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'Western' Spintronics Program Launched

Photonics.com
Mar 2006
STANFORD, Calif., March 13, 2006 -- The University of California (UCLA), the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB), the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University are teaming up to launch the Western Institute of Nanoelectronics, which they said will be one of the world's largest joint research programs focusing on "spintronics." Spintronics, which relies on the spin of an electron to carry information, holds promise for minimizing power consumption in electronics.
UCLA Engineering Professor Kang Wang will be director of the institute. He will work closely with professors David Awschalom at UCSB, Jeff Bokor at UC Berkeley and Philip Wong at Stanford. All of the nearly 30 researchers participating in the institute will explore critically needed innovations in semiconductor technology. The program will be co-managed by the four participating campuses and 10 researchers from semiconductor companies, who will work with students and faculty on all of the university campuses. The institute's administrative headquarters will be located at UCLA's school of engineering and applied science. Scientific and technical responsibility will shared by all four campuses.
Wang said, "With this new institute, we are talking about an unprecedented opportunity to help define a technology that can exploit the idiosyncrasies of the quantum world to provide key improvements over existing technologies. As rapid progress in the miniaturization of semiconductor electronic devices leads toward chip features smaller than 65 nanometers in size, researchers have had to begin exploring new ways to make electronics more efficient. Simply put, today's devices, which are based on complementary metal oxide semiconductor standards, or CMOS, can't get much smaller and still function properly and effectively. That's where spintronics comes in."
The institute's mission is to explore and develop advanced research devices, circuits and nanosystems with performance beyond conventional devices, which are based on CMOS.
"Researchers in this institute want to not only look at physics and materials, but also explore devices, circuits and systems," says Wong. Stanford's other spintronics researchers include Shoucheng Zhang (physics and materials), Boris Murmann (circuits), Joachim Stohr (materials), Bruce Clemens (materials), Shan Wang (spin filters) and James Harris (devices and materials).
Harris, an electrical engineering professor, will co-direct the IBM-Stanford Spintronic Science and Applications Center (SpinAps, for short) with Zhang and with IBM Fellow Stuart Parkin, an experimental physicist at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose.
The spintronics effort at Stanford is based on the ongoing research collaboration with IBM through the SpinAps Center and the unique materials, characterization and device capabilities of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and the molecular beam epitaxy labs at Stanford and IBM.
The institute is being established with starting grants of $18.2 million: $14.38 million in industry support and a matching $3.84 million UC Discovery Grant from the Industry-University Cooperative Research Program, which seeks to strengthen California's research-and-development economy in partnership with California research-and-development companies. The $18.2 million includes $2.38 million from a Nanoelectronics Research Initiative grant funded by six major semiconductor companies: Intel, IBM, Texas Instruments, AMD, Freescale and Micron. The amount also includes an additional Intel grant of $2 million. The institute will also receive a separate $10 million equipment grant from Intel. Funds will be distributed over four years. Infrastructure and personnel support from the participating universities is estimated to exceed $200 million.
For more information, visit: www.stanford.edu


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