Nano electronics garner 12 grants totaling $20M from NSF, SRC

September 19, 2011 — Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund $20 million for 12 four-year grants on nanoelectronics research.

These 12 interdisciplinary research teams at 24 participating U.S. universities will contribute to the goal of discovering a new switching mechanism using nanoelectronic innovations as a replacement for today’s transistor.

The “new semiconductor device” will bring the US a leadership position in the nanoelectronics era, said Jeff Welser, director of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) for SRC, adding that advanced research universities combine talent with research capabilities like cleanroom labs and expensive equipment.

Nanoelectronics that will exist in 2020 and beyond require new basic materials science and chemistry breakthroughs, advanced devices and circuit architectures, and other progress.

The competition, “Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond (NEB),” is a component of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Signature Initiative, aiming to “accelerate the discovery and use of novel nanoscale fabrication processes and innovative concepts to produce revolutionary materials, devices, systems, and architectures to advance the field of nanoelectronics,” said Dr. Lawrence Goldberg, senior engineering advisor, NSF. Goldberg added that SRC’s support added a mentoring aspect to the research funding. Check out video blogs from students at SRC’s recent TECHCON here.

The joint NSF-NRI grants were awarded to the following projects in nanoelectronics research:

NSF Divisions participating in this competition are the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) in the Directorate for Engineering, the Division of Materials Research (DMR) and the Division of Chemistry (CHE) in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the Division of Computing and Communications Foundations (CCF) in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.

Companies participating in NRI are GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel Corporation, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments. These companies assign researchers to interact with the university teams. This kind of university-industry engagement will be instrumental in order for NRI to reach its goal of demonstrating the feasibility of novel computing devices in simple computer circuits during the next five to 10 years.

The Nanoelectronics Research Initiative is one of three research program entities of SRC. SRC expands the semiconductor industry knowledge base and attracts premier students to help innovate and transfer semiconductor technology to the commercial industry. For more information, visit http://nri.src.org.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, its budget is about $6.9 billion. Each year, NSF makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly. For more information, visit http://www.nsf.gov.

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