Researchers at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology are using nanotechnology to design materials that increase the efficiency of semiconductors and other electronic equipment.
The goal of this multidisciplinary research is the creation of advanced nanostructures with a wide range of application. Some Notre Dame scientists are developing better methods for producing graphene, a carbon substance that can replace silicon in ultrafast transistors. Others are studying how the spin of electrons in nanomaterial molecules can be used to enhance the performance of semiconductors. Still others are looking at ways to build advanced nanostructures for solar cell applications, such as encapsulating tiny nanowires within layered composite materials to enhance their electrical properties.
The Center for Nano Science and Technology is well-equipped for this type of cutting-edge research. Its capabilities include molecular beam epitaxy, a highly sophisticated method of growing and depositing pure crystals for semiconductors and other components. These nanomaterials and photonic crystals are fabricated in a state-of-the-art clean room, where electron beam lithography can fabricate devices as small as a few nanometers in diameter. Characterization tools such as optical equipment and extensive instrumentation for structural and electrical measurements precisely determine the properties of the nanostructures being fabricated.
The center also has one of the best experimental setups in the world for studying near-field spectroscopy, a technique that can identify nanosized features based on their often-subtle chemical differences.
"We have also achieved a breakthrough in specimen preparation for transmission electron microscopy, cutting the preparation time from days to hours," explains Margaret Dobrowolska, professor of physics.
The wide-ranging outcomes of this combined research will improve the performance of computers and electronic devices and enhance our quality of life through energy efficiency.
Collaboration Across Disciplines
The Center for Nano Science and Technology promotes collaboration among participating faculty from the departments of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Physics, as well as industry, government and university partners.
Listed below are the individuals collaborating on New Materials and Nanostructures.
Debdeep Jena (Team Leader) − Electrical Engineering
Joan Brennecke − Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Bruce Bunker − Physics
Margaret Dobrowolska-Furdyna − Physics
Susan Fullerton − Electrical Engineering
Jacek Furdyna − Physics
David Go − Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Doug Hall − Electrical Engineering
Greg Hartland − Chemistry & Biochemistry
Kenneth Henderson − Chemistry & Biochemistry
Wan Sik Hwang − Electrical Engineering
Peter Kilpatrick − Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Tom Kosel − Electrical Engineering
Ken Kuno − Chemistry & Biochemistry
Lei Liu − Electrical Engineering
Jim Merz − Electrical Engineering
Alexei Mintairov − Electrical Engineering
Steve Ruggiero − Physics
Zachary Schultz − Chemistry & Biochemistry
Alan Seabaugh − Electrical Engineering
Franklin Tao − Chemistry & Biochemistry
Greg Timp − Electrical Engineering
Mark Wistey − Electrical Engineering
Grace Xing − Electrical Engineering