Engineer to study nano in silicon semiconductors

Mar 15, 2006

A University of Texas at Austin microelectronics researcher has received $500,000 from the Department of Defense to research ways to use nanotechnology to overcome hurdles that might halt the march of the silicon-based integrated circuit.

The money will be used to buy new equipment, provide research assistantships to undergraduate and graduate students and help fund a work force development project to train semiconductor technicians with Austin Community College (ACC), said Dr. Sanjay Banerjee, director of the Microlectronics Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin and a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering.

“With the University of Texas and a large high tech sector in my district, I am going to do everything I can to support their efforts in cutting edge research and technological innovation,” said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, who represents the 10th District of Texas.

Banerjee said McCaul has proven to be a staunch supporter of research and higher education in Texas, and an effective spokesman for Texas in Congress.

“The Microelectronics Research Center is extremely grateful to him for this critical support at a time of dwindling research dollars,” Banerjee said.

The roadblocks to continued progress of the silicon-based processor have been identified by the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, an international cooperative effort of the global semiconductor manufacturers and suppliers, government organizations, consortia and universities. Banerjee is on this advisory committee.

Conventional semiconductor technology has grown from putting dozens of transistors on a circuit to putting a billion on them today. That has increased their speed and capacity for computation. However, the physical capacity of the materials and methods used to design and manufacture these processors are reaching their limits. This workhorse technology for making integrated circuits is called complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology.

Rather than replace CMOS, Banerjee proposes integrating it with compatible nanoelectronic devices, materials and processes that will extend the technology’s life.

Banerjee and the Microelectronics Research Center (MRC) will work to develop new structures and materials that will reduce power dissipation in integrated circuits, increase speed and achieve higher packing density. Also, they will work on novel interconnect devices to make sure that high-performance circuits aren’t bottlenecked as they exchange information with other computer devices. The MRC will test the devices and materials by running simulations.

Banerjee said a portion of the $500,000 would go toward the MRC’s technician training program with ACC. The trainees get a stipend for a one-year internship in the final year of their study.

“We would like to continue this program and extend it to other schools in central Texas,” Banerjee said.

Source: University of Texas at Austin

Explore further: NIST offers electronics industry two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Comet Siding Spring whizzes past Mars (Update)

21 hours ago

A comet the size of a small mountain and about as solid as a pile of talcum powder whizzed past Mars on Sunday, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter.

Secrets of dinosaur ecology found in fragile amber

3 hours ago

Ryan McKellar's research sounds like it was plucked from Jurassic Park: he studies pieces of amber found buried with dinosaur skeletons. But rather than re-creating dinosaurs, McKellar uses the tiny pieces ...

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

3 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

Recommended for you

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas

20 hours ago

Researchers of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have developed the new BiogàsPlus, a technology which allows ...

Quantum effects in nanometer-scale metallic structures

22 hours ago

Plasmonic devices combine the 'super speed' of optics with the 'super small' of microelectronics. These devices exhibit quantum effects and show promise as possible ultrafast circuit elements, but current ...

Research unlocks potential of super-compound

22 hours ago

Researchers at The University of Western Australia's have discovered that nano-sized fragments of graphene - sheets of pure carbon - can speed up the rate of chemical reactions.

User comments : 0