UMass scientist Lowell is pioneering a new class of



December 16, 2021


Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, [email protected]

UMass Lowell Scientist Launches New Class of Semiconductors

$ 1.7 million NSF project aims to improve wireless communication, imaging, and more.

LOWELL, Mass. – A new class of faster, more powerful semiconductors for improved wireless communication and digital imaging is on the drawing board, thanks to research by a scientist at UMass Lowell.

Semiconductors transmit electricity. Also known as “chips”, they are found in countless products including automobiles, computers, home appliances, medical devices, and smartphones.

UMass Lowell physics professor Viktor Podolskiy leads a research team that seeks to improve semiconductors used in infrared optoelectronic devices to improve their performance. The project is a launching pad for new products with enhanced capabilities in intracellular imaging, night vision and quantum and 5G communication that could also better serve the Internet of Things (IoT).

A $ 1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) program is funding the four-year project.

“Funding essentially allows us to develop new materials to use and explore how light and matter interact within these materials. During the research process, the team will train a new generation of scientists and engineers, ”Podolskiy said.

Infrared optoelectronic devices detect and convert light signals, or photons, into electric current or electrons. The problem is that the wavelengths of photons and electrons are naturally incompatible: infrared photons are fast and have very long wavelengths, while electron waves are much smaller and slower. In their work, the researchers will “sculpt” photons and electrons to more closely match their wavelengths to each other in order to improve the performance of semiconductors in these devices.

Researchers from Purdue University, University of Texas-Austin, and University of Virginia join Podolskiy on the team.

“If we are to support innovation in communications and information processing, we need to better understand and learn to control the electronic and optical properties of these new semiconductor materials,” said Avik Ghosh, member of the team, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia. and physical. “I am really delighted to work with this incredible team. “

The researchers plan to collaborate with the U.S. Air Force to use the materials developed by the team for new, innovative and practical devices, Podolskiy said.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus at the heart of a global community. The university offers its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell offers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning, and personal attention from top faculty and staff, which prepare all graduates to become leaders in their communities and around the world.

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