Professor M. Saif Islam wins NSF 'Early Career' Award

Assistant Professor M. Saif Islam was recently awarded a Faculty Early Career Development ( CAREER ) Award by the National Science Foundation. The Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education. His work is titled "Massively Parallel and Manufacturable Self-Assembly Techniques for Interfacing and Integrating Nanowires in Devices and Circuits".

Dr. Islam , while working for Hewlett-Packard Laboratories before joining UC Davis, has developed two novel nano-device integration and mass-production techniques termed 'nano-bridges' and 'nano-colonnades' that are entirely compatible with existing microelectronics fabrication processes. His current research objectives include the development of massively parallel nano-structures synthesis and integration processes for potential applications in bio-chemical sensors and sensor networks, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, memory and logic devices for future computing.

Research under the new grant will continue the development of new type of devices and circuits that will be formed starting with a single atom. The goal will be to minimize the device size and increase the density of devices in future electronic and photonic systems. Dr. Islam's bridging techniques will connect the devices to the rest of the world without using expensive and tedious interfacing techniques.


The research objective of this Faculty Early Career (CAREER) award addresses the long-standing issues of interfacing and interconnecting one-dimensional semiconductor nanowires with devices and circuits and proposes to develop novel mass-manufacturable solutions. The broad goals of this program are to advance our device physics understanding of nanowire-bulk interfaces and to facilitate new practical technologies for design, integration and mass production of nanowire based devices and systems with innovative quantum effects. Despite significant progress in nanowire synthesis and many promising single device demonstrations, applications of nanowires have been stalled by our inability to controllably incorporate them within integrated circuits. Unlike the research-based approach of sequentially connecting electrodes to individual nanowires for device physics studies, this research will employ a novel technique of epitaxial bridging of nanowires between pre-fabricated electrodes for reproducible fabrication of ultra-dense and low-cost device and circuit arrays. Growth conditions, doping techniques and wafer processing methods will be explored to understand and optimize nanowire-bulk connections. The educational objectives of the CAREER program are focused on significantly impacting the research experience of both graduate and undergraduate students at the University of California Davis and the large numbers of minority students in Oakland public school system. The PI proposes to develop a new nanotechnology course titled "Nanostructured Devices: Physics and Technology" that will serve to introduce and excite undergraduate students about nano-manufacturing and the career opportunities that will be available to them. The PI will develop a program for inseminating knowledge of the advancements in nanotechnology into Bay Area Technology School (BAYTECH), a high school in a predominantly underprivileged and socio-economically impacted neighborhood of downtown Oakland, California.

The proposed research plan will greatly impact the fields of Nanomanufacturing by transitioning nanowires into a reliable technology through the development of cost-effective mass-manufacturing methods with revolutionary new capabilities and performances for wide variety of applications. The outcome will lead to unprecedented device density, ultimately making the nanowire based devices a commercial reality with a major improvement in the cost/performance ratio. This will facilitate mass-manufacturing of devices for electronic, photonic, energy storage and conversion, advanced light sources, sensing, and biological systems. The research community will also benefit in the near term through the development of a universal test-bed for combining conventional microfabrication (bottom-up) and synthetic nanofabrication (top-down) where self-assembled nanostructures mate to pre-fabricated microstructures to test new concepts in quantum devices.

Posted: January 28, 2006

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