Nanotechnology now underpins today’s computer chip manufacture as well as the development of new chip technologies for the post-silicon era, the development of new materials for a wide range of nanoelectronic and nanophotonic applications, new point-of-care nanobioelectronic sensors, and countless other applications. The nanotechnology field is distinguished by its current large and rapidly growing economic impact, visibility at the highest levels with programs such as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), and its inherent multidisciplinary nature.

The ECE Department has developed major interdisciplinary research programs in Nanoelectronics, Nanophotonics and Nanobiotechnology. New sensors are under development for low-cost reading of genetic DNA sequences. Simulations developed originally for semiconductor devices are now being used to model the ion channels in cell membranes. New nanoscale memory devices have been demonstrated that combine the speed of DRAM with the nonvolatility of Flash memory at one hundred times the storage density of current technology. The simple replacement of hydrogen with its isotope deuterium has been parlayed from a surface science experiment to current use in chip production to dramatically enhance high-performance chip lifetimes. Photonic crystals have been integrated with VCSEL lasers to produce biochemical sensors with several orders of magnitude improved sensitivity. New transistor structures, based on graphene, with performance characteristics far exceeding silicon are under development. These are examples of some of the research projects in the Nanotechnology Area.

Students engaged in the Nanotechnology Area will obtain experience in the following topics:

Graphene and Carbon Nanotube Devices, Nano- and Atomic-Scale Fabrication, Atomistic Level Simulations, Nanoscale Materials Properties, Quantum Mechanics

Nanophotonic Sensors, Photonic Crystals, Plasmonics, Single Molecule Sensors, Semiconductor Quantum Dots and Nanowires, Nanoimprint Lithography, Quantum Electronics

Advanced Point-of-Care Sensors, DNA Translocation Devices, Photonic and Electronic Sensors

Closely Related Courses

There are a number of course offerings in and closely related to nanotechnology in the ECE Department and elsewhere on campus. These include:

  • ECE 441 – Physics and Modeling of Semiconductor Devices
  • ECE 444 – IC Device Theory & Fabrication
  • ECE 481 - Nanotechnology
  • ECE 487 – Introduction to Quantum Electronics
  • ECE 488 – Compound Semiconductors and Devices
  • CHBE 457 – Microelectronics Processing
  • CHEM 442 – Physical Chemistry 1
  • ME 485 – MEMS Devices & Systems
  • MSE 401 – Thermodynamics of Materials
  • MSE 487 – Materials for Nanotechnology
  • PHYS 460 - Condensed Matter Physics
  • PHYS 486 - Quantum Physics, I
  • PHYS 487 - Quantum Physics, II

Suggested ECE Advanced Core Courses

  • ECE 310 - Digital Signal Processing (3 Hrs)
  • ECE 350 - Fields and Waves II (3 Hrs)

Core Faculty in this area