ACS spoke to Prof. Akinwande on his development of electronic devices that rely on atom-thin sheets known as two-dimensional (2-D) materials.
Associated Research Groups
The Solid-State Electronics area (SSE) within Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) focuses on the development and improvement of electronic, optoelectronic and micro- and nano-electromechanical devices for a variety of applications. Device examples include transistors for nano-CMOS and post-CMOS logic, analog, and mix-signal applications; photodetectors, photodiodes and lasers, and optical interconnects for short- and long-range communication; chemical and biological sensors for medical and defense applications; and solar cells. Material systems include unstrained and strained "conventional" column IV and III-V semiconductors, organics and polymers, and novel materials such as graphene, as well as appropriate insulators such as silicon dioxide and high-dielectric-permittivity ("high-k") materials.
Texas ECE professor Ananath Dodabalapur is a part of a team that recently was awarded a grant of $2 million over the next four years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research and develop thin, flexible semiconductors that might eventually lead to bendable computer screens and wearable electronics.
Texas ECE graduate student Yao-Feng Chang and Prof. Jack Lee have received the 2015 Best Student Paper Award from the IEEE International Symposium on Next-Generation Electronics (ISNE) Conference.
Ray T. Chen, professor in the school’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his team, developed a new method and demonstrated a flexible photonic crystal cavity which can be bent to a curvature of 5 mm radius without sacrificing the performance.
Prof. Deji Akinwande has created the first transistors out of silicene, the world’s thinnest silicon material. This new “wonder material” could make computers and other electronics more efficient.
Prof. Ananth Dodabalapur along with researchers at Northwestern University have demonstrated a new method to improve the reliability and performance of transistors and circuits based on carbon nanotubes.
UT ECE professor Emanuel Tutuc and graduate student Kayoung Lee have developed a novel device structure that can measure the level of electrons in graphene bilayers.
Prof. Seth Bank has been awarded a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) Award for his work on "Optical characterization of semiconductors and metal-semiconductor nanocomposites."
Prof. Sanjay Banerjee has been named the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award. Prof. Banerjee was recognized "for contributions to column-IV MOSFETs and related materials processing."
UT ECE alumnus Hari Nair and his PhD advsisor Prof. Seth Bank received the best paper award at the 71st Device Research Conference (DRC) for their paper “3.4 µm Diode Lasers Employing Al-Free GaInAsSb/GaSb MQW Active Regions at 20°C.” The DRC is cosponsored by the IEEE Electron Device Society and is one of the two outstanding electronic device conferences.
Hari Nair is currently a postdoc at Cornell University. This is the second best paper award he has received for his work with Prof. Bank.
UT ECE professor Sarfraz Khurshid has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his work on "Mera: Memoized Ranged Systematic Software Analyses."
Karun Vijayraghavan, a UT ECE graduate student in Prof. Mikhail Belkin’s group, was recently awarded the outstanding student paper award at the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves (IRMMW) held in Mainz, Germany. IRMMW is the premier conference for terahertz (THz) science and technology and Karun’s work on THz quantum cascade laser sources was selected as the top paper/presentation amongst 133 doctoral student entries.
Flexible electronic circuits would make possible radical new kinds of devices, like water-resistant tablet computers that can be rolled or folded. A group of academic and industry researchers has now demonstrated one of the most important components for this fully flexible future: graphene radio-frequency electronics that are speedy enough to produce, receive, and process telecommunication signals.
Engineers from Prof. Mikhail Belkin’s group at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with Prof. Markus Amann’s group at the Technical University of Munich have demonstrated the first broadly-tunable electrically-pumped semiconductor source of coherent terahertz radiation (or T-rays) that operates at room-temperature.
Prof. Deji Akinwande has received a 3-year grant from the Army Research office (ARO) to fund new material and device research based on silicene, a two-dimensional form of silicon which was invented in the last few years. This 2D silicon promises to be of greater impact than graphene with direct compatibility with existing silicon vlsi technology.
Profs. Sanjay Banerjee, Emanuel Tutuc, Frank Register, Deji Akinwande, Rod Ruoff (ME) and their collaborators have received a five-year, $7.8 million nanoelectronics grant from SRC and NIST.
“The Invisible Man,” H.G. Wells’ 1881 novella, describes invisibility and invisibility cloaking concepts that are currently being explored and discovered at the Cockrell School of Engineering. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering assistant professor Andrea Alú uses Wells’ story as a base for explaining his unique and innovative cloaking technique to make three-dimensional objects invisible. Alú takes “The Invisible Man” approach in his February TedxAustin talk.
UT ECE professor Deji Akinwande and his research group have made a breakthrough with state-of-the-art flexible graphene field-effect transistors with record current densities and the highest power and conversion gain ever. The transistors also show near symmetric electron and hole transport, are the most mechanically robust flexible graphene devices fabricated to date and can be immersed in a liquid without coming to any harm.
The University of Texas at Austin has been selected to receive an $18.5 million grant over the next five years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create and lead a nanosystems engineering research center.
The Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT) will develop innovative nanomanufacturing, nanosculpting and nanometrology systems that could lead to versatile mobile computing devices such as wearable sensors, foldable laptops and rollable batteries.
by Seth Bank
Lab for Advanced Semiconductor Epitaxy (LASE)
UT-ECE’s Professors Sanjay Banerjee, Frank Register, and Emanuel Tutuc along with Prof. Allan MacDonald, UT Physics Department, and ECE graduate student Dharmendar Reddy designed a novel graphene-based BiSFET device that could revolutionize the chip design industry. This device is discussed in more detail in a recent IEEE Spectrum article.
Professors Sanjay Banerjee and Emanuel Tutuc have demonstrated, for the first time, that centimeter-square areas of copper foils can be covered almost entirely with mono-layer graphene bringing this intriguing material one step closer to commercial viability. Graphene, formed with carbon atoms linked together like nanoscopic chicken wire, holds great potential for nanoelectronics. It also shows promise for electrical energy storage, for use in composites, for thermal management, in chemical-biological sensing, and as a new sensing material for ultra-sensitive pressure sensors.
ECE professor, Dean Neikirk, just received funding for a 5-year program to use wireless sensors to identify failing bridges, lower the cost of monitoring those bridges, and improve the safety of new bridges. The $6.8M project addresses a chronic problem for the aging American highway infrastructure. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, deferred maintenance has left one-quarter of the nation’s bridges deficient. Congress mandated 2-year inspections in 1971, but at least 17,000 bridges did not meet the requirement in 2008, including 3 out of every 100 freeway bridges.
Dr. Seth Bank's research into III-V compound semiconductors could cool down your laptop, increase the capacity and speed of fiber-optics, and make solar cells more efficient. Bank hopes to improve III-V compound semiconductors—used for everything from cell phone transistors to LED's in traffic lights—by embedding semi-metal nanoparticles in them.
The tongue can be a powerful tool, but also a highly subjective one. Dr. Dean Neikirk developed what amounts to an artificial tongue. When food companies want to create the same flavor every time, they turn to Neikirk's electronic tongue to analyze liquids and pick out their exact chemical make-up. Neikirk's tongue uses microspheres, tiny sensors that change color when exposed to a specific targets, such as certain kinds of sugars. The result is a system that can't replace the person who says, This tastes good! but can make sure the chemistry of good taste is reliably replicated.
Professor Ray Chen received an Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) award worth $4.75 million. Dr. Chen is the lead in a collaborative project to build a laser system. The system can be used for biomedical sensors and air-borne and space-borne communications.Three other colleges are involved. Fabian Pease at Stanford will work on 3D nano-membrane lithography.