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# A Direct Method for Charge Collection Probability Computation Using the Reciprocity

Theorem

Oka Kurniawan 1, Chee Chin Tan2, Vincent K. S. Ong2, Erping Li1 and

Colin J. Humphreys3

1
Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR, Singapore 117528

2
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Block S2,

## Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore

3
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, Pembroke Street,

## Cambridge CB23QZ, United Kingdom

Abstract

This paper presents a simple and direct method for computing the charge collection

probability distribution by utilizing the reciprocity theorem. The proposed method simplifies the

charge collection probability computation with the use of the finite difference method. We

demonstrate the method by computing the charge collection probability distribution of two finite

junction configurations, the L-shaped and the U-shaped junction wells and compare the

computational results with that obtained from the analytical expression as well as with

experiment. Good agreements were found. This method has the potential of advancing our

## methods, Photovoltaic cells, Semiconductor materials measurements, Simulation.

Introduction

Charge carrier generation is a physical phenomenon that has been studied since the

discovery of the semiconductor materials. The mechanism to generate charge carriers inside

## semiconductor materials is used in a variety of applications, ranging from photovoltaic devices

and photodetectors, to semiconductor characterization techniques [1, 2]. Once the charge carriers

are generated inside a piece of semiconductor material by means of external excitation, our

interest is then focused on how the excess charge carriers are recombined in the bulk or collected

at the charge collecting junction. The recombination and collection processes usually have direct

## relationships on device performances and device parameters.

In order to generate the charge carriers, an electron in the valance band must gain enough

energy to overcome the energy gap and excites itself into the conduction band while creating a

hole in the valence band . This principle is true regardless of the type of the external

excitation. The external excitation can range from high energy photons to high energy electron

beams. The former is used in semiconductor photovoltaic devices while the latter is normally

used for semiconductor characterization in the scanning electron microscope. When a high

energy photon or electron impinges upon the device or sample, a large number of free carriers are

generated within the generation volume. These free charge carriers will tend to diffuse away from

the generation volume and annihilate themselves through a process known as recombination.

However, if they encounter a built-in electric field at the charge collecting junction, the minority

and the majority carriers are separated from one another, preventing them from recombining.

This separation process is sometimes referred to as a collection process, and this charge collection

## process leads to an induced current flowing in an external circuit .

3
The electron-beam-induced current (EBIC) mode of the scanning electron microscope

(SEM) is a typical example of the aforementioned mechanism, and is one of the most widely used

techniques for semiconductor materials and devices characterization . It is often used in the

characterization of the minority carriers transport properties, defect and failure analysis of

semiconductor devices, p-n junction profiling, and the imaging of recombination sites . The

reasons for the popularity of this technique are its minimum sample preparation requirement, high

lateral resolution, and depth of resolution of the electron beam source, as well as the availability

of well derived analytical expressions of the EBIC profile. The availability of the analytical

expressions enhances the study of the EBIC technique and allows its many applications to

flourish.

The collected current I (x’, z’) is simply the charge collection probability Q (x, z)

convoluted with the generation volume distribution . This can be simply expressed as

## I ( x' , z ' ) = ∫ ∫ Q( x, z ) g ( x − x' , z / R)dxdz (1)

where g(x-x’, z/R) is the two dimensional (2-D) distribution of the generation volume. Different

types of generation volume models were studied and compared in . Therefore, the collected

current and its analytical expression can be easily derived from the charge collection probability

once the generation volume distribution is known. For most configurations, the generation

volume is much smaller than the junction dimensions. For this case a point source charge

generation can be used , and this reduces the normalized collected current to simply the charge

## collection probability Q(x, z).

The analytical expressions for charge collection probability for the two commonly

## adopted collector configurations, the normal-collector configuration and the planar-collector

configuration, have been well derived in the literature [6, 9-14]. However, these analytical

4
expressions are not applicable to devices with finite junction dimensions such as the L-shaped and

the U-shaped junctions as shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 respectively. This is because one has to

assume that the junction is infinitely deep and that the generation volume is near the surface in

order to use the analytical expression for the normal-collector configuration. One also has to

assume that the junction is very narrow in order to use the analytical expression for the planar-

collector configuration. These assumptions may introduce some inaccuracies if these analytical

## expressions are used for devices with finite junction dimensions.

Due to the continuing shrinking of semiconductor devices, the L-shaped and the U-

shaped junction configurations can now be easily found in many semiconductor devices such as

the bipolar transistor, field effect transistor, photodiode, phototransistor and charge-couple

devices . There is a rising interest in the study of the charge collection probability in these

## finite junction configurations [15-17].

Soukup and Ekstrand  derived the analytical expressions for collection both on the

inside and outside of the junction well for the L-shaped junction well. Unfortunately, the derived

analytical expressions contain a non-elementary function, i.e., the Bessel function that introduces

some computational difficulties. Recently, the analytical expressions for charge collection within

the junction well for the L-shaped and the U-shaped junction wells were derived by utilizing the

Green’s function method to solve the continuity equation . Despite the difficulties involved in

the derivation, the resulting analytical expressions involved only elementary functions. The

analytical expressions were found to have a good match with the simulation results.

It was noticed that the charge collection probability for devices with finite junction

dimensions is conventionally derived by solving the continuity equation to obtain the carrier

concentration. The current density is then calculated from the gradient of the carrier

5
concentration. Once the current density is known, the charge collection probability is obtained by

integrating the current density along the collecting junction. The derived analytical solution,

however, is only applicable for a particular collecting junction shape. This is one of the major

## disadvantages of the conventional approach to derive the charge collection probability.

In this paper, a new computational method for calculating the charge collection

probability distribution from within the collecting junction is presented. This method uses the

reciprocity theorem and solves the respective partial differential equation (PDE) by using the

finite difference method. The main advantage of applying the reciprocity theorem is that it allows

a shortcut in the calculation of the charge collection probability to be taken. This is achieved by

bypassing the procedure of having to find the charge carrier density distribution. With the

reciprocity theorem, one can directly obtain the charge collection probability from the

homogenous continuity equation. In this way the computational difficulties of having to find the

carrier density can be avoided and this simplifies the calculation significantly.

The verification of this method is done by computing the charge collection probability

distribution for both the L-shaped and the U-shaped junction wells and comparing them with the

one obtained by using the analytical expressions. In additional to that, the charge collection

probability distribution are convoluted with some generation volume models and compared with

that obtained from experiments in . This method computes the charge collection probability

distribution directly regardless of the shape of the junction, provided that the boundary conditions

of the junction can be defined and that the drift diffusion model is valid.

## The spatial distribution of charge carriers generated in photovoltaic devices is different

from that found in the EBIC technique. However, the technique for computing the charge

collection probability remains unchanged. This is because the charge collection probability is

6
independent of the profile of the charge carriers’ generation volume. Therefore, by convoluting

the results of the proposed method with the generation volume distribution as in (1), the exact

induced current can be obtained. The induced current can refer to either the electron-beam-

## induced current or the photocurrent of photovoltaic devices.

7
Methods

In 2-D, i.e., in the x-z plane, the continuity equation for a point source generation volume

## ∂ 2 q(x, z) ∂ 2 q(x, z) δ(x − x' , z − z' )

+ − λ 2 q(x, z) = −
∂x 2
∂z 2
D (2)

where q is the minority carrier concentration for n-type samples i.e. holes, λ is the reciprocal of

the diffusion length i.e. λ = 1/L, D is the diffusion coefficient and the delta function refers to the

## point source charge generation located at (x’, z’).

The charge collection current Q can be computed if the excess minority carrier

concentration due to the point source charge generation, which can be represented by a Green’s

function G, is known. The charge collection current is the product of the charge collection at the

boundary and the gradient of the Green’s function in the direction normal to the boundary. This is

simply written as

∂G
Q( x, z ) = ∫ Qs • dA (3)
∂n

where Qs is the value of the charge collection probability at the boundary, and ∂G/∂n is the

gradient of G with respect to a vector n that is perpendicular to the boundary dA. This equation

simply means that the charge collection probability is obtained by integrating the flux of the

Green’s function solution at the junction interface. Nevertheless, obtaining the charge collection

probability using (3) is not trivial as it involves multiple integration of the Green’s functions.

The reciprocity theorem [20-22] states that the charge collection current satisfies the

homogeneous version of the continuity equation similar to (2). Thus, the charge collection

## current, Q, obeys the following homogeneous continuity equation

8
∂ 2Q(x, z) ∂ 2Q(x, z)
+ − λ 2Q(x, z) = 0.
∂x 2
∂z 2
(4)

The charge collection current and hence the charge collection probability can be

computed directly by solving the partial differential equation (4) either analytically or with any

numerical technique once the boundary conditions are specified. It can be seen that by applying

the reciprocity theorem, the computation of the charge collection probability is greatly simplified

## as one avoids the need to compute the charge density distribution.

The partial differential equation (4) can be solved numerically by using the finite

difference method. In the finite difference method, the independent continuous variables are

replaced by discrete variables, having its values at each node point that spans the domain of

interest . In a 2-D plane, the grid points where the approximate solutions are calculated are

defined to be

## (xi , z j ) = (ix s , jz s ), where i, j = 1, 2, 3,... (5)

where xs and zs are the horizontal and vertical spacings between the grid points. A good

## approximation can be achieved if the spacings are sufficiently small.

The centered difference approximation which gives a second order approximation for a

f '' (x) ≈ 2
. (6)
xs

## Qi+1, j − 2Qi, j + Qi−1, j Q i, j+1 −2Q i, j + Qi, j −1

2
+ 2
− λ 2Qi, j = 0. (7)
xs zs

Applying (7) all the node points in the domain of interest results in a system of equation that can

## be represented in a matrix form

9
Ax = b (8)

where A contains the coefficients of the equations, x gives the solution of Qi,j and the boundary

## conditions determine the value of b.

The boundary conditions used to solve the partial differential equation (4) are the

surfaces enclosing the semiconductor volume. These include the free-semiconductor surface, the

contact and the charge collecting junction . Q is unity at the charge collection junction

surface and zero at the ohmic contact. It is to be noted that for a high surface recombination

velocity surface, the boundary condition is similar to that in ohmic contact, i.e., equal to zero. At

∂Q
− = SQ
∂n (9)

## where S is the normalized surface recombination velocity, i.e., S = vs /D, vs is surface

recombination velocity and n is normal outward from the surface. The boundary conditions

## become obvious once the physical configuration of the junction is known.

The first derivative in (9) can be estimated by using the backward difference

## approximation , which is a first-order approximation, and is given by

f ( x) − f ( x − xs )
f ' ( x) ≈ .
xs (10)

Therefore, the boundary values at the free semiconductor surface can be easily determined using

(10).

Solving (8) with the given boundary conditions, one can obtain the numerical solution of

Q at each grid point. This can be easily done using any mathematical software such as Matlab.

10
Verification

## A. Verification using analytical expression

Equation (8) is solved with its respective boundary conditions using the Matlab program

on a standard personal computer. The diffusion length of the sample is varied from 1 to 10 µm.

The number of vertical and the horizontal grid are both set to 30.

The analytical charge collection probability profile is computed by using the analytical

expressions derived in . This is done numerically with the use of the Matlab program. The

## infinite summation in the analytical expressions is approximated by truncating the expression

after 600 terms. In practice, the truncation error can be decreased by increasing the number of

terms used, and we found that 600 terms is sufficient for the accuracy which is required in this

work.

The two finite junction geometries that were analyzed in this paper are the L-shaped and

the U-shaped junction wells. The charge collection probability profiles computed using the

proposed method is compared with the analytical profiles in order to verify the validity of the

proposed method.

An L-shaped junction well as shown in Fig. 1, with dimensions of 5 µm for both its

width and height is defined. Uniform mesh spacing is used for this junction well. For simplicity,

## the free-semiconductor surface in this configuration, i.e., x = d and 0 ≤ z ≤ h, is assumed to satisfy

the Neumann boundary condition. This boundary is applied for the case of zero surface

recombination velocity. In practice, this zero surface recombination velocity surface can be

achieved by the etching process. At the top surface, a homogeneous boundary condition was used

because of the assumption that the ohmic contact spans completely over the well. The fringing

11
effect and the possibility of short circuiting the p-n junction are neglected in this case. The

## boundary conditions for such a junction shape are as follows

Q = 1, for x = 0 and 0 ≤ z ≤ h
∂Q
= 0, for x = d and 0 ≤ z ≤ h
∂x (11)
Q = 0, for z = 0 and 0 < x < d
Q = 1, for z = h and 0 ≤ x ≤ d .

## Q(d , z ) = Q(d − xs , z ) . (12)

With these boundary conditions, eqn. (8) can be solved, and the charge collection probability

## distribution of the L-shaped junction well can be obtained directly.

The verification using analytical expression is also done for a U-shaped junction well as

shown in Fig. 2, with dimensions of 5 µm for both its width and height is defined. Uniform mesh

spacing is also used for this case. Similar to the case of the L-shaped junction well, the ohmic

contact is assumed to span completely over the well so that fringing effects and the short

circuiting of the p-n junction are neglected. Thus, the boundary conditions for such a junction

## shape are as follows

Q = 1, for x = 0 and 0 ≤ z ≤ h
Q = 1, for x = d and 0 ≤ z ≤ h
(13)
Q = 0, for z = 0 and 0 < x < d
Q = 1, for z = h and 0 ≤ x ≤ d .

The charge collection probability of the U-shaped junction well is obtained once eqn. (8) is solved

## using the boundary condition defined in eqn. (13).

12
B. Verification using experimental data

The charge collection probability of the L-shaped well with junction depth of 5 µm,

junction width of 16 µm and diffusion length of 10 µm is computed using the proposed method.

We use a uniform fine grid spacing of 0.01 µm and the boundary conditions are applied as

described in (11). A fine grid spacing is chosen so as to preserve the accuracy of the method to

obtain the induced current profile. The induced current profiles are obtained by convoluting the

charge collection probability generated using the proposed method with two generation models:

the uniform sphere and the pear shaped generation volume. These induced current profiles are

then compared with the one obtained experimentally from the L-shaped junction well of the

## TI483 transistor found in .

In the uniform sphere generation volume model, the generation rate inside the sphere is

made constant and uniform, while the generation rate outside the sphere is zero. The radius of the

uniform sphere generation volume used in the simulation is 1 µm and is tangential to the beam

entry surface. The pear-shaped generation volume used in this paper is the one modeled by

## Donolato  and its 2-D distribution g(x, z) is given as

Λ( z / R)  x2 
g ( x, z ) = exp − 2  (14)
2π σR  2σ 

3
σ 2 ( z , R) = 0.36d e 2 + 0.11 z R (15)

## 0.6 + 6.21ξ − 12.4ξ 2 + 5.69ξ 3 ; 0 ≤ ξ ≤ 1.1

Λ (ξ ) =  (16)
 0; ξ > 1.1

where R is the electron range, de is the beam diameter, Λ(ξ) is the normalized depth-dose function

## proposed by Everhart and Hoff  and ξ is equal to z/R.

13
The electron range R used in the simulation is determined based on the parameters of the

uniform sphere generation volume used in  i.e., R is equal to the diameter of the sphere which

is 2 µm. The beam diameter is not given in  and is set to 100 nm in our calculation.

14
Results and Discussions

In order to quantify the advantage of our proposed method, we measured the time taken

to generate the charge collection probability profile of the U-shaped junction well. The following

parameters: h = 5 µm, d = 5 µm and L= 5 µm, and 900 node points are used. These nodes points

are distributed evenly within the region of interest. The time used in the proposed method and the

analytical expression are compared. Our proposed method used 1.513s to complete simulation

while the analytical expression, which involved the summation of 600 terms, used 7.301s. This

shows that the proposed method has shorten the time taken to generate the charge collection

probability profile significantly, i.e., more than 6 times faster than the analytical.

Now, we are ready to discuss the plot of the charge collection probability. Fig. 3 and

Fig. 4 show the charge collection probability distribution in the x-z plane with different minority

carrier diffusion lengths computed using the finite difference method for the L-shaped and U-

shaped junction wells respectively with both the junction width and depth being equal to 5 µm.

It can be seen that the maximum, or the unity charge collection probability, is located at the

collecting junction, and drops to the minimum at the top boundary, which is the ohmic contact.

This is in agreement with our intuitive understanding of how the charge collection probability

should behave.

These results also show that the changes in the charge collection probability distribution

are insignificant for L ≥ 5 µm. This suggests that the effect of the diffusion length is

imperceptible when the diffusion length is about the same dimension as the junction well or

larger. This is in agreement with . This also indicates that the extraction of diffusion length

in devices with finite junction dimension is easier if the junction dimension is larger than the

diffusion length.

15
Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 show the relative difference between the results computed using the

finite difference method and the one computed using the analytical expressions derived in 

for the L-shaped and the U-shaped junction wells at L = 1µm, h = 5 µm and d = 5µm. The

relative difference profile for the other values of minority carrier diffusion lengths have similar

## profiles as those shown in Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 respectively.

The statistical summary of the absolute difference between the 2 results for the L-

shaped and the U-shaped junction wells are tabulated in Table I and Table II respectively. It can

be seen in Table I and Table II that the results computed using the finite difference method has

good agreement with the results computed analytically. The maximum difference between the

computed results is 0.025. The mean absolute difference is about 0.0025 for the L-shaped

junction well and 0.004 for the U-shaped junction well. The slight difference can be explained

by the inaccuracies caused by the approximations used in both methods. It can also be observed

in Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 that the discrepancies between the two methods are more pronounced at the

vertical junction. This may be due to the coarse grid spacing used at that location, which happen

to have a steep charge collection probability gradient. The accuracy in this region can be

improved by increasing the number of grid points at the appropriate locations. The U-shaped

junction well has an extra vertical junction compared to the L-shaped junction well, thus the U-

shaped junction well is expected to have a larger mean value for the absolute difference. This is

## in agreement with the statistical summary in the tables.

Fig. 7 shows the normalized EBIC profiles generated by convoluting the charge

collection probability distribution obtained using the proposed method with the uniform sphere

generation volume and the pear-shaped generation volume. The results agree with the

16
experimental data found in . This validates the use of the proposed method to generate the

## induced current profile once the generation volume distribution is known.

It is to be noted that, with this new method, one only needs to define the junction shape,

which serves as the boundary conditions, and the charge collection probability distribution within

the collecting junction well will be obtained by solving the system of equations. This means that

## this computational method is applicable to junctions of any shape.

17
Conclusion

We have presented a simple and direct method for the computation of charge collection

probability distribution by utilizing the reciprocity theorem and solving the respective partial

differential equations with the use of the finite difference method. This paper discussed how the

proposed method simplifies the charge collection probability computation and avoids the

## computational difficulties encountered in conventional approaches. This model is correct as long

as the drift-diffusion model is valid. One of the major advantages of this new proposed method is

that it is readily applicable to any other junction well configuration, provided that the boundary

## conditions for that particular junction well are defined.

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19
Figures

## Figure 2. U-shaped geometry junction well

20
Figure 3. Charge collection probability distribution in the x-z plane computed using the finite

difference method for the L-shaped junction well with h = 5µm and d = 5µm. (a) L = 1 µm, (b)

## L = 3 µm, (c) L = 10 µm.

21
Figure 4. Charge collection probability distribution in the x-z plane computed using the finite

difference method for the U-shaped junction well with h = 5µm and d = 5µm. (a) L = 1 µm, (b)

## L = 3 µm, (c) L = 10 µm.

22
Figure 5. Relative difference in the charge collection probability distribution with respect to the

distribution computed using analytical solutions in the x-z plane for the L-shaped junction well

## with h = 5µm, d = 5µm, and L=1µm

Figure 6. Relative difference in the charge collection probability distribution with respect to the

distribution computed using the analytical solutions in the x-z plane for the U-shaped junction

## well with h = 5µm, d = 5µm, and L=1µm

23
Figure 7. The normalized EBIC profiles of an L-shaped junction well of h = 5 µm, d = 16 µm,

and L = 10 µm, in comparison with the data obtained from . The uniform sphere generation

volume is of radius 1 µm while the R and d e used in the Donolato’s model on the generation

## volume model are 2 µm and 100nm respectively

24
Tables

Table I. Statistic summary table for the absolute difference in the computed charge collection

probability distribution with respect to the analytical expression for the L-shaped junction well

L = 1 µm L = 3 µm L = 10 µm
Mean 0.002453 0.002559 0.002585

## Standard 0.003453 0.003465 0.003467

deviation
Maximum 0.024649 0.025036 0.025077

## Minimum 9.32x10-8 4.48x10-6 4.15x10-8

Table II. Statistic summary table for the absolute difference in the computed charge collection

probability distribution with respect to the analytical expression for the U-shaped junction well

L = 1 µm L = 3 µm L = 10 µm
Mean 0.004118 0.004076 0.004076

## Standard 0.004339 0.004418 0.004426

deviation
Maximum 0.024668 0.025058 0.0251

## Minimum 8.26 x10-7 4.23x10-6 7.7x10-6

25
Author Biographies
Oka Kurniawan received the B.Eng. degree in electronics and the Ph.D.
degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in 2004 and 2008, respectively.
Currently, he is with the Institute of High Performance Computing (A∗STAR), Singapore, as a Research Engineer.
Since 2004, he has been working on the parameter extraction of semiconductor materials and devices using the
electron beam-induced current (EBIC). His research interests include parameters extraction from semiconductor
devices and the modeling of the physical properties of the EBIC measurements, modeling and simulation of
nanodevices, particularly for optoelectronic applications.

Chee Chin Tan received the B. Eng degree (with honors) in electrical and electronic engineering from Nanyang
Technological University, Singapore, in 2008,
Upon his graduation, he joined School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological
Univerisity as Research Student. He is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree. Since 2008, he has been working on
the semiconductor materials and devices characterization with the use of EBIC technique. His research interests
include the application and the modeling of electron beam induced current.

Vincent K. S. Ong received the B.Eng. degree (with honors) in electrical engineering and the M.Eng. and Ph.D.
degrees in electronics, from National University of Singapore, in 1981, 1988, and 1995, respectively.
He held a variety of positions in the manufacturing and testing of integrated circuits with Hewlett Packard
Company, both in Singapore and the U.S., for 11 years between 1981 and 1992. In 1992, he was with the Faculty
of Engineering, National University of Singapore, to manage a research center, and to work on research relating
to electron beam effects on integrated circuits. Since 1997, he has been with Nanyang Technological University,
Singapore, where he was first a Senior Lecturer with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and
where he is currently an Associate Professor.

Erping Li (S’91–M’92–SM’01–F’08) received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Sheffield Hallam
University, Sheffield, U.K., in 1992.
From 1989 to 1992, he was a Research Associate/Fellow in the School of Electronic and Information Technology at
Sheffield Hallam University. Between 1993 and 1999, he was a Senior Research Fellow, Principal Research Engineer, and
the Technical Director at the Singapore Research Institute and Industry. Since 2000, he has been with the Singapore
National Research Institute of High Performance Computing, where he is currently Head of the Advanced Electronic
Systems and Electromagnetics Department. He is also a Guest Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China, and a
Guest Professor of Peking University, Beijing, China. He authored or coauthored over 150 papers published in the referred international journals
and conferences, and five book chapters. He holds and has filed a number of patents at the US patent office. His research interests include fast
and efficient computational electromagnetics, micro/nano-scale integrated circuits and electronic package, electromagnetic compatibility, signal
integrity and nanotechnology.
Dr. Li is a Fellow of IEEE, and a Fellow of the Electromagnetics Academy. He was the recipient of 2006 IEEE EMC Technical Achievement
Award, the 2007 Singapore IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award, and the prestigious Changjiang (Yangtze) Chair Professorship
Award from the Ministry of Education in China in 2007. He is an elected IEEE EMC Distinguished Lecturer for 2007 to 2008. He is currently an
Associate Editor for the IEEE MICROWAVE ANDWIRELESS COMPONENTS LETTERS and IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EMC. He has been a Technical
Chair, Session Chair for many international conferences. He was the President for the International Zurich Symposium on EMC held in 2006 and
2008 in Singapore, the General Chair for the 2008 Asia-Pacific EMC Symposium and the Chairman of the IEEE EMC Singapore Chapter for
2005–2006. He has been invited to give numerous invited talks and keynote speeches at various international conferences and forums.

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