Heterogeneous Sensory-Processing Systems and 3-D Integration

3D Integration technologies enable vertical interconnection of different wafers and thus the allocation of different subsystems and functions into dedicated, specialized layers. Both features have significant impact on performance. On the one hand, different technologies and materials can be combined, for instance nano-antennas for THz radiation detectors. On the other hand, form factors can be improved and larger function densities can be achieved; for instance, image pixels with embedded processing can be effectively implemented without penalizing the fill factor and the pixel pitch.

This research comprises different activities concerning heterogeneous sensory-processing systems using 3D IC with emphasis on technologies employing TSVs.

Activities include the following:

  • Prospective analysis and identification of suitable 3D technology candidates.
  • Multi-spectral, 3D-compatible sensing materials and devices.
  • Interface circuitry between these sensors and the processing layers, including the electrical interface itself as well as the time multiplexing which may be required to handle different signal granularities at the different layers.
  • Architectures for optimum exploitation of the potentials of 3D heterogeneous technologies. Emphasis is on vision systems and the usage of different spatial resolutions and scales at each layer in the vertically-interconnected architecture.
  • Identification of constitutive functional operators for the different layers of the vertical processing chain, with emphasis on vision.
  • Circuit topologies for the different layers of the processing chain.

Regarding vision systems, the basic challenge is to achieve sensors with million pixel counts, pixel pitch around 6μm and operating speed in the range of 10,000 Frames/second.

Functional/physical mapping in a multilayer structure
A CMOS-3D reconfigurable architecture with In-pixel processing for feature detectors


Ángel Rodríguez Vázquez >

Ricardo Carmona Galán >


  • 3D Integrated Circuits
  • Through-Silicon-Vias
  • Vertically-Interconnected Systems
  • Heterogeneous Integration

Research Highlights

R. Carmona-Galan, A. Zarandy, Cs. Rekeczky, P. Földesy, A. Rodriguez-Perez, C. Dominguez-Matas, J. Fernandez-Berni, G. Liñan-Cembrano, B. Perez-Verdu, Z. Karasz, M. Suarez-Cambre, V. M. Brea-Sanchez, T. Roska and A. Rodriguez-Vazquez, "A hierarchical vision processing architecture oriented to 3D integration of smart camera chips", Journal of Systems Architecture, vol. 69, no. 10, part A, pp. 908-919, 2013  »  doi

M. Suarez, V.M. Brea, J. Fernandez-Berni, R. Carmona-Galan, G. Liñan, D. Cabello and A. Rodriguez-Vazquez, "CMOS-3D Smart Imager Architectures for Feature Detection", IEEE Journal on Emerging and Selected Topics in Circuits and Systems, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 723-736, 2012  »  doi

A. Zarandy, Cs. Rekeczky, P. Földesy, R. Carmona-Galan, G. Liñan-Cembrano, G. Sos, A. Rodriguez-Vazquez and T. Roska, "VISCUBE: a multi-layer vision chip", in Á. Zarandy (Ed.), Focal-Plane Sensor-Processor Chips, pp. 181-208, Springer, 2011  »  doi

A. Zarandy, P. Földesy, R. Carmona-Galan, Cs. Rekeczky, J. Bean and W. Porod, "Cellular Multi-core Processor Carrier Chip for Nanoantenna Integration and Experiments", in Ch. Baatar, W. Porod & T. Roska (Eds.), Cellular Nanoscale Sensory Wave Computing, , pp. 147-168, Springer, 2010  »  doi

R. Maldonado-Lopez, F. Vidal-Verdu, G. Liñan and A. Rodriguez-Vazquez, "Integrated Circuitry to Detect Slippage Inspired by Human Skin and Artificial Retinas", IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers, vol. 56, no. 8, pp. 1554-1565, 2009  »  doi

Key Research Projects & Contracts

INNPACTO 3D2: Intelligent Image Sensors in CMOS Technology with 3D Stacked Chips (IPT-2011-1625-430000)
PI: Ángel Rodríguez Vázquez
Funding Body: Min. de Ciencia e Innovación
May 2011 - Dec 2014

3DHVC: Design of high-performance heterogeneous, ultra high speed cellular sensor-processors for multispectral light sensing (BAA-11-001)
PI: Ángel Rodríguez Vázquez
Funding Body: Office of Naval Research, USA
Jan 2011 - Dec 2013

Study and design of interfaces for CMOS-compatible sensing nanostructures for the integration of nanoelectronic systems
PI: Ricardo Carmona Galán
Funding Body: Min. de Educación y Ciencia
Oct 2006 - Sep 2007

All Research Areas & Lines