ECE graduate students tie for Best Paper Award
Susan Kantor, ECE ILLINOIS
- Justin Koepke and Joshua Wood, both graduate students in Joe Lyding's group, tied for best paper.
- Koepke's paper discusses the use of scanning tunneling microscopy to study the electronic properties of graphene on silicon surfaces.
- Wood's paper investigates using carbon as a faster replacement for silicon.
Something exciting and unusual happened at the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology. There was a tie for the Best Paper Award. Even more distinctive was the fact that the winners, Justin Koepke and Joshua Wood, are both graduate students in ECE Professor Joseph W. Lyding's research group.
Koepke and Wood proofread each other’s papers and presented their papers separately at the conference held in Genoa, Italy. Before the banquet, Stephen Goodnick, the conference’s program chair, approached Wood to congratulate him on a well-written paper. Goodnick also told Wood that the vote for the Best Paper Award ended in a tie, so both papers would be awarded.
“I was very taken aback. I didn’t expect that,” Wood said. “I’m very enthusiastic about receiving the award as well.”
Koepke didn’t know he had won before the banquet, so for him, the announcement was a surprise.
“When I arrived at the banquet, Josh told me that somebody had congratulated him on his paper,” Koepke said. “I assumed Josh had won and I hadn’t. So I was surprised when they actually called my name.”
Lyding is proud of the students in his group.
“I am very pleased that Justin and Joshua were selected as co-recipients of the Best Paper Award,” Lyding said. “Graphene and carbon nanotubes are the hottest topics in nanotechnology today, and there were many outstanding papers on these subjects at the conference.”
Koepke’s paper, “Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy Studies of Nanometer-sized Graphene on the Si(111)-7x7 Surface,” discusses the use of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to study the electronic properties of graphene on silicon surfaces. Graphene is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional, honeycomb lattice, which is a potential material for use in electronics or nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). The Si(111)-7X7 surface has a complex, periodic surface structure that allows for interesting interactions with graphene. Koepke is studying the interactions between graphene and different semiconductor surfaces.
“The STM allows us to study graphene’s behavior on the atomic level, which is important for determining if it is suitable for electronic material use and how it interacts with different surfaces,” Koepke said.
Wood’s paper, “Carbon Nanotube Alignment Using Meniscus Action,” investigates using carbon as a faster replacement for silicon as the main component in nanoelectronics.
“What I’m trying to do is develop a new technique for fabricating the next transistor,” Wood said. “Motivation for my whole PhD work is to try to develop a new technique for wafer-scale deposition and placement of these carbon-based technologies.”
Wood is investigating carbon nanotubes, which are rolled cylinders of graphene. Currently, only a small number of carbon nanotube devices can be made at a time, and the quantities are not enough to make it a feasible industrial technology. If the placement, electronic characteristics, and alignment of the carbon nanotubes can be controlled, then manufacturing thousands of the devices will be possible.
“The award gives me confidence that what I’m researching is important,” Wood said. “I was a bit skeptical about my results. That’s just being a diligent researcher. You don’t want to be allured by your results. You want to try to look at them with a grain of salt.”
Wood was happy to share the award with Koepke because it brings more prestige to their entire group.
“It’s coincidental, and I’m sure that it helps our group quite a bit,” Wood said. “If there is anybody I would like to share the award with, Justin is a great choice.”