Research Facilities

Research Centers

Advanced Electronic Packaging and Assembly Cooperative Research Center

Integrated circuit chips are first packaged in a plastic or ceramic package. They are then assembled onto printed wire boards (PWB). As the density of chips increases, one approach is to do away with the chip package altogether and assemble the chips directly on the PWB. This is called the Direct-Chip-Attach (DCA) or Chip-on-Board (COB). If multiple chips are involved, it is known as Multichip Module (MCM). Chips can be assembled on the PWB using the conventional wire-bonding, flip-chip or Tape-Automated bonding (TAB). These techniques - flip-chip, direct-chip-attach multichip module (MCM) - can reduce the size of the electronic assembly drastically and at the same time improve the performance (speed), reliability, and manufacturing cost of the electronic assembly. The objectives of the project are: to develop (1) flip-chip bumping and assembly technology on PWBs for direct-chip-attach (DCA) and Multichip Modules (MCM) applications; and (2) the associated design and manufacturing technologies that include solder joint integrity inspection, testing, rework, thermal management, mechanical characterization, chip encapsulation and reliability assessment.


ATM/IP Telephony Solution Cooperative Research Center

This research center is based on a grant from Hong Kong Government University Grant Council and contributions from industry (a total of $3.8 million). The main objective of the project is to develop a cost efficient and effective voice over packet switching networks; its focus is the design of a distributed voice gateway for IP, which can facilitate the inter-operation between the existing PSTN (public switched telephone network) and packet switching networks (IP/ATM).

The research team will build a hardware platform to implement the Voice over IP solution and develop the software to implement the distributed control protocol MGCP. Voice over IP will be one of the main technologies of the future networks that integrate both voice and data traffic together.


Center for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAiRE)

The Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAiRE) is established to facilitate the interdisciplinary research, education, and knowledge transfer in all aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) with faculty and students from all four schools at HKUST, and for the benefit of humanity and society.



Centre for Display Research (CDR)

The Center for Display Research (CDR) was established by the Hong Kong Government Industry Department at HKUST in August of 1994. The purpose of CDR is to provide basic research support for the local Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) industry. Over $12 million has been used to establish an LCD laboratory. This LCD laboratory, when combined with the Microfabrication Center at HKUST, will be capable of producing 4 inch panels of active-matrix LCD using thin-film transistors, as well as standard TN, STN LCDs. CDR will concentrate on several areas of display research: thin-film-transistor materials and devices, new display schemes, optical-system design, microfabrication technology, liquid-crystal material development, and chip-on-glass packaging technology. Faculty from ECE, Physics and Chemistry are involved in CDR.



Center for Medical Diagnostic Technology (CMDT)

The Center for Medical Diagnostic Technology, formally established in February 1998, serves as the nucleus of interdisciplinary research in medical technology with the School of Engineering and School of Science at HKUST. Its aim is to promote interaction between research groups in the two schools and to encourage the transfer of knowledge and product ideas to industry for development of innovative medical devices. Part of the major equipment of the center is open to support the local scientists and engineers for the fundamental and applied research in the medical diagnostics.

Key Areas of Investigation

  • Medical Imaging: Development of non-invasive technology for diagnosis of diseased soft tissue based on optical, ultrasound, MRI and other advanced imaging technologies.
  • Medical Electronics: Development of signal acquisition and processing strategies for cost effective and portable medical instruments.
  • Biosensors: Development of electrochemical and optical sensors for rapid measurement of biochemicals in body fluids and detection of microorganisms.


Center for Networking

The mission of the Center for Networking (CFN) is to foster the joint research effort among faculties, students and industry partners. It serves as a focal point for multidisciplinary research in networking technologies, and serves the need for the regional telecommunications and networking industry including Hong Kong and South China, by means of collaborations.

The center consists of 15 faculty members from the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineeringy and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The current research focuses on the areas of multiparty video conferencing, voice over IP, ATM/IP Net (a network that integrates ATM and IP), ATM service provisioning to wireless hosts, DiffServ router prototypes, IP Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), etc. These projects are supported by a total of $30 million grants from Hong Kong government and industry.


Center for Wireless Information Technology (CenWIT)

Wireless information technology is undoubtedly the technology of the future. It is essential for Hong Kong tertiary institutions to play a leadership role in this area of applied research and lay the foundation for future technological advancement. To meet this challenge the Center for Wireless Information Technology (CenWIT) was set up in September 1997 at HKUST. The mission of CenWIT is to establish a centre for wireless information technology which:

  • Performs high caliber research and development;
  • Offers excellent training and education for undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Provides technology transfer and consultant services for industry and government; and
  • Addresses unique issues confronting the Asia Pacific region and China

CenWIT is currently funded by several sources spanning government, industry and also HKUST and relies on facilities in the ECE department such as the wireless Communications, DSP and communications and also the video technology laboratories. One of the short term objectives of CenWIT is to begin an industrial consortium in the Wireless Information Technology area. Matching funds to support industrial projects are also available.


Cooperative Research Center for MPEG-4 Based Information Technology

This Center aims at developing a full scale MPEG-4 standard-compliant infrastructure for fundamental research and the prototyping of multimedia applications. The Center will also develop software tools to implement various MPEG-4 features on PCs and workstations. This center has received support from Sun Microsystems and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Government and is managed jointly by the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Hongkong Telecom Institute of Information Technology (HKTIIT)

This Institute was founded with a $100 million grant from Hongkong Telecom Foundation. The formation of the Institute is based on the recognition that the future economic well-being and development of Hong Kong is highly dependent on telecommunication and information technology. The establishment of HKTIIT is an investment in the future technological development of Hong Kong. All Schools at the University are expected to be involved in the research activity of this Institute.

Undergraduate scholarships and postgraduate research assistantships are offered through the Institute, and certain members of the academic faculty are designated as Fellows.

Research in the University's Schools and Departments receive support in fields such as lightwave technology, network technology, wireless communications, video/multi-media technology, and language and speech technology. Many research projects in ECE are funded by HKTIIT.


Huawei-HKUST Innovation Laboratory

Established in April 2009, Huawei-HKUST Innovation Laboratory is a collaborative R&D lab operated jointly by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Huawei) and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). It is an innovative model of industry-university research collaboration that aims to connect and inspire researchers from both industry and academia. It is the first Huawei R&D lab in Hong Kong SAR.

Under the theme of next-generation communication and networking technologies, the Laboratory will build cohesion among the research areas of common interest to Huawei and HKUST, and conduct exploratory and state-of-the-art research that is expected to make high impact on Huawei, research community as well as the industry.




Human Language Technology Center (HLTC)

The Human Language Technology Center (HLTC) is an interdisciplinary research center founded in 1997 to drive new research directions and applications in language engineering, multilingual processing, speech recognition, machine translation, information access, text mining, spoken language understanding, and Chinese language processing.

The next decade will see massive progress in speech and natural language technology. Demand for intelligent multimedia interfaces has risen sharply with the increasing sophistication of computing and communications systems, the rapid growth of the Internet and intranets, the emergence of computer-telephony integration, and the expanding deployment of wireless communication networks. Human language - spoken and written - is by far the most direct and natural means for human beings to communicate. Human language technology will enable users to communicate in their own language through wireless terminals to intelligent agents providing interactive information services, over worldwide communication and computer networks holding enormous quantities of text and audio data.

Advances in human language technologies have been built upon the contributions from researchers in a number of distinctly different areas, including acoustics and transducers, signal processing, communication systems, speech coding, recognition and synthesis, natural language understanding and generation, language translation, heuristic search and problem solving, multimedia presentation, database management and design, human factors, and others.

Systems built at HLTC include automated language translation for the Internet, speech-based web browsing, and speech recognition for the telephone. Special emphasis is given to machine processing of Chinese language.






Integrated Circuit Design Center (ICDC)

The Integrated Circuit Design Center (ICDC), established in January 2018, is a research center to build a strong relationship and enhance research collaboration of the IC design experts in the university with other IC design academics and industry in the Greater Bay Area, Mainland China, Taiwan, and beyond.



Integrated-Circuit Industrial Consortium (IC2)

The mission of the Integrated Circuit Industrial Consortium is to foster the collaboration and activities in integrated-circuit (IC) design between HKUST researchers and the industry and thus to enhance the IC design capability and competitiveness in Hong Kong.



Internet Switching Technology Center

The Internet Switching Technology Center is funded by the Research Grants Council (RGC) Cooperative Research Centers (CRC) program and matched industrial funds. The goal of the Center is to develop the key switching technology for the future Internet. The current focus of the Center is to develop a switching fabric chipset that can be used for routers and switches. Another focus is to develop an optical crossconnect for multiple-wavelength-division (WDM) transmission facilities.


Nanosystem Fabrication Facility (NFF)

The Nanosystem Fabrication Facility (NFF) is the first microfabrication laboratory established at a tertiary institution in Hong Kong. The mission of the NFF is to provide facilities for the faculty and students of the University to conduct teaching, research and industrial services. Currently, there are over 200 projects covering the many interdisplinary research areas including: Micro-Electro-Mechanical systems (MEMS), flat panel displays, biochips, advanced Ultra-large Scale Integrated (ULSI) devices and technologies, RF and power semiconductor devices and technology, advanced electronic packaging, nanoscience and technology, sensors and actuators, etc. 

Since April 1997, the technical capabilities of the NFF has been further upgraded with completion of its Phase II laboratory. The Phase II laboratory occupies an area of 750 square meters with the lithography area providing Class 100 environment. A complete 4" silicon wafer processing line has been installed, which provides photolithography, thermal diffusion, thin-film deposition, dry/wet etching, metallization, implantation and mask making services. The facility also includes an E-beam Direct Write System which provides patterning capability down to 150 nano-meters. With the additional capabilities and capacity, NFF has extended its service to other tertiary institutions in Hong Kong, China and private companies through various technical collaborations.



Photonics Technology Center

The new Photonics Technology Center was established in the ECE department in early 2001, jointly funded by HKUST, the Innovation and Technology Commission, and local optoelectronic industry. Our mission is to carry out R&D projects on photonic components for display and optical network applications. The technology is compound semiconductor (GaAs, InP, GaN, etc) based and experimentally oriented. The first major project of the Center is to develop new technologies for the manufacture of high-brightness GaN-based blue/green/white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to help the local optoelectronics industry sharpen its edge in a fast-growing world market. The project is also supported by an equipment grant from the German company AIXTRON AG, for the purchase of an AIX2000HT Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) system, which is essential for the production of reliable, large-quantity and highly efficient LED structures. Together with the Nanosystem Fabrication Facilities (NFF) and Material Characterization and Preparation Facilities (MCPF) in HKUST, we have full capability of design, epitaxial growth, material characterization, fabrication, and testing of most optical components such as LEDs, diode lasers, photodetectors, and high-speed transistors.



Semiconductor Product Analysis and Design Enhancement (SPADE) Center

The Semiconductor Product Analysis and Design Enhancement (SPADE) Center is playing a vital role in building the basic infrastructure to support the local semiconductor companies as well as to help attract non-local semiconductor companies to open their design and development offices in Hong Kong. The SPADE Center is providing services to the companies. It analyses their designs and products when their silicon prototypes are available in the form of silicon wafers or silicon dies. Design and product errors can be debugged, corrected, and optimised in this center, and, in the end, high value-added semiconductor products can be produced.



State Key Laboratory on Advanced Displays and Optoelectronics Technologies (ADT)

Basic and applied research projects at the State Key Laboratory of Advanced Displays and Optoelectronics Technologies (SKL of ADT) concentrate on five main areas: oxide thin film transistors (TFT) array technology; third generation organic LED (OLED) devices; liquid crystal display (LCD) devices; video signal processing; IC design; and frontier technologies. One major task for the SKL is to develop energy-saving green displays. This will include active matrix organic light emitting diodes (AMOLED) displays. The SKL will also provide training programs and short courses for Chinese enterprises, and hold seminars and international conferences with other institutions.



Xilinx-HKUST Joint Lab

Xilinx-HKUST Joint Lab signifies a long-term collaboration between HKUST and Xilinx on research as well as education. It provides resources to HKUST faculty and students on research projects and teaching activities in areas such as embedded systems, wireless communications, signal/image processing, IC design, network, control, etc.


Teaching Labs

Digital-Electronics and Microprocessor Laboratory

This laboratory is designed to be a general-purpose undergraduate teaching laboratory for both the digital-logic and the microprocessor courses. As both are core courses, all ECE and CPEG students would eventually perform experiments in the laboratory. The laboratory has 30 stations designed to accommodate 30 groups of students, with two in a group. Each station is equipped with a PC, interface boards, 8051 emulators, breadboards and meters. There are 16 logic analyzers to be shared by the 30 groups. Students can obtain hands-on experience of what they learn in class through experiments carried out in the laboratory.


ECE MakerSpace

The HKUST ECE MakerSpace is a student-run maker space where MakerClub students can collaboratively engage in any projects ranging from research and classes to hobbies and gifts. The resources (equipment and software) in the space enable MakerClub members to learn and excel in their projects. Community events like tutorials, seminars, and workshops organized by senior members foster the sharing of ideas and best practices while equipping junior members with hands-on problem-solving skills.




Kirchhoff and Shannon Labs

This laboratory is designed to be a general-purpose undergraduate teaching laboratory for the Basic Electronics, Electronic Circuits, System View of Communications, Electro-Robot Design and Communication Systems courses (ELEC101, ELEC102, ELEC121, ELEC125, ELEC214) and Industrial Training. Students in ECE/CPEG and other departments would perform experiments in the laboratory. 

The laboratory has stations designed to accommodate 49 groups of students, with two in a group. Each station is equipped with a PC, breadboard, power supply, multimeter, function generator and digital oscilloscope. Students can obtain hands-on experience of what they learn in class through experiments carried out in the laboratory.


Moore's Laboratory

TThis laboratory is designed to be a general-purpose undergraduate teaching laboratory for various ECE courses, including Introduction to Integrated Circuits and Systems (ELEC 3400), Embedded System Design (ELEC 4310), Photonics and 
Optical Communications (ELEC 4620), Introduction to Bio-sensors and Bio-instrumentation (ELEC 4810), and Embedded Systems (EESM 5060).

The laboratory has 15 stations designed to accommodate up to 30 students at any time. Each station is equipped with a PC, an oscilloscope, a function generator, multimeters, power supplies, and breadboards. Students carry out hands-on experiments in the laboratory to experience, to apply, and to verify what they have learned in the lectures.


PC CAD Laboratory

The ECE PC CAD laboratory maintains computing equipments for general-purpose usage by ECE faculty and students. Installed equipments include the latest personal computers, printers, video projection display and other teaching equipments. Specialized PC-based softwares within the electronic and computer engineering discipline are installed in this laboratory. These softwares include Xilinx, Tanner EDA, OrCAD, Matlab, Pspice, Optiwave, etc. Other general-purpose PC-based software, such as MS Office, MS Developer Network, MS.Net Framework, Adobe Creative Suite, Macromedia, etc. are also available. Workstations and unix-based software can also be accessed through this laboratory via the campus-wide FDDI network.


Robotics Teaching Laboratory

The Robotics Teaching Laboratory is a multi-purpose laboratory for teaching and student projects. The laboratory is equipped with three direct-drive robots, one 7-dof redundant manipular and one zebra zero robot.

Experiments to be conducted include:

  • forward and inverse kinematics, including joint singularities, of open-chain manipulators
  • trajectory generation and motion planning for assembly tasks
  • modelling and trajectory tracking control of robotic manipulators in a structured environment
  • force control and hybrid position/force control
  • task-level robot programming for assembly tasks and other related manufacturing tasks
  • robot vision/arm coordination
  • machine-intelligence and sensing strategies


Research Labs

Advanced VLSI Design and Test Laboratory

This is both a research and teaching laboratory for undergraduate and postgraduate courses such as Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit (VLSI) design and ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) design and testing. The laboratory is equipped with 30 Sun Sparc workstations and 32 Gigabytes of disk memory. The heart of the laboratory is the University Software Program from Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys. Other software installed includes HSPICE from Avanti, SUPREM4 and MEDICI from Technology Modeling Associates, and UTMOST from Silvaco. The FPGA design software installed includes the Xilinx foundation version 1.5 and Altera Maxplus II version 8.2.

The testing portion of the laboratory consists of six Integrated Measurement Systems, Inc. (IMS) ST ASIC testers. Each tester is controlled by a personal computer. Each ST can be programmed to force or measure up to 32 channels at 20MHz. With the integrated tester, input test vectors from logic simulation can be forced to the corresponding pins of a fabricated integrated circuit or a programmable ASIC such as FPGA. Tester software displays the acquired output and the simulated output next to each other. Discrepancies between the two are easily visualized. The laboratory also has a Logic Master XL. The XL is a high-performance and high-pin-count tester with mixed analog and digital testing capability. The XL is controlled by a SUN workstation connected to the network.


Automatic-Control Laboratory

The Automatic-Control Laboratory is a multi-purpose laboratory for teaching and postgraduate research. Currently the laboratory has 12 working platforms each equipped with a PC, a set of standard signal-generating and measurement instruments, a DC motor-control system, and an experimental physical plant (mechanical system or chemical system). Each computer is equipped with MATLAB and its control-related toolboxes, as well as A/D and D/A interface boards. The following experiments can be conducted in the laboratory:

  • Modelling and identification of physical system;
  • Design of feedback-control systems using CAD tools
  • Computer simulation of control systems
  • Velocity and position control of DC motors
  • Control of real electrical, mechanical, or chemical systems
  • Implementation of feedback controllers using IC chips, computers, or digital signal processors


Big Data System Laboratory

People are constantly looking for better ways to harness big data enabled by Information Freedom. Big data systems in all forms are more popular now than ever before, and are widely used in all walks of life. IoT devices and mobile terminals, such as sensors nodes, cell phones, and tablets, offer a compact, customized, and intuitive form factor to use information anywhere and anytime. Big data system infrastructures such as data centers, data networks, and wireless access networks, are offering essential services to big data applications. In the coming years, IoT, machine learning, and cloud computing, will drive the technology development of big data systems. The extremely high-growth markets of China are fueling rapid technology adoptions and eventually promote as well as capitalize domestic innovations.



Biomedical Engineering Laboratory

The Biomedical Engineering Laboratory is designed to teach students the operating principles of medical instrumentation. It provides students with hands-on experience with electrocardiography, blood-pressure measurement, ultrasound imaging, and other technologies which form an integral part of modern medical practice. Through experimentation, the students learn how physiological signals are acquired and processed, with the goal of understanding the special requirements of medical instrumentation design.

This laboratory contains a variety of physiological sensors and instrumentation interfaced to PC workstations for real-time digital signal processing. Among the equipment available for experimentation is a multichannel patient monitor, a B-mode ultrasound unit, a pulse oximeter/capnograph, and an optical spectrophotometer. As well as serving as an aid to classroom instruction, this equipment is also used by students working on undergraduate final-year projects and postgraduate research projects.


Broadband-Network Laboratory

The laboratory is used to conduct both teaching and research experiments related to broadband communication networks. An experimental Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network testbed consisting of four local ATM switches has already been set up. This 4-node ATM network was connected to two other tertiary universities (HKU and CUHK) through the SONET ring provided by Hongkong Telecom. The SONET-OC3 (155 Mbps) interface has been used throughout for interconnecting all the ATM switches, whereas both SONET-OC3 (155 Mbps) and TAXI (140 Mbps) interfaces have been used for direct connection between switches and multimedia workstations. Currently the ATM-ready multimedia workstations consist of SUN Sparc workstations and Pentium PCs. The laboratory has software simulation tools such as BONeS and CSIM to do computer simulation for the performance evaluation of communication-network design and analysis. The laboratory is also equipped with network protocol analyzers for LANs and ATM networks.

The current research issues being investigated include the study of MPEG variable-bit-rate video modelling, access protocols, routing algorithms, LAN interconnection, bandwidth allocation, buffer management, flow control, congestion control for Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network (BISDN) using ATM technology, wireless ATM, and quality of service guarantee in the Internet.


Chemical-Mechanical Polishing Laboratory

As its name implies, this laboratory is equipped with polishing machinery for poly-crystalline Silicon, Silicon Dioxide and Metal to enhance the surface smoothness of the three materials which are often use in modern IC devices, including micro-processor, DRAM, EEPROM and TFT in LCD display.

The polishing process is carried out by applying appropriate chemicals which slowly and evenly attack the target material which is then removed by means of a rotating soft pad, thus named Chemical-Mechanical Polishing.

Currently, CMP (Chemical-Mechanical Polishing) is used for planarization in multiple layers of metal inter-connect. The increase in the number of metal layers provides the freedom for engineers to design chips with more complex logic and a smaller area. The CMP can also be used to polish polysilicon as well. A smooth surface of poly-crystalline Silicon and Silicon Dioxide is believed to enhance the performance of IC devices, particularly for those involved multiple layers of poly-crystalline Silicon such as, DRAM, EEPROM and TFT in LCD display, all of which being the hottest research topic.


Device-Characterization Laboratory

The DCL is a multi-purpose laboratory for semiconductor-device characterization and integrated-circuit testing. The laboratory is equipped with a variety of advanced equipment for characterizing electronic devices, optoelectronic devices, power devices, and integrated circuits in both wafer and packaged forms. In addition, facilities for wafer dicing and packaging are also available. Specific equipment includes semiconductor parameter analysers, capacitance meters, oscilloscopes, system controllers, IC testers, and an infrared video inspection system. A number of systems are equipped for automatic software-driven measurements.

One set of equipment is dedicated to undergraduate and postgraduate classroom use so that students can gain hands-on experience. General measurement by students, postgraduates, and faculty is conducted on equipment dedicated to research in the DCL. In addition, access to this laboratory can also be provided to researchers from other departments and schools. Finally, the Microelectronic Fabrication Facility has additional equipment for characterization and evaluation of the semiconductor-fabrication processes at HKUST.



Electro-Optics Laboratory

The E-O Laboratory is primarily a teaching laboratory, divided into two main areas: fibre optics and Fourier optics. Complete sets of fibre-optics teaching kits are available to familiarise students with the basic aspects of fibre transmission, splicing, and optical modulation, as well as detection. Holographic teaching kits are also in place to allow students to learn the basic principles of holography and make their own holograms. Experiments in modern optical techniques, such as optical signal processing, Fourier transforms and filtering are also part of the E-O Laboratory.


Fine-Line Lithographic Laboratory

In this laboratory, fine-line lithography for microelectronic research, using electron beam and laser direct write techniques, is provided. The facility is capable of both mask making and direct-write on wafer. The electron beam lithography system is a Leica EBML-300 system which is fully controlled by computer. It can provide high-precision lithography for the fabrication of advanced semi-conductor and related devices with deep submicron dimensions. The system makes use of a vector scan beam deflection in combination with an accurate stage control system, which enables the user to produce a high resolution and a high quality submicron lithography over extended areas. Exposure can be made directly on mask plates or wafers.

For larger dimension (>1.5um) microelectronic applications, laser direct write on wafer or for mask making is more efficient. Our laser direct write system is an Intertech ISI-2808 microlithographic tool, which provides the benefits of laser writing on optical masks or wafers. The yield of the system is over 90%, and the system up-time is over 80%. Apart from accepting HKUST internal mask requests, submissions from the other institutions are accepted.


HKUST-NIE Social Media Laboratory

The HKUST-NIE Social Media Lab established by Prof. James She of the ECE Department is Asia’s first lab of its kind. Its unconventional focus concentrates on the research and design of next-generation social media systems, networks and applications in emerging cyber-physical societies, and Internet of Things environments. The lab aims to collect data to help business and advertising, and develop technology to “bring the digital” into our daily lives.



HKUST-Qualcomm Joint Innovation and Research Laboratory (HQL)

As the Greater China’s importance to QUALCOMM continues to grow both as a market and a R&D hub, the need to establish synergy with elite universities in the region becomes imminent for both research collaboration, talent development & recruitment and open innovation. 

With the support of the Qualcomm University Research (UR) program and the devoted joint effort of the Qualcomm Research team and the faculties of HKUST ECE Department, the HKUST-Qualcomm Joint Innovation and Research Laboratory (HQL) was officially established in September 2013. The launch of HQL marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration between Qualcomm and HKUST on research as well as education. Professor C. Patrick Yue is serving as the Founding Director of the HKUST-Qualcomm Joint Innovation and Research Laboratory.

The mission for establishing HQL is to sponsor research and talent-development programs in strategic areas that are of particular interest to Qualcomm and can harness the strengthens of ECE Department. With an annual budget of HK$ 1.5M, HQL provides a platform to effectively utilize the funding resources to create synergy between related projects and harness the expertise of multiple faculties by promoting interdisciplinary projects. The initial research focus under the HQL Joint Research Program will be “Enabling technology for Next-Generation Internet Infrastructure”. Four projects have been selected for funding. Both Qualcomm and HKUST will expand the research collaboration through joint proposals for governmental and national research programs.


Founding Director: Prof. C. Patrick YUE

Deputy Director: Prof. Liang WU


2014 - 2015:

Research projects currently being funded:

  1. Low-voltage CMOS Clock and Data Recovery Circuits for 100-Gbit Ethernet
    Investigator: Prof. C. Patrick YUE 
  2. Cache-Induced Opportunistic MIMO Cooperation for Video Streaming in 5G Wireless Systems
    Investigator: Prof. Vincent LAU 
  3. High-Precision Visible Light Indoor Positioning System
    Investigators: Prof. Liang WU and Prof. C. Patrick YUE 
  4. Implementation of joint perceptual/behavioral development on a mobile robot platform
    Investigator: Prof. Bertram SHI

2013 - 2014: 

  1. Cost-effective, energy-efficient optical links for datacom and consumer applications based on advanced CMOS optoelectronic IC 
  2. Hybrid-integrated photodetectors and all-silicon active devices for on-chip optical interconnects 
  3. Visible Light Communication transceiver design using GaN LED-on-Silicon microsystem 
  4. Implementation of joint perceptual/behavioral development on a mobile robot platform


Integrated Power Electronics Laboratory

The IPEL is a research laboratory for applied research related to power electronics. Our research activities cover the areas from power semiconductor devices and technology to power integrated circuits and systems, and currently concentrate on low to medium power applications (sub-KW) that are related to ballasts, DC-DC converters, and telecommunications. The laboratory is equipped with high voltage power supplies, current probes, power meters, high voltage curve tracer, high voltage pulse generator, power device parameter analyzer, Sun Ultrasparc workstations, etc., for design and characterization of power devices and circuits.

Current research activities:

  • Analysis and modeling of switch mode power converters and linear regulators
  • Design of dimmable electronic ballasts and power factor correctors
  • Implementation and analysis of switched-capacitor power converters
  • Design of power modules for telecommunication applications
  • Design of bi-directional and high temperature power semiconductor devices
  • Design of integrated circuit technology for high voltage applications
  • Design of RF power amplifiers for wireless communications
  • Design of high voltage display driver circuits




Machine-Intelligence Laboratory

The Machine-Intelligence Laboratory is a research laboratory for basic and applied research in manufacturing, motor control and intelligent systems. The laboratory is equipped with a 3-axis milling machine, a CNC lathe, a CNC EDM machine, home-built open-architecture controllers for machine tools, transporting robots, Sun and SGI Graphics workstations, testbeds for induction motor control, and various sensors, measurement tools and CAD/CAM software.

Several on-going projects in this laboratory are:

  • Development of open-architecture controllers for machine tools;
  • Vector control for AC induction motors;
  • CAD/CAM integration; and
  • Computer-aided setups and on-line quality inspection.


Nanoelectronic Circuits and Gigascale Systems Laboratory



Networked Control Laboratory

The Networked Control Laboratory conducts research at both UG and PG levels in the area of networked sensing, estimation and control, and aims to design better protocols, elegant algorithms and practical tools for the convergence of communication, computation, and control. Classic control theory assumes perfect information flow across the main components of a closed-loop system. Emerging applications of networked sensors, processors, and controllers which communicate via a network require a new theory to support their system analysis, design, and implementation. Issues such as data packet drops, delays, finite communication bandwidth, etc., which degrade the system's performance and may even cause instability of the system, will be investigated.


Optical Device-Characterization Laboratory

The ODCL is a research facility for characterization of various optical devices. The ODCL is equipped with many kinds of light sources for light illumination of optical devices, and many kinds of detectors for light reception. There are also spectrometers, colorimeters, digitizing oscilloscopes, IC testers and semiconductor parameter extractors for electrical characterization.


Photonic Device Laboratory

Optics and photonics at micrometer and nanometer scale are exciting from both fundamental and technological perspectives. At Photonic Device Laboratory (PDL) at the ECE Department, HKUST, we work on experimental research projects in optics and photonics for a wide scope of applications including optical communications and sensing.

Most of our work exploits sharp optical resonances in optical microcavities - micrometer-sized dielectric optical resonators that partially confine light wave. As sharp optical resonances and their light coupling are highly dependent on the microcavity shapes, it is often of interest to explore various novel optical microcavity designs. This is analogous to having different musical instruments of different acoustical cavities giving us different sound qualities!

In particular, we investigate planar optical microcavities and micropillar cavities that can be coupled with optical waveguides and integrated on a chip. Leveraging from the HKUST Nanosystem Fabrication Facility, we are able to fabricate optical microcavities and submicrometer-sized waveguides on silicon wafers using complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible processes. Such integrated photonics on silicon, so called "Silicon Photonics", have the key merit of allowing both photonics and electronics to be integrated on a single silicon platform. We envision that silicon-based microresonators and waveguides constitute building blocks for large-scale-integrated silicon photonics chips, where information carriers are light waves that can be readily in and out-coupled to optical fibers, and on-chip fast switching can be performed electrically and/or optically.

At HKUST, we successfully demonstrated silicon-based passive and active devices including optical microcavity-based channel add-drop filters, and high-speed electro-optic modulators using p-i-n diodes embedded microdisk and microring resonators. Our various on-going research projects seek to further develop these devices and also explore new grounds.

  • Prof. Andrew W. POON
  • Photonic Device Laboratory (PDL)
  • Nanosystem Fabrication Facility (NFF)



Photonic Materials Laboratory

The centre-piece of the PML is an excimer-laser-based pulsed-laser deposition system. This system is capable of depositing thin films of any material. PML is primarily a research laboratory for the exploration of new photonic materials including nonlinear optical thin films, electro-optic films, ferroelectric films and transparent metallic films. Other equipment in this laboratory includes an evaporator, thin-film characterization instruments, and a wet-chemical laboratory.


Reconfiguration Computing Systems Laboratory

The Reconfigurable Computing Systems Lab focuses on research in various areas of reconfigurable computing and its application in high-performance low-power computing systems. Our goal is to propose, develop and validate next generation reconfigurable architecture as well as corresponding synthesis flows to enable reconfigurable computing to become mainstream of future computing systems. Specifically, the lab focuses on FPGA based design, performance and power efficient multicore system, hardware based embedded system security, and the application of emerging technologies. The breadth and depth of the work undertaken by the lab spans from device level architecture to application oriented system design. All important subjects like placement and routing algorithms, hardware-software partitioning, energy and power efficiency, hardware security and reliability fall within the scope of the work.



Robot Manipulation Laboratory

The Robot Manipulation Laboratory is a research laboratory for basic and applied research in robotics and automation. The laboratory is equipped with a multi-robot manipulation system, direct-drive and force control robots, Sun and SGI Graphics workstations, testbeds for sensor and actuator design, and various measurement and software tools.

Several on-going projects in this laboratory are:

  • Development of a task-level robot hand manipulation system
  • Robust nonholonomic motion planning
  • Geometric manipulation theory
  • Intelligent robot control


Robotics Institute

The new Robotics Institute serves as a multidisciplinary platform for integrating, facilitating and enabling University-wide programs in robotics-related research, development and education. It will highlight past and existing research and initiate new programs with seminars, meetings, research proposals, national and international collaborations with industry, institutions, and public outreach. 



Sensor and Instrumentation Laboratory

The Sensor and Instrumentation Laboratory is primarily intended to support the integrated-sensor-technology research program at HKUST by providing sensor design, characterization and instrumentation functions. The program is focused on solid-state gas sensors and integrated-sensor technology. Integrated sensor technology is an important area which combines today's exceedingly powerful integrated-circuit technology with advanced silicon-sensor technology. Using this technology in industrial and consumer applications may result in much better system performance and higher reliability at lower cost. The technology is already making an important impact on consumer electronics, automotive industry, medical instrumentation, and industrial process control. Some of the key issues in this program are to design innovative sensors and to develop technology which is fully-compatible with the existing VLSI fabrication techniques. The research activities in this program include silicon-sensor design, modeling, fabrication, characterization, and process integration.


Signal-Processing and Communication Laboratory

The SPCOM Lab is the core laboratory for supporting research activities in the general areas of signal processing and communications. This lab provides working space and latest computing equipment to over 40 post-graduate students and research associates (RA) for their different research purposes. The lab is equipped with signal processing and communications hardware, including Agilent logic analyzers, digital oscilloscopes, Stanford signal generators, and power supplies.  This equipment is used by the post-graduate students and RAs for testing and design purposes. The lab is also equipped with Sun workstations and various linux servers to provide high-performance simulation support.


Smart Sensory Integrated Systems Laboratory

The Smart Sensory Integrated Systems Lab (S2IS) is primarily interested in developing new circuits and systems for smart sensors and microsystems.

Our research at the S2IS lab combines wide expertise from the areas of integrated circuits, systems and sensors design as well as signal/image processing algorithms and their VLSI implementation.

Our research is best described as being in the crossroads between algorithmic solutions and hardware friendly VLSI architecture for sensors applications (vision sensors as well as gas sensors and olfactory systems). The aim behind implementing such algorithmic solutions in CMOS VLSI technologies is to be able to build smart Microsystems in which sensing and processing are integrated as closely as possible hence achieving high performance and low cost.

The research interests of this research Lab are related to time-domain CMOS image sensors as well as new algorithmic and VLSI architectural solutions for both vision and electronic nose Microsystems.



Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) Research Lab

The Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) Research Lab is a research laboratory for applied research related to various aspects of integrated circuits. The VLSI lab is with Integrated Circuit Design Center, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Research activities of the VLSI lab cover areas in VLSI design and CAD algorithms for energy efficient high performance microprocessors; power analysis and optimization for CMOS circuits; low power embedded systems design; VLSI design for multimedia; high-speed network and wireless applications.



WIreless Communications Integrated Circuits Laboratory (WIC2L)

Research in our group covers a wide range of topics in analog, RF, and mixed-signal integrated circuits and systems. The main emphasis is on innovations in system architecture and circuit implementation for wireless communications in RF and mm-Wave frequencies. Our designs focus on CMOS implementation with low voltage, low power, and high integration level with minimum off-chip components. Our strength is on novel design techniques for RF and mm-Wave fully-integrated frequency synthesizers, VCOs, and frequency dividers, and frequency multipliers. In terms of system integration, we have designed and demonstrated single-chip receivers/transmitters/transceivers for various standards and applications, including GSM, TV Tuners, UWB, WCDMA/WLAN, software-defined radio (SDR), RFID, IoT, and biomedical electronics.



Wireless-Communication Laboratory

From baseband and RF circuits to microelectronics operating at 50GHz, the WCL is equipped to perform circuit, device, antenna and channel measurements. The laboratory's goal is to provide a full set of facilities for developing high-frequency circuits and systems, and to foster an environment where systems engineering, circuit design and device fabrication cooperate at many levels.


The laboratory is equipped with several Sun workstations and PC's to perform electromagnetic analysis of planar integrated circuits and antennas (Sonnet), VLSI tools (Cadence, Synopsys) microwave and traditional SPICE linear and nonlinear circuit simulations (Agilent ADS, Ansoft HFSS, Synopsys HSPICE), systems simulation and design (SPW, MATLAB) and device parameter extraction (Agilent ICCAP).


Development systems

The results of simulations are used to realize actual circuits and systems. For example, SPW systems simulation can directly generate DSP code, which can be utilized with the laboratory's TMS320 DSP development system to build baseband processing circuits. Such simulations can also result in rapid development of FPGA's via Xilinx. These can be then mounted on high-speed printed circuit boards produced inside the laboratory using precision printed circuit board machining equipment driven by ORCAD. This equipment is also well suited for producing high-frequency circuits and antennas designed and simulated using Sonnet and Series IV.

Measurement equipment

In addition to this, the laboratory offers a wide range of frequency- and time-domain measurement possibilities for characterizing high-speed circuits, antennas, devices and radio channels. Equipment includes 26GHz spectrum analyzer, several network analyzers with capabilities up to 50GHz, a vector signal analyzer, 6-path fading simulator, communication signal analyzers, high-speed analog and digitizing scopes, noise parameter extraction system, and numerous pulse and signal generators. These can be used together with a high-frequency probe station and a membrane probe card in order to perform on-wafer RFIC/MMIC measurements. The laboratory has an anechoic chamber for performing antenna measurements and EMC testing.


Virtual Lab

ECE Cloud

The ECE Cloud service is to provide the computing resources for faculty and students. It shares the similar technology with ITSC virtual barn service.

Challenges for supporting research computing

  • Satisfying the varied and sometimes conflicting requirements of different research groups
  • Showing the value of centralized IT resources against buying isolated equipment or outsourcing to a public provider of infrastructure
  • Scale up with a limited budget

Virtualization in Research Computing

  • Provide multi-tenant research computing capabilities – including high performance, high availability
  • vMotion can mitigate any downtime that would normally be required for hardware upgrades or maintenance
  • DRS looks for optimal distribution of CPU and memory and uses vMotion to balance VMs dynamically across physical hosts.

Application of the ECE Cloud Service

If you have any questions regarding to the ECE Cloud Service, please email to