By Matthew Chin
A new multidisciplinary research center established at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science aims to revolutionize semiconductor technologies by developing new nanoscale materials and structures that take advantage of properties unavailable at larger scales.
The Center for Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering (FAME) — supported by $35 million in funding over the next five years from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), a consortium of semiconductor industry companies, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — will address the national needs of the advanced semiconductor research industry.
“UCLA has again been recognized as a leading hub for next-generation research ideas and has established itself as the nation’s leading nanotechnology and nanoelectronics research-and-development think tank,” said UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research James Economou. “FAME follows FENA (Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics), for which UCLA has been a lead for the past 10 years and which has catalyzed the high-tech economic sector of Southern California.”
The director of the new center is Jane P. Chang, associate dean of research and physical resources at UCLA Engineering and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. She holds UCLA’s William Frederick Seyer Endowed Chair in Materials Electrochemistry.
“This is truly an interdisciplinary research center where science and engineering are integrated to enable innovation in solid state devices,” Chang said. “The unique and fascinating functionalities that we can tailor by manipulating matter at the atomic scale will open up enormous opportunities to design devices that achieve what was considered impossible just a decade ago.
“Advancing the performance of analog, logic or memory devices by many orders of magnitude will push the envelope of electronics and information technology in the next decades,” she said. “We are doing research in truly exciting times.”
“I am so pleased to have Professor Chang lead this new center and continue UCLA’s leadership on the frontier of semiconductor research,” said FENA’s director, Kang Wang, a distinguished professor at UCLA Engineering who holds the Raytheon Chair in Electrical Engineering.
“Here at UCLA Engineering, we have created an ecosystem over the past decade that has made giant leaps in nanoscale engineering,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the school. “Through the new FAME center, our faculty, students and collaborators will continue to lead research in new nanomaterials and structures for semiconductor devices for the benefit of the semiconductor and defense industries and society.”
“FAME will explore materials and structures beyond traditional silicon, which most electronic components are made of today,” said Kosmas Galatsis, FAME’s executive director and a UCLA adjunct associate professor of materials science and engineering. “These materials could enable much more energy-efficient computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices and components, such as computer memory or display screens.”
FAME is one of six university-based research centers established by the SRC through its Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network (STARnet), the consortium announced. The new UCLA research center is a multi-university partnership that includes 35 faculty researchers from 16 of the nation’s top universities.
“Our outstanding research team explores the unique functionality from the interplay of electrons and atoms; develops advanced theory and models to guide the material design; pioneers state-of-the-art techniques to achieve atomic precision in material synthesis; and integrates these multi-functional materials to realize advanced devices that will have a revolutionizing impact on the semiconductor and defense industries,” Chang said. “Our faculty researchers are at the frontier in the world, and the training our students will receive will make them future leaders.”