January 2015 edition – Vol.7 no.1

FRQNT Strategic cluster grant renewal
On October 28th ReSMiQ filed its application for renewal of the strategic cluster grant to the FRQNT. After carefull evaluation of our application, the FRQNT needed to meet with the leadership of our center and set up  visiting committee. The meeting was held on January 29 2015 at the Montréal offices of the FRQNT. Professor Sawan, director of the ReSMiQ, presented our center with the support of colleagues and partners. We wish to thank them for their presence as a show of confidence to the center, its importance and its impact on scientific research in the field of microsystems in Québec. Our warmest thanks to Réjean Fontaine from Université de Sherbrooke, Daniel Massicotte from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Wessam Ajib from Université du Québec à Montréal, Gilles Savard from Polytechnique Montréal, François Verdy-Goyette from the Centre d’innovation en microélectronique du Québec (CIMEQ) and Nicolas Laflamme-Mayer from Dolphin Technologies. The final decision will be known in April 2015. We also thank Marie-Yannick Laplante, Eric Legua, Arnaldo Mendez and André Pettigrew for the sustained effort they provided to help produce an application of quality.

New themes and topics
In order for ReSMiQ’s research program to remain among the most innovative, the Executive Committee periodically updates the research themes and topics. Such a revision was conducted  as part of our recent grant application to the FRQNT. Given the expertise and research activities of some members, the committee invited them to take the role of co-chairs for each themes to oversee specific topics, to analyze their relevance and suggest new ones. The management of ReSMiQ like to thank them for their involvement in the center and their precious collaboration. Do not hesitate to send us any comments and relevant information regarding this research program. Here is the list of new themes and topics as well as the researchers who have agreed to co-chair them.

  • Theme 1: Microsystems modeling, simulation and design methodologies.
    Co-chairs: Claude Thibeault (ETS), Otmane Ait Mohamed (Concordia)
  • Theme 2: Microsystems implementation and validation
    Co-chairs: Réjean Fontaine (USherb), Mounir Boukadoum (UQAM)
  • Theme 3: Photonics, microfluidics and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
    Co-chairs: Ricardo Izquierdo (UQAM), Guchuan Zhu (EPM)
  • Theme 4: Microsystems for biomedical applications
    Co-chairs: Mohamad Sawan (EPM), Benoit Gosselin (ULaval)
  • Theme 5: Microsystems for emerging technologies
    Co-chairs: Yvon Savaria (EPM), Jean-François Boland (ETS)
  • Theme 6: Microsystems for information technology and telecommunications
    Co-chairs: Daniel Massicotte (UQTR), Sébastien Roy (USherb)

2015 ReSMiQ’s annual symposium
Once again we will hold our annual symposium during the ACFAS conference, on May 26, 2015. This year the conference will move to Rimouski at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR). Our program will feature guest speakers as well as our customary scientific poster competition. We are now accepting entries for posters until February 16, 2015. Considering that it will take place far from Montréal we will organize transportation and lodging.  More details will be available soon.


– Dr. Beltrame from Polytechnique Montréal received an ENGAGE grant from NSERC with Pleiade Robotics.

– Dr. Sawan from Polytechnique Montréal offered a tutorial at ICM’14 (Qatar).
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– Dr. Massicotte from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières offered a keynote speech at the Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC2014).
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– Dr. Martel from Polytechnique Montréal was bestowed the title of Fellow by the IEEE
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– Dr. Sawan and Savaria from Polytechnique Montréal received  a STRATEGIC grant from NSERC for “An Integrated Smart Power Harvesting Scheme from High Throughput Data Lines”.

– Dr. Blaquière and Dr. Izquierdo from université du Québec à Montréal, and Dr. Hamoui (posth) from McGill University received the best paper award of the 2013 IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology.

– Dr. Miled from Université Laval supervise Adnane Kara (M.Sc.) and Jessy Mathault who received the Brian L. Barge Award for excellence in microsystems integration at the CMC Texpo’14.

– Dr. Beltrame from Polytechnique Montréal is the general chair of the NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems
(AHS) 2015.
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– Dr. Massicotte from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières organized the 2nd GREI-RIE symposium – Smart City. Over 75 participants were present at this event.

– Dr. Sawan from Polytechnique Montréal is the general co-chair of the International Symposium on Bioelectronics and Bioinformatics (ISBB’15) to be held in Beijing, China, on October 14-17, 2015.





ReSMiQ in collaboration with the Montréal Chapter of the IEEE Solid State Circuits Society (IEEE-SSCS) and the Montréal chapter of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (IEEE-CASS) invites you to attend the following seminar to be held on February 12, 2015, at 10:30 am at Polytechnique Montréal.

Philipp Häfliger, Nanoelectronics Group , University of Oslo, Norway
Microelectronics for the Body and for Space: The Nanoelectronics Group at the University of Oslo
Abstract and bio

Financial support and Scholarships

– Financial support for undergraduate students
A financial support of 2000$ for 3 month starting May 1st for undergraduate students supervised by a member of ReSMiQ.
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SIGNAL is the main monthly information medium of the Microsystems Strategic Alliance of Québec (ReSMiQ). This newsletter aims to be an active link between the members of ReSMiQ and all individuals who have an interest in research and innovation in microsystems. We commit ourselves to promote in it our members’ research and increase ReSMiQ’s visibility.

ReSMiQ is a group of researchers in an interuniversity research center that can count on the support of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) and ten (10) Quebec universities involved in microsystems research.

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Call for participation

32nd IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE),
from May 5 to 8, 2019, Edmonton, Canada.

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2019 International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS),
from May 26 to 29, 2019, Sapporo, Japan.

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17th IEEE International NEWCAS Conference (NEWCAS),
from June 23 to 26, 2019, Munich, Germany.
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The 32nd International Conference on Industrial, Engineering & Other Applications of Applied Intelligent Systems (IAE-AIE)
from July 9 to 11, 2019, Graz, Austria.

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62nd IEEE International Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems (MWSCAS),
from August 4 to 7, 2019, Dallas, United States.

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Call for contributions

XXXIV Conference on design of circuits and integrated systems (DCIS),
from November 20 to 22, 2019, Bilbao, Spain.

Submission deadline: April 30, 2019.
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The Conference on Design and Architectures for Signal and Image Processing (DASIP)
from October 16 to 18, 2019, Montréal, Canada.

Submission deadline: May 17, 2019.
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IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference (BioCAS2019),
from October 17 to 19, 2019, Nara, Japan.

Submission deadline: June 10, 2019.
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Prof. Réjean Fontaine
Université de Sherbrooke
Member of ReSMiQ since 2008


Réjean Fontaine received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada. He has held various positions as electronics engineer, research assistant or director in Québec institutions such as SMIS, MicroSM, Astroflex inc., Advance Molecular Imaging, Gamma Medica and Trifoil inc. He is currently Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Université de Sherbrooke, Chairman of the scanner design group in the Research Group in Medical Equipments of the Université de Sherbrooke (GRAMS). He was the Chair holder of the medical imaging instrumentation design and now manage an important collaborative research and development (CRD) grant from NSERC. He has been the recipient of various awards and distinctions such as the prestigious Manning innovation award in 2012. He is the author or co-author of two patents and several papers in journals and scientific conferences. Professor Fontaine carried out the technology transfer of a positron emission tomograph (LabPET) dedicated to small animals to the company Advanced Molecular Imaging inc. which now occupies about 30% market preclinical scanners.

More information

Below is a selection of publications in recent years followed by representative work.

Corbeil Therrien, B.-L. Bérubé, S. Charlebois, R. Lecomte, R. Fontaine, J.-F. Pratte, Modeling of Single Photon Avalanche Diode Array, IEEE TNS V61(1), p 14-22, 2014.

M. Bergeron, J. Cadorette, M.A. Tétrault, J.F. Beaudoin, J.D. Leroux, R. Fontaine, R. Lecomte, Imaging performance of LabPET APD-based digital PET scanners for pre-clinical research, Physics in Medicine and Biology, V59(3), p 661-678, February 7, 2014.

Thibaudeau, J.D. Leroux, R. Fontaine, R. Lecomte, Fully 3D iterative CT reconstruction using polar coordinates, Medical Physics, v 40, n 11, p 111904 (12 pp.), Nov. 2013

L. Njejimana, M.-A. Tétrault, L. Arpin, A. Burghgraeve, P. Maillé, J.-C. Lavoie, C. Paulin, K. Koua, H. Bouziri, S. Panier, M. Ben Attouch, M. Abidi, J. Cadorette, J.-F. Pratte, R. Lecomte, R.Fontaine, Design of a Real-time FPGA-based DAQ Architecture for the LabPET II, an APD-based Scanner Dedicated to Small Animal PET Imaging, IEEE TNS V60 (5), p 3633-3638, 2013

Thibaudeau, P. Bérard, M.A. Tétrault, J.D. Leroux, M. Bergeron, R. Fontaine, R. Lecomte, Towards Truly Combined PET/CT Imaging using PET Detectors and Photon Counting CT with Iterative Reconstruction Implementing Physical Detector Response, Medical Physics, V39(9), p.5697-708, 2012.

H. C. Yousefzadeh, R. Lecomte, R. Fontaine, Contribution of Photon Statistics and Shaping Filter in Crystal Identification of PET phoswich detectors, IEEE TNS, V59(3), p. 513-9, June 2012.

Prof. Mohamad Sawan
Polytechnique Montréal
Member of ReSMiQ since 1992
Director since 1999

sawansMohamad Sawan received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Polytechnique Montreal. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Smart Medical Devices and is the director of the Microsystems Strategic Alliance of Quebec (ReSMiQ) and the Polystim Neurotechnologies Laboratory. He serves on numerous international committees and is the Associate Editor or the Editor-in-chief of specialized journals of IEEE in the fields of electrical and biomedical engineering. He is the founder of the international conference IEEE-NEWCAS and the co-founder of the international conferences IEEE-BioCAS and IEEE-ICECS. He is the general chair of the IEEE ISCAS-2016 to be held in Montreal the next year. Professor Sawan has filed 15 patents, is the author or co-author of over 700 papers in scientific journals and conferences, of three books and several book chapters, and has presented over 200 plenary lectures in several cities throughout the world. Professor Sawan received the Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal cord research, the ACFAS - Bombardier Medal of Merit, the American University of Science and Technology Medal of Merit, and the ACFAS - Jacques-Rousseau Award. He is Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and Fellow of the Engineering Institutes of Canada. He is also Officer of the National Order of Quebec.

More information

Below is a selection of publications in recent years followed by representative work.

Mendez, A., Sawan, M., “A DSP for Sensing the Bladder Volume Through Afferent Neural Pathways”, IEEE-Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2014, pp. 552-564.

Judy, M., Sodagar, A., Lotfi, R., Sawan, M., “Nonlinear Signal-Specific ADC for Efficient Neural Recording in Brain-Machine Interfaces”, IEEE-Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2014, pp. 371-381.

Hached, S., Loutochin, O., Corcos, J., M., Sawan, M. “A Novel Remotely-controlled Artificial Urinary Sphincter: A Retro-compatible Device”, IEEE-Trans. on Mechatronics, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2014, pp. 1352-1362.

Krouchev N., Danner, S., Vinet, A., Rattay, F., Sawan M., “Energy-optimal Electrical-stimulation Pulses Shaped by the Least-Action Principle”, PLoS One, Vol. 9, No. 3, e90480, On line, 2014.

Kamrani, E., Lesage, F., Sawan, M., “Low-Noise, High-Gain TIA Integrated with CMOS APD for Low-Intensity Light Detection in Near-Infrared Spectroscopy”, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2014, pp. 258-269.

Mirzaei, M., Tariqus-Salam, M., Nguyen, D., Sawan, M., “A Fully-Asynchronous Low-Power Implantable Seizure Detector for Self-Triggering Treatment", IEEE-Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, Vol. 7, No. 5, 2013, pp. 563-572.

Mounaim, F., Sawan, M., “Toward A Fully Integrated Neurostimulator with Inductive Power Recovery Front-End”, IEEE-Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, Vol. 6, No. 4, 2012, pp. 309-318.

Miled, A., Sawan, M., “Dielectrophoresis-based integrated Lab-on-chip for Nano and Micro-particles manipulation and Capacitive detection”, IEEE-Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, Vol. 6, no. 2, 2012, pp. 120-132.


Imaging performance of LabPET APD-based digital PET scanners for pre-clinical research

Mélanie Bergeron, Jules Cadorette, Marc-André Tétrault, Jean-François Beaudoin, Jean-Daniel Leroux, Réjean Fontaine and Roger Lecomte

The LabPET is an avalanche photodiode (APD) based digital PET scanner with quasi-individual detector read-out and highly parallel electronic architecture for high-performance in vivo molecular imaging of small animals. The scanner is based on LYSO and LGSO scintillation crystals (2×2×12/14 mm3), assembled side-by-side in phoswich pairs read-out by an APD. High spatial resolution is achieved through the individual and independent read-out of an individual APD detector for recording impinging annihilation photons. The LabPET exists in three versions, LabPET4 (3.75 cm axial length), LabPET8 (7.5 cm axial length) and LabPET12 (11.4 cm axial length). This paper focuses on the systematic characterization of the three LabPET versions using two different energy window settings to implement a high-efficiency mode (250–650 keV) and a high-resolution mode (350–650 keV) in the most suitable operating conditions. Prior to measurements, a global timing alignment of the scanners and optimization of the APD operating bias have been carried out. Characteristics such as spatial resolution, absolute sensitivity, count rate performance and image quality have been thoroughly investigated following the NEMA NU 4-2008 protocol. Phantom and small animal images were acquired to assess the scanners' suitability for the most demanding imaging tasks in preclinical biomedical research. The three systems achieve the same radial FBP spatial resolution at 5 mm from the field-of-view center: 1.65/3.40 mm (FWHM/FWTM) for an energy threshold of 250 keV and 1.51/2.97 mm for an energy threshold of 350 keV. The absolute sensitivity for an energy window of 250–650 keV is 1.4%/2.6%/4.3% for LabPET4/8/12, respectively. The best count rate performance peaking at 362 kcps is achieved by the LabPET12 with an energy window of 250–650 keV and a mouse phantom (2.5 cm diameter) at an activity of 2.4 MBq ml?1. With the same phantom, the scatter fraction for all scanners is about 17% for an energy threshold of 250 keV and 10% for an energy threshold of 350 keV. The results obtained with two energy window settings confirm the relevance of high-efficiency and high-resolution operating modes to take full advantage of the imaging capabilities of the LabPET scanners for molecular imaging applications.

Fig. 1. Volume-rendered images of mice (ventral view) scanned using different parameters


A DSP for Sensing the Bladder Volume through Afferent Neural Pathways

Mendez, A., Sawan, M.

Refractive urinary dysfunction in individuals suffering from neurogenic bladder syndrome can be treated with implanted neurostimulators that restore, to some degree, the control of the urinary bladder. A sensor capable of relaying feedback from bladder activity to the implanted neurostimulator is required to implement a closed-loop system to improve overall implant efficacy and minimize deleterious effects to neural tissue caused by continuous electrical stimulation. We propose here a method that allows real-time estimation of bladder volume from the primary afferent activity of bladder mechanoreceptors. Our method was validated with data acquired from anesthetized rats in acute experiments. It was possible to qualitatively estimate three states of bladder fullness in 100% of trials when the recorded afferent activity exhibited a Spearman’s correlation coefficient of 0.6 or better. Furthermore, we could quantitatively estimate bladder volume, and also its pressure, using timeframes of properly chosen duration. The mean volume estimation error was 5.8 ± 3.1%. The bladder volume/pressure estimation method was deployed in a custom-logic DSP that carries out real-time detection and discriminates extracellular action potentials, also known as on-the-fly spike sorting (Fig. 2). Next, the DSP performs a decoding method to estimate either three qualitative levels of fullness or the bladder volume value, depending on the selected output mode. The proposed DSP was tested using both realistic synthetic signals with a known ground-truth, and real signals from bladder afferent nerves recorded during acute experiments with animal models. The DSP performance showed that an implantable bladder sensor is feasible. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the feasibility of such a device performing on-chip full detection, discrimination and decoding of neural activity is demonstrated.

Fig. 2. System level architecture of the proposed implantable DSP for monitoring the bladder. Top: the neural signal processing flow.