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Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | May 2013

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UNL

Physics team leads $7 million research center

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From left, Kirill Belashchenko, Peter Dowben, Alexei Gruverman and Evgeny Tsymbal at announcement celebration.

To satisfy the demand for ever-increasing computing power, the next generation in electronic devices must look to new technologies. Building on significant advances in UNL nanomaterials research, a team of UNL faculty will lead a new $7.125 million research collaboration involving six universities and an industry consortium.

Semiconductor Research Corp. and the National Institute of Standards and Technology awarded a UNL physics team a five-year contract to lead a new Center for NanoFerroic Devices. It’s one of three new multi-university research centers that are part of the second phase of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative.

This joint research will help transform basic university discoveries and knowledge into actual devices, in collaboration with industry. UNL is partnering with researchers at the University of California, Irvine; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University at Buffalo, SUNY; University of Delaware; and Oakland University.

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Evgeny Tsymbal

UNL physicists working with the new center are: Evgeny Tsymbal, CNFD director who also directs UNL’s Materials Research Engineering Center; Peter Dowben, CNFD co-director; Kirill Belashchenko, Christian Binek, Alexei Gruverman and Xia Hong.

The new center will pursue three promising alternatives. Each takes advantage of unique, nanoscale properties that require much less energy, which would enable more compact and powerful devices.

Gruverman leads a team focused on nano-thin ferroelectric oxide, a material with both positive and negative polarization directions that can be read like a binary code to store information. A second initiative relies on Binek’s work with spintronics, which manipulates electron spin in addition to charge, to store information. The third initiative, led by Ilya Krivorotov at the University of California, Irvine, focuses on how electrons carry information not just by switching the spin direction, but also by generating spin waves.

These methods have the potential to go beyond today’s semiconducting systems, which would greatly expand computing potential, Tsymbal said.

“The new center is a natural continuation of the research that we’ve been doing” in UNL’s MRSEC, he said. “Now we’re rising to a new level.”

Prem Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development, said the UNL team’s selection to lead this work reflects UNL’s strength in nanotechnology research.

“This university-industry consortium partnership brings together critical funding and expertise to transform the basic research discoveries at universities into a new generation of innovative devices to benefit society,” Paul said.

Industry partners include IBM, Intel, Micron Technology, Texas Instruments and GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Semiconductor Research Corp. is the world’s leading university-industry research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies.

Read more about this team’s work.



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