Research Award for Faster and Reliable Data Transmission

Berlin / January 10, 2013

Dr.-Ing. Ivan Ndip receives 2012 Fraunhofer IZM Research Award

from left to right: Dr. Martin Schneider-Ramelow (Chairman of the Prize Committee), Dr. Ivan Ndip, Prof. Klaus-Dieter Lang (Driector of the Fraunhofer IZM)

In today’s information age, in which everyone is online around the clock, unimaginable amounts of data crisscross the globe within seconds via sites like YouTube and Facebook. More and more data can be sent and received at ever faster speeds, while at the same time the reliability of the transmitted data is maintained and interference is prevented. How does technology make this possible? This question is the focus of the 2012 Fraunhofer IZM Research Award recipient, Dr. Ivan Ndip, an expert on high-frequency engineering and electromagnetic field theory. His research focus includes electromagnetic modeling, design, measurement and optimization of integrated antennas, complete signal paths (e.g., chip-to-chip or chip-to-board) and entire high-frequency/high-speed modules in electronic systems.

Antennas are one of the most important components in wireless electronic devices. They enable wireless data exchange and also have a huge impact on the quality of the transmitted signals. In order to develop smaller electronic devices and systems, the integration density of antennas and other system components must be increased. However, this high integration density causes strong electromagnetic interference, which degrades system performance and can impair data transmission. To prevent this, reliable design measures which account for the impact of such electromagnetic interference must be developed and used for designing and optimizing integrated antennas right at the beginning of the design cycle. Dr. Ivan Ndip introduced this important research area in his research group and works on the development of such design measures.
However, before data can be wirelessly exchanged between electronic devices, it must first be processed reliably and without interference by system components. Signal paths, which interlink these components, play a decisive role in this intra-system communication. These paths consists of interconnecting segments such as wire bonds, transmission lines with bends and vias in interposers (chip carriers), interconnections between interposers and boards and other transmission lines with bends on printed circuit boards (PCBs). The signal paths terminate at contact pads of system components such as antennas, chips and interfaces in the device. For chips to be able to process large amounts of data very quickly, their operating frequencies are increased with each new generation of products. However, at these high frequencies, it becomes increasingly difficult to successfully design complete signal paths in electronic systems to be capable of enabling faster and reliable data transmission without degrading the signals beyond acceptable limits. Signal integrity problems (such as reflection, attenuation, crosstalk, and delay) caused by the interconnecting segments along these paths, may severely deteriorate the entire system performance and lead to mal-functioning or even failure of intra-system information exchange.

Award recipient Dr.-Ing. Ivan Ndip
Dr. Ivan Ndip and his Ph.D. supervisor, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. H. Reichl, anticipated the future importance of signal integrity in microelectronic system design over a decade ago. During his Ph.D. research, Dr. Ndip developed novel methodologies for accurate and efficient electromagnetic modeling of complex signal paths in electronic systems under consideration of signal integrity effects at multi-GHz frequencies. Using his approach, the impact of parasitic effects of each interconnecting segment on the performance of the entire signal path can be identified and minimized. This enables a systematic design and optimization of complete signal paths in the GHz frequency range. Thanks to his research, system designers are now able to identify critical interconnecting segments along complex signal paths at very early stages in the development phase - even before layout design - and prevent signal integrity problems. Furthermore, Dr. Ndip also developed during his Ph.D. research a unique and innovative design approach, known as the M3-approach (Methods, Models and Measures), which prevents re-designs, reduces the development cost and enhances the system performance. Using the new approach, integrated antennas and other system components, such as electronic chip packages, PCBs and entire high-frequency/high-speed modules can be optimally and cost-effectively designed. By developing new methods for designing and optimizing signal paths and by developing the M3-approach, Dr. Ivan Ndip has made very important contributions to ensure faster and reliable transmission of large amounts of data within, and between electronic devices and systems.

Dr. Ivan Ndip’s research addresses the big questions facing today’s microelectronics industry. His expertise is not only called on by the information technology (IT) industry, but where ever data has to be transmitted reliably and without interference, such as in medical applications, safety and security as well as applications in the automotive industry.

For more than six years now, Dr. Ndip and the scientists in his research group “RF & High-Speed System Design” at Fraunhofer IZM Berlin have been applying his modeling, design and optimization methods for complete signal paths and the M3-approach to develop solutions for a vast range of national and international companies, for example, COGO Optronics, Juniper Networks, Agilent Technologies, BMW, Balluff GmbH, EPT GmbH, VI Systems, Nanotron Technologies, Basler AG und CeramTec. He also works very closely with PCB manufacturers such as CONTAG AG and manufacturers of systems and components based on ceramic and glass substrates, such as AFT Microwave GmbH and Schott AG. Following the motto “from insight to innovation”, Dr. Ndip and his colleagues succeed in relatively short development times to achieve optimized, reliable and cost-effective designs using their innovative techniques. Such designs are only possible after very long and costly development cycles with many re-design iterations, if conventional techniques are used.

In recent years, Dr. Ivan Ndip has also been playing a leading role in international committees and at international conferences. He heads the Signal and Power Integrity Committee of the International Microelectronics and Packaging Society (IMAPS). In 2011 and 2012, he was the Technical Co-Chair for Europe at the 44th and 45th International Symposiums on Microelectronics in Long Beach and San Diego, California, USA. In 2013, he is the overall Technical Chair of the International Symposium on Microelectronics (IMAPS 2013), to be held in Orlando, Florida, USA, from September 29th to October 3rd. This symposium, held yearly in USA with more than 1000 participants, is the world’s largest international symposium on microelectronics and electronic packaging that brings together professionals from both industry and research. Dr. Ndip has also chaired 12 sessions at leading IEEE and IMAPS international conferences in Europe, Asia and USA. Since 2008, he has been a Lecturer in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the Technische Universitaet Berlin. He has supervised 30 Master and Undergraduate Theses and 5 Ph.D. students. Dr. Ndip is a senior member of the IEEE. He has authored and co-authored more than 115 scientific publications and has won many best paper awards.

Award ceremony
Dr. Ivan Ndip received the Fraunhofer IZM Research Award for “Methods, Models and Design Measures for Electromagnetic Optimization of High-frequency and High-speed Systems”, a research focus he has pursued for over 10 years. The award ceremony was held at KOSMOS in Berlin on December 19th 2012. It was attended by the director of Fraunhofer IZM, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. sc. techn. Klaus-Dieter Lang, and many colleagues from research and industry.