Much of Dr. Kerns’ research has centered on enhancements in the reliability and information integrity of microelectronic circuits. She has worked on a series of techniques to modify materials characteristics, as well as memory and logic design and architectures, to enhance information integrity of microelectronics in electrically harsh environments, such as space systems, nuclear reactors and particle accelerators. She has also worked a great deal on the simulation and verification of the effects of a variety of electrical and environmental insults on integrated circuits, and the design and development of highly reliable circuits and technologies. Overall, this work has lead to dramatic decreases in the vulnerability of CMOS and GaAs digital ICs to information loss, and provided specialized circuit analysis techniques to predict the performance and reliability of advanced integrated circuits. Since coming to Olin, Dr. Kerns has become interested in a complementary problem – the design of ultra-sensitive circuitry for a detector application associated with global security issues.
Dr. Kerns has also researched the design, fabrication and efficiency of an all-silicon optical interconnect technology that could dramatically increase the speed and performance of next-generation microelectronics, worked on the design of improved microelectromechanical accelerometers and rate sensors, and been part of the team to design and fabricate the first diamond transistors, which allow ultra-reliable circuit operations at extreme temperatures.