Academics & Faculty

UCLA Selected to Lead New Semiconductor Research Center


UCLA has been selected to lead a new multimillion dollarresearch center as part of an initiative to expand semiconductor research atuniversities. The Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics Focus Center (FENA)will be funded by the Semiconductor Industry Association the industry's largest trade association and the Department of Defense.

The term "architectonics" is derived from a Greek wordmeaning "master builder," which aptly describes the center's researchers asthey build a new generation of nanoscale materials, structures and devices forthe electronics industry.

The new center, which has been established in the UCLA HenrySamueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, will receive $13.5 millionover three years, and as much as $70 million over the next 10 years.

UCLA becomes the fifth site for a focus center since theMicroelectronics Advanced Research Corporation, a subsidiary of theSemiconductor Industry Association, together with the Department of Defense,launched the Focus Center Research Program in 1998. FENA is the only new centerestablished this year.

Electrical engineering professor Kang Wang has been nameddirector of the focus center, which involves researchers from UCLA'sdepartments of materials science, chemistry and mathematics and from 11 otheruniversities, including the University of California, Berkeley; University ofCalifornia, Santa Barbara; University of California, Riverside; University ofSouthern California; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The FENA researchers will explore the challenges facing thesemiconductor industry as the electronic devices and circuits that powertoday's computers grow ever smaller. With more and more transistors and othercomponents squeezed onto a single chip, manufacturers are rapidly approachingthe physical limits posed by current chip-making processes.

Researchers hope to resolvea number of challenges related to post-CMOS technologies that will allow themto extend semiconductor technology further into the realm of the nanoscale.(CMOS, or complementary metal oxide semiconductor, is a widely used type ofsemiconductor technology.)

"Our work will be directed at finding new ways to scale CMOSnanoelectronics to the ultimate limit and beyond," Wang said.

"Advances in nanotechnology, molecular electronics, andquantum computing are creating the potential for new technology solutions, andwe want to explore them," Wang said. "University-based research collaborationslike this focus center are vital to sustaining long-term growth in thesemiconductor industry."

"We are tremendously excited to be selected to lead thisimportant research collaboration," said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the School ofEngineering. "Dr. Wang and his team have the research and administrativeexperience to address the current state of knowledge about nanoelectronicstechnologies and move it forward in a tangible way."

"UCLA has the ideal infrastructure in place to lead a centerof this kind," said Wang, who also established the UCLA Nanoelectronics Facilityin 1989. "We plan to collaborate with existing centers and take full advantageof the growing concentration of new technology research on the UCLA campus."

In the last two years, UCLA's Henry Samueli School ofEngineering and Applied Science has won five competitive research centers fromthe federal government and private industry that will bring more than $100million dollars to Southern California to spur research and development onemerging technologies.

The four other major research centers established in UCLA'sSchool of Engineering in 200203include the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, the Institute for CellMimetic Space Exploration, the Center for NanoscienceInnovation for Defense and the Center for Scalable and IntegratedNano-Manufacturing. In addition, the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute wasestablished in 2000.

For FENA, Wang has organized an interdisciplinary team ofmaterials scientists, chemists, physicists, electrical engineers, mechanicalengineers, chemical engineers, bioengineers and mathematicians. Bruce Dunn,professor of materials science and engineering, is co-director of the newcenter, and electrical engineering professor Jason Woo is the extramuralliaison. UCLA chemistry professor Fraser Stoddart and professor of mathematicsRussel Caflisch will lead two of five research areas within the focus center.



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