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Cardiff University: Double first for electronics forum

24th August 2020

Cardiff University recently broke new ground as it hosted a global conference on high frequency electronics. The event notched up two major ‘firsts’ as it was hosted in the UK and delivered virtually. Here, the event chair, Professor Paul Tasker, highlights the success of the International Workshop on Integrated Nonlinear Microwave and Millimetre-wave Circuits (INMMiC).

‘High frequency electronics are at the heart of innovation across emerging technologies, helping to deliver faster communications. This year, INMMiC was compelled by Covid-19 to follow suit, working in new, inventive ways to make the two-day event a huge success which went well beyond our original expectations.

Originally launched in Duisburg, Germany, thirty years ago, the forum has been hosted across Europe’s compass points, from Malaga in southern Spain in 2008 to Göteborg, Sweden in 2010, and from Dublin, 2012, to Graz, Austria in 2017.

INMMiC exists to promote, discuss and develop ideas in the field of nonlinear microwave and millimetre-wave circuits and systems. The 2020 event blended two days of oral presentations with distinguished invited talks.

Thanks to the dedicated support of academics who served as session chairs, and a stalwart team of moderators, we were able to combine technical talks will virtual discussion ‘rooms’ where the audience was able to engage the authors and tease out the devil in the detail.

Above all, we strongly encouraged the participation of young researchers and postgraduate students. A Best Student Paper Award was supported by the Gallium Arsenide Application Symposium Association in memory of Prof Gottfried Magerl.

Cardiff’s future home of CS research

In short, opening our doors as a ‘free’ virtual event reaped rewards, more than doubling the conference’s usual attendance. On the first day, 231 unique viewers joined us, with a peak of 139 concurrent viewers. And on the second day, the numbers stayed up: 177 unique viewers and a peak of 104. The  breakout rooms proved to be popular forums for deeper discussion.

Feedback has been hugely positive. Professor Iltcho Angelov from Chalmers University, Sweden, noted: “Separate rooms for questions on respective papers gives more time for queries. In a normal conference, you usually only have time for one or two questions at best.”

Professor Jose Carlos Pedro, University of Aveiro, Portugal, commented: “As a member of the INMMIC TPC, I would like to thank the Cardiff Team for their wonderful work running the conference in such difficult circumstances. Thank you!!”

Our thanks as a committee go to the sponsors (see the logo), and in particular to the Newport-based Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult and its staff for allowing us to use their premises (and their fast internet) to run the conference. Thanks also to the dedicated presenters, who prepared high-quality presentations and all joined the discussion room sessions.

Finally, the event showed real strength in depth from the next generation of researchers in high frequency electronics. Eleven students who submitted a peer-reviewed paper were selected for the Student Paper Competition final: they also attended an extra day of activities in July, with seminars on advanced CAD tools from Keysight and Ansys, and Public Engagement, sponsored by Win Semiconductors.

The three prize winners also had to give a 60-second video ‘pitch’ explaining their research in non-specialist terms to the virtual audience!

The winners were:

Moïse Safari Mugisho

1st – Moïse Safari Mugisho – Queen’s University Belfast: Harmonic-Injection Class-EM/F3 Power Amplifier with Finite DC-Feed Inductance;

Runner Up – João Lucas Gomes – University of Aveiro: Transient Pulsed S-Parameters for Trapping Characterization;

3rd – Alexander Alt – Cardiff University: Characterising the Baseband Impedance of Supply Modulators Using Simple Modulated Signals.

The conference also allowed us to highlight the ongoing success of CSconnected – the world’s first Compound Semiconductor cluster based in South Wales, and the growth of the Institute for Compound Semiconductors, which will move to a bespoke home – the Translational Research Facility – in 2022.

All in all, a resounding success!

Professor Paul Tasker, Cardiff University.

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