temporal resolution of the latest neuroimaging techniques – have led to ever increasing data sets. Tensors (multi-dimensional arrays) are the data structure of choice in artificial intelligence research to exploit the full potential of these data in a timely manner.

Within the DeTAIL Lab, we focus on both the development and application of novel low-rank tensor methods for biomedical signal processing, thereby enabling a much faster training of AI models from large datasets without any loss of accuracy.

We will exploit an as of yet unused property of real-life data; the fact that different modes of data may be correlated. Using tensor decompositions, we can find these correlations as well as compress the data, speeding up computations significantly.

Our findings will, for example, be applied to detect events, such as epileptic seizures, through the classification of multichannel time series data based on labelled training data. We also aim to reveal hidden structure, such as functional networks, in neuroimaging data. As biomedical innovation is a defining characteristic of the TU Delft, we will develop an interfaculty elective course on AI tensor methods to satisfy the expected continual increase in demand for such knowledge

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Dutch-Japanese astronomical instrument measures 49 shades of far-infrared

Integrated superconducting spectrometer chip.

The Dutch-Japanese made DESHIMA instrument has passed its first practical tests when measuring the distances and ages of distant galaxies. The core of the instrument is a chip the size of two euro coins that measures 49 shades of far infrared light. The developers of the spectrometer publish the results of their first measurement campaign (first light) on Monday 5 August in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Measuring distances and ages in the universe is a problem. The brightness of a star or a galaxy says little about age. Astronomers bypass this problem by measuring the doppler effect of light from galaxies. The redder the light, the higher the speed, the farther the galaxy. Unfortunately, the redshift of many galaxies in the early universe cannot be measured with visible light, because starlight is shaded by dust clouds surrounding these galaxies. Measuring the redshift of these galaxies requires observing in far infrared.

49 channels

In October 2017, Dutch and Japanese researchers, led by Akira Endo (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands), mounted the special chip on the Japanese ASTE telescope in North Chile. The superconducting chip is developed by Delft University of Technology and SRON, Netherlands Institute for Space Research. The chip contains one antenna, 49 filters and 49 detectors. The antenna captures radiation of various wavelengths. The filters unravel the radiation in 49 tones of infrared. The 49 detectors measure the intensity of the radiation. When a detector picks up a signal, it can be seen as a peak in a graph.

First light

The first tests with the telescope, the so-called first light, were promising. The astronomers first focused the telescope-with-chip on Mars, Saturn and a number of well-known stars and galaxies. When they saw the expected slope in the graph without significant problems, the researchers aimed the telescope at the well-known distant galaxy VV114 and saw the predicted redshift.

The researchers are now working on a chip that can cope with 300 tones of infrared instead of the current 49. This allows them to determine the distances to galaxies that have hitherto been hidden behind dust clouds. In addition, the researchers want to link multiple chips so that they can study multiple galaxies at the same time. The development must lead to a handy-sized imaging spectrometer that is easy to use on a ground based telescope and is a must for use with space telescopes.

Incidentally, the first tests on the telescope in Chile almost failed due to material problems. There was something wrong with the cooling system of the chip. The researchers had brought spare parts for the cooling system, but they had forgotten the pins to align the parts. After searching for hours in the town of San Pedro de Atacama, the researchers came to jeweler Jose Pinto. In Pinto's toolbox, they found a piece of copper wire with exactly the right diameter. With that they could make the forgotten pins. And so the instrument was rescued and the tests could start.



The DESHIMA project ( ) is made possible in part thanks to grants from NWO, JSPS and the ERC.


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