Ever-shrinking technology: WVU physics professors challenged to make devices smaller, faster, and more energy efficient
If you take a look at technology trends over the past few years you will undoubtedly notice two distinct trends: smaller and faster.
The large box-like monitors of yesteryear that took up our desk space have rapidly evolved into sleek iPads that slip into our purses and backpacks with ease. The newest Androids, iPhones and MP3s provide a world of knowledge and endless opportunities at our fingertips while feeling as if we’re holding nothing at all. Where can our technology possibly evolve from here?
With the help of a Research Challenge Grant, professors across the state of West Virginia are pushing these technologies to go smaller and faster still – all in the name of energy conservation.
David Lederman, a professor of physics at West Virginia University, has been awarded the grant with the intent to create a center that investigates and develops new paradigms for electronic devices that not only use less energy than today’s technologies, but also operate faster than those currently on the market.
The grant, funded by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, is worth $1.35 million. The project, called “A Center for Energy Efficient Electronics at West Virginia University and Marshall University,” commenced July 1 and will continue through June 30, 2017.
“This project will allow the investigators to build expertise, as well as a collaborative track record, in the study of materials and tools required to fabricate next-generation electronics,” Lederman explained. “These electronics are smaller, faster, and most importantly, more energy efficient than technology that is currently available.”
Lederman, the principal investigator of the project, will be working on the project with a group of researchers from across the state. Professors Alan Bristow, Micky Holcomb and Tudor Stanescu from the Department of Physics will be representing WVU. Thomas Wilson, a physics professor at Marshall University will also be working on the project.
Other members of the project’s team include four graduate students, one post-doctoral researcher, and one research professor to be recruited later this year. One post-doctoral researcher from Marshall University will also be involved in the research.
The Department of Physics hired two new faculty members this past academic year and is in the process of hiring two more this fall semester. Three of these new faculty members will aid in the sample fabrication and characterization efforts while the fourth faculty member will provide computational support to validate experimental results and suggest new experiments.
“This project represents an approximately $2 million investment in start-up funds by WVU prior to receipt of the grant, not including faculty salaries,” Lederman said. “Moreover, our new building, White Hall, with an investment of over $30 million by WVU, has state-of-the-art laboratories ideal for carrying out this project.”
In addition, collaborations with major U.S. Department Of Energy national facilities, including the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, Calif., and the Electron Microscopy Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as with solid state physics professor Robert Stamps of the University of Glasgow, will complement and strengthen the team’s research efforts.
For more information, contact David Lederman, at 304-293-3422 or David.Lederman@mail.wvu.edu
CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Director of Marketing and Communication
304-293-7406, ext. 5251, Rebecca.Herod@mail.wvu.edu
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.