University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Balandin, Lake and Khitun Received $1.7M Grant from NSF on 2D Materials

Balandin, Lake and Khitun Received $1.7M Grant from NSF on 2D Materials

Balandin, Lake and Khitun Received $1.7M Grant from NSF on 2D Materials

August 5, 2014

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded ~$1.7M grant to a group of researchers led by Dr. Alexander Balandin, University of California Presidential Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Founding Chair of Materials Science and Engineering. Professor Balandin will serve as Principal Investigator on the project entitled Novel Switching Phenomena in Atomic Heterostructures for Multifunctional Applications. The research team includes two other UCR professors – Dr.  Roger Lake, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dr. Alexander Khitun, Research Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering – and Dr. Tina Salguero, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia. The award is part of the highly competitive Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation 2014 (EFRI-2014) program entitled Two-Dimensional Atomic-layer Research and Engineering (2-DARE).

The winning UCR team covers different aspects of research and application of novel two-dimensional materials. Professor Balandin will conduct materials characterization, fabrication and experimental testing of nanodevices, Professor Lake will perform first-principal theoretical analysis and computer simulation of the properties of new materials and devices, while Professor Khitun will perform design of circuits and systems based on two-dimensional materials and atomic heterostructures. Professor Salguero will synthesize new materials using chemical approaches. Most of the work planned for the project will be performed using UCR nanofabrication and characterization facilities.    

The UCR 2-DARE project targets a new class of ultra-thin film materials, termed van der Waals materials, and heterostructures implemented with such materials. The ultra-thin materials may consist of just one atomic plane, which explains the term “two-dimensional” materials. The project will investigate novel electrical, optical, and thermal phenomena in such materials and heterostructures. It is expected that this research will result in new material synthesis techniques and enable practical applications of ultra-thin film materials in electronic switches, optical detectors, low-power information processing and direct energy conversion. The novel devices implemented with the ultra-thin films of van der Waals materials have potential for high speed and low energy dissipation.

The interest to two-dimensional materials was stimulated by the success of the ultimate two-dimensional material referred to as graphene – a single atomic plane of carbon atoms. Graphene research activities resulted in observation of new interesting physical phenomena and led to numerous proposals of graphene’s practical applications. Electrical and thermal conduction in graphene substantially differs from that in conventional bulk three-dimensional materials. The unusually high thermal conductivity of graphene was discovered at UC Riverside in the group of Professor Balandin. The exceptional heat conduction property of this two-dimensional material is presently finding its way to practical applications in thermal management. The new 2-DARE project will help UCR to maintain its leadership status in the important field of two-dimensional materials.  

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