$10.3 Million Grant Will Establish New Energy Frontier Research Center

From left: Greg Salamo, Hiro Nakamura, Shui Qing "fisherman" Yu, Hugh Churchill, and Jin Hu, U of A.

Photo by Whit Pruitt

From left: Greg Salamo, Hiro Nakamura, Shui-Qing “Fisher” Yu, Hugh Churchill and Jin Hu, U of A.

A team of researchers led by U of A professor of electrical engineering Shui-Qing “Fisher” Yu has been awarded $10.35 million by the US Department of Energy to establish an Energy Frontier Research Center.

The grant will establish the Center for Manipulation of Atomic Ordering for Manufacturing Semiconductors, the first Energy Frontier Research Center in Arkansas. The center is dedicated to studying the formation of atomic ordering in semiconductor alloys and its impact on various physical properties.

This research program will enable reliable, low-cost, and transformative manufacturing of semiconductors, the essential material used in computers and other electrical devices.

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In addition to Yu, the team includes four colleagues in the physics department — distinguished Professor Greg Salamo, assistant professor Jin Hu, associate professor Hugh Churchill, and assistant professor Hiro Nakamura — as well as several researchers at other institutions.

The four-year grant is part of the Department of Energy’s $540 million research funding for universities and national laboratories focused on clean energy technologies. The ultimate goal is to create and develop low-carbon manufacturing processes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The award is based on the multi-agency team’s recent discovery that atoms in the alloy silicon-germanium-tin, a semiconducting material, exhibit short-range order in a periodic lattice. Short-range order refers to the regular and predictable arrangement of atoms over a short distance, usually just one or two atomic spacings. This discovery had significant implications for the energy band gap and led to the exciting hypothesis that material properties in semiconductor alloys could be designed and fabricated by manipulating atomic order.

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“We particularly thank the institutional support of the U of A, which played a crucial role in the completion of the proposal and will support the operation of the center,” Yu said.

The U of A will join researchers from Arizona State University, George Washington University, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, Dartmouth College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Delaware and Sandia National run the lab.

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About the University of Arkansas: As the flagship Arkansas institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy by imparting new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and workplace development, discovery through research and creative pursuits, while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few US colleges and universities with the highest research activity. US News & World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. See how the U of A works to create a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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