Dr Themis Prodromakis
 
EPSRC FELLOW / Project Coordinator

A brief biosketch

Themis is a Reader in Nanoelectronics and EPSRC Fellow affiliated with the Nano Research Group and the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre of ECS at University of Southampton. He is also a Honorary Research Fellow within Imperial College London. He previously held a Corrigan Fellowship in Nanoscale Technology and Science, funded by the Corrigan Foundation and LSI Inc., within the Centre for Bio-inspired Technology at Imperial College and a Lindemann Trust Visiting Fellowship in EECS UC Berkeley. Dr Prodromakis is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a Member of the INE and the IET, and also serves as member of the BioCASNanoelectronics and Gigascale Systems as well as the Sensory Systems Technical Committees of the IEEE Circuits & Systems Society. His background is in Electron Devices and micro/nano-electronics processing techniques, with his research being focused on bio-inspired devices for biomedical applications. 

 


PhD research

Dr Prodromakis graduated in 2003 from Lincoln University, received his MSc in Microelectronic Systems and Telecommunications from University of Liverpool in 2004 and was awarded his PhD from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London in 2008. His PhD thesis investigated the wave-guiding properties of laminar substrates consisting of metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) layers, proving that under certain conditions they can support slow-wave modes that resemble high-K dielectrics. Through this work Dr Prodromakis embraced unique skills from diverse disciplines, ranging from materials and physics to engineering sciences, that allowed him to pursue research within the ICT realm, by virtue of adventuring various micro/nano fabrication techniques for establishing electron devices with unconventional properties. More specifically, he pioneered numerous methods for introducing defects in a very controlled manner to engineer the polarisability of substrates. This concept was then exploited for improving the performance while reducing the physical dimensions of monolithic passives, such as patch antennas, distributed filters and delay lines. It was demonstrated that these prototypes, although physically small, are capable of exhibiting unprecedented electrical behaviours. Through this work Dr Prodromakis established himself in the RF and Microwave community and more specifically in IEEE MTT, Electron Devices and CAS societies. At the same time he served as a member of the EU Network of Excellence on RF MEMS and RF Microsystems where he contributed into several projects in the field.

Postdoctoral research

After his PhD, Dr Prodromakis has leveraged and further expanded on his interdisciplinary expertise and collaborations to facilitate research within the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBE) at Imperial College London. Dr Wilfred Corrigan, CEO of Fairchild Semiconductors (later Intel) and the founder of LSI Logic, an internationally leading designer and manufacturer of storage semiconductors, offered him a Research Fellowship in Nanoscale Science and Technology within the Centre for Bio-inspired Technology (CBiT) at Imperial. This fellowship allowed Dr Prodromakis to establish a wide number of bio-inspired devices and technologies for mimicking biological functions as well as linking these with electronics. This work was essentially targeted on addressing the following two questions:

  1. How can we efficiently link biological functions to engineering systems to further advance the monitoring and treatment of various medical conditions?
  2. What can we learn from biology that is implementable in standard micro/nano-electronic technologies, which could provide substantial advantage over the current state-of-the-art devices/technologies?

Showcase examples include: memristive elements, integrated CMOS chemical sensors, cell-culture platforms, biocompatible encapsulation techniques and materials, advanced neural interfaces and ion-channel mimetic transducers. To facilitate this unconventional research, he employed commercially available CMOS technologies along with customized CMOS processes that he innately optimized. The IP of distinct parts of his work has been secured (4 patents granted), with different aspects been exploited via UK industrial partners and global foundries.

His hands on experience on fabricating and testing electronic devices by utilising intentionally planted deficiencies led to his latest involvement with memristors. In 2010 he was awarded a 3-month Knowledge Transfer Secondment (KTS) by the EPSRC, working with NXP Semiconductors to test the potential of nanoscale Resistive RAM elements as a successor of existing memory technologies. Being fascinated by this research field, he decided to spend a year as a Visiting Fellow in EECS UC Berkeley, supported by a Lindemann Trust Fellowship, where he closely collaborated with Prof. Leon Chua, the leading scientist in the field of neural networks, cellular automata and the inventor of memristors. 

Since September 2011, Dr Prodromakis is co-ordinating an interdisciplinary consortium (PNEUMA), comprising five leading European institutions (ICL, ETH, TU-Graz, CNRS-LAAS and CNM-IMSE), for establishing biophysically realistic neuromorphic systems with autonomous capabilities based on memristor technology. He is currently managing a research team comprising seven full-time post-doctoral researchers with complementing expertise ranging from electrochemistry and materials science to electron devices and analogue IC design. His research draws significant international interest that is ascertained by the supplementing of his team by MSc and occasional visiting PhD students, who assist with modelling and application related tasks of his on-going research on bio-inspired and memristor-specific technologies.