Dr. Hiu-Yung Wong, an assistant professor and Silicon Valley AMDT Endowed Chair in electrical engineering at the San Jose State University (SJSU) Multi-Physics and Circuit (M-PAC) Lab, became familiar with Synopsys solutions while he was earning his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. A few years after he received his doctorate degree, Wong joined Synopsys as a Technology Computer-Aided Design (TCAD) senior staff applications engineer, where he further increased his expertise using the tools and his understanding of how they could help address customers’ various challenges.
Today, things have come full circle, as Wong uses Synopsys Sentaurus TCAD simulators in research and in the classroom. “Sentaurus process and device simulators can be used to model a lot of experiments pertaining to radiation hardening, such as how electronics perform in space, before committing to expensive and time-consuming radiation testing of chips and components. Here, we use the tool to study radiation effects on FinFET and nanowire SRAM,” said Wong.
He and his advanced integrated device students also use the TCAD tools to explore emerging materials for the semiconductor industry. Materials like silicon carbide and gallium nitride are very expensive and difficult to manage in a regular fab. Electrical simulation and process simulation using the Synopsys tools present a better option for learning. “It’s OK to fail because it costs virtually nothing compared to examining these materials in an actual fab,” said Wong.
Over the past three years, Wong and his students have published 32 conference and journal papers featuring research using Sentaurus TCAD technologies. A few topics to note include using TCAD technologies to generate data for machine learning and for computation-intensive 3D SRAM simulation and challenging wide-band gap power electronic simulations.
With his experience working at Synopsys as well as other chip companies, Wong brings to his students a keen understanding of what makes a successful engineer and what types of advanced technologies are important in the industry. “I think the type of relationship we have with Synopsys is very important,” he said. “While our students learn from using the TCAD tools, we also contribute our educational perspectives.”