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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

Principal Design Engineer Integrated Power Systems

COM-13 Principal Design Engineer – Integrated Power Systems

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

Established in 2004, the Tyndall National Institute is one of Europe’s leading centres in ICT research and development. It hosts over 460 researchers, engineers and support staff. It has a network of over 200 industry partners and customers worldwide. Tyndall performs breakthrough research in photonics, electronics, micro/nano-technology and smart systems to deliver innovative solutions in the communications, energy, medtech, bio-pharmaceuticals, agricultural and the environmental sectors.

Tyndall is host to both the SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC) and the Enterprise Ireland, Microelectronics Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI), and is a collaborator in the SFI CONNECT Centre for Future Networks & Communications (Internet of Things), the SFI Insight Centre for Big Data Analytics and the SFI CONFIRM Centre for Advanced Manufacturing.

Description of Design Activities

The converters are switch mode inductor based and may be multi-level, multi-phase, resonant or hybrid (including switched capacitor modes). The converters are generally low power (0.1-100 W) and target applications are in IoT, mobile, server and emerging automotive markets. An integrated approach to magnetic component design and power topology design is essential to both showcase and realise the intrinsic performance advantages which accrue with the combination of Tyndall micro-scale magnetic components, advanced integrated packaging and next generation switch mode power converter designs. The ideal candidate will therefore be equally comfortable with a task which is primarily a magnetic component design or a task which primarily involves the design of a fully functional integrated power system.

Tyndall magnetic materials are appropriate for high frequency deployment and use novel, in-house fabricated, advanced electroplated or sputtered thin film Cobalt based magnetic and dielectric material systems. Indeed the magnetic components themselves will often be an integration of several magnetic ‘sub-components’, such as through the variety of methods to couple multiple phase inductors in a VRM design. Micro-scale transformers for isolated drives is another sample activity. The magnetic component design will be driven from the perspective of converter performance goals. There will be an important emphasis on rigorous, in-circuit, large signal magnetic component performance characterisation.

The converter designs will achieve leading edge performance or showcase leading edge magnetic component performance. Designs and topologies will be based on highest performing switch, capacitor and packaging technologies. GaN HEMTs, integrated CMOS, LDMOS, SOI or VDMOS discrete switches may be employed. Advanced capacitor technologies through to the use of silicon capacitors, employing Deep Trench or Tyndall’s own AlN Supercapacitors as examples, will feature. Controller designs will be mixed signal and created for the purpose of demonstrating power-path and magnetic component capabilities. Custom circuits will be designed on PCB to interface with high performance FPGAs and PWM Microcontroller ICs.

The group’s activities have very strong commercial relevance with Research and Development partners spanning the world’s major component suppliers, silicon foundries, wafer-level assembly houses and SoC manufacturers. The role, therefore, generally involves the practical application of advanced research and is often in conjunction with a strategic commercial research partner. There is a strong team based aspect to the role with the designer having a multi-disciplinary support network comprising junior, senior and principal researchers across both areas of magnetics material development and integrated power system design.

Both industry focused research and academic high impact, high quality Journal and Conference publications are a key objective for the group.

The Role

The Tyndall Magnetics-On-Silicon group performs world leading research in thin film magnetic material systems, their associated processing techniques and magnetic component design. These components are appropriate for creating highly integrated (bulk CMOS or SOI) power systems, capable of efficiently operating to over 100 MHz. The magnetic components which include inductors, coupled-inductors and transformers are the basis of next generation Power-System-In-Package (PwrSiP) and Power-System-On-Chip (PwrSoC) solutions, employing advanced power topologies and component technologies for both non-isolated and isolated power conversion. This senior role applies equally to the areas of high frequency thin film magnetic component design and integrated switch mode power circuit design. Integration generally involves advanced mixed signal controller implementation on CMOS and FPGA based characterisation tool design. The position is at the nexus between design and research and as such is characterised as being at principal engineer level with a focus on innovation and commercially focused technology development.

Design Tools

  • Analog Simulation: LTSPICE, SIMPLIS, CADENCE SPECTRE, PSIM
  • Digital and System Simulation: FPGA System Design, DSP (Xilinx or Altera), Verilog (CADENCE NCSIM/CADENCE AMS)
  • IDE Tool Suite (C, C++, Assembler level) for PWM Microcontroller or DSP: Code Composer Studio or Keil for ARM Cortex-M, dsPIC® or MSP430
  • Analytical: MATLAB, SIMULINK, CONTROL SYSTEM TOOLBOX, EXCEL
  • PCB and Mechanical Design Tools: PADS, PCAD, AUTOCAD, SOLIDWORKS®
  • Finite Element Modelling: Maxwell 3D, ANSYS HFSS

Essential Criteria

  • A BEng in Electronic Engineering or other relevant discipline.
  • At least 10 years’ industrial or post-graduate experience in the design and development of performance-leading switch mode power electronics including magnetic component design.
  • Experience in the development of FPGA-based mixed-signal power control or system characterisation and one or more of the following:
  1. the development of PWM Microcontroller or DSP-based switch mode control circuits at both C code and/or assembler level;
  2. high performance Printed Circuit Board layout design for mixed signal power or RF.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, have a lead technical role in research or design projects and to contribute in driving larger multi-disciplinary and cross-functional research projects.

Desired Criteria

  • A MEng or PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering or related discipline
  • Experience to design completion in industrial, professional or merchant grade switch-mode converters
  • Experience in design for compliance with all major international Safety and EMI (conducted and radiated electromagnetic emissions) directives and standards
  • Experience in design and/or characterisation of CMOS circuits for high performance mixed-signal power control
  • Experience of primary level control and digital interface buses such as I2C or PMBusTM
  • The candidate will be articulate, literate, organised and will contribute substantially or lead research to high impact peer-reviewed publication and/or intellectual property creation. A proven track record in this regard is desirable
  • The candidate will be proficient in the use design tools similar to those in each of the six design tool categories listed in the ‘Design Tools’ section.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Prof. Cian O’ Mathúna at cian.omathuna@tyndall.ie

This position may be appointed on the Grade 7 Scale (B) €68,177 - €89,009.  In all instances the successful appointment will be at the first point of the scale.

Closing date for this position Friday, 6th April at 5pm.

Application Instructions

Step 1 -  please click here to download and complete the application form

Step 2 - return completed form together with your CV and motivation letter to careers@tyndall.ie by no later than 5pm on Monday, 2nd April 2018. Handwritten forms will not be accepted.  No late applications will be accepted. 

A full candidate information pack is available to download by clicking here.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.