Skip Navigation
  • UC Riverside
  • University Advancement
  • Strategic Communications

Will Silicon Valley Make Way for Nanotube Valley?

News Media Contact:
  Name: Kris Lovekin
  Phone: (951) 827-2495
  Email: kris.lovekin@ucr.edu

Will Silicon Valley Make Way for Nanotube Valley?
UC Riverside Team Earns $1.5 Million Grant to Pursue Research on the Next Generation Computer Chip
(March 17, 2004)

Print Quality Image: Right click image and select "Save Target As." Alex Balandin, Jianlin Liu, Cengiz Ozkan, Roger Lake, Mihri Ozkan Alex Balandin, Jianlin Liu, Cengiz Ozkan, Roger Lake, Mihri Ozkan
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- A team of University of California, Riverside researchers received $1.5 million from the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation (MARCO), a not-for-profit research management organization, to create a new generation of nanoscale materials and devices to make computers and other semiconductor-based devices faster, cheaper and more efficient.

The UCR team is working with UCLA’s Focus Center on Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics (FENA). UCR electrical engineering professor Roger Lake, who is leading the UCR team, says that sometime during the next decade silicon will reach the end of its ability to become smaller and faster, and there is now a huge effort underway to devise new materials.

“Silicon has been driving the semiconductor industry for 40 years, and for 40 years it has become exponentially smaller and faster,” Lake said. “Now people are looking real hard for add-ons to silicon.”

Something close, Lake says, are carbon nanotubes. “IBM has done a lot of work in that area,” Lake said. “They have built them individually and tested them, and they make pretty good transistors, but no one has a good idea of how to put a billion of them on a chip and have them all working together. The problem is one of integration.” He said if this problem is solved, it will set the direction of scientific research and commercial development for the next 50 years.

Recent studies using carbon nanotubes prove they can hold significantly more data than silicon chips. Products that could be improved using these materials include bomb and chemical detection devices and super high-speed computers. The work the researchers are doing could also lead to eventual production and packing improvements for relevant devices, possibly resulting in lower consumer costs. The UCR team is pursuing an approach of chemical and biological self-synthesis for molecular electronic integration using technology from biosensing and NEMS (nano electrical mechanical systems).

If the team can surmount current obstacles, Lake says, a new integration process will be born.

UCR team members joining Lake are engineering professors Alex Balandin, Mihri Ozkan and Cengiz Ozkan. Engineering professor Jianlin Liu is an independent member of the center, researching nano-structured materials for single-electron memory. The team of researchers from UCR is the largest outside group working with FENA.

According to the corporation’s Web site, MARCO funds and operates university-based research centers in microelectronics technology. Its charter initiative, the Focus Center Research Program, is designed to expand cooperative, long-range microelectronics research at U.S. universities. For more information, go to http://fcrp.src.org


Related Links:
  • Website for MARCO
  • Additional Contacts:
  • Roger Lake at (909) 787-2122.
  • The University of California, Riverside is a major research institution and a national center for the humanities. Key areas of research include nanotechnology, genomics, environmental studies, digital arts and sustainable growth and development. With a current undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 17,000, the campus is projected to grow to 21,000 students by 2010. Located in the heart of inland Southern California, the nearly 1,200-acre, park-like campus is at the center of the region's economic development. Visit www.ucr.edu or call 909-787-5185 for more information. Media sources are available at http://www.mediasources.ucr.edu/.