Santa Clara University

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Santa Clara University Center for Nanostructures (CNS)

An interdisciplinary center for research and integrated education in the diverse field of nanoscale science and technology is being developed. The CNS builds upon existing SCU faculty strengths and initiatives, and incorporates recently established partnerships in nanotechnology with NASA Ames Research Center, Hitachi Global Storage Technology (HGST), and Hitachi High Technologies America (HHTA), as well as ongoing relationships with Stanford Nanofabrication Laboratory and the School of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Cruz. A summary of the Center’s scope of activities and organizational structure is given in this narrative.

The mushrooming of activities in the diverse interdisciplinary field of nanoscale science and technology in the past few years has begun to create an alarming gap between knowledge/skill requirements in industry and the CNS_webpreparedness of the potential workforce. Existing curricula at virtually all educational institutions do not provide science and engineering students with a sufficiently broad-based coverage of topics to meet such needs. Faculty members in science and engineering generally work in fairly narrow areas within their individual disciplines. The emergence of commercially viable products such as integrated circuits built with nanotubes and biosensors made up of organic molecules demands a paradigm shift in teaching/scholarship as well as academia/industry interaction. Santa Clara University is in an enviable position to take the necessary steps to bridge the knowledge gap by supplying industry with a workforce with sufficient technological literacy in the increasingly critical area of nanoscale science and technology.

Current Research and Education Activities


An extensive effort has been underway involving the modeling of high-speed on-chip interconnects. In this work, a unified resistance-inductance-capacitance model has been developed for operating frequencies up to 100GHz. The results have been published in top-tier journals and conferences. A related project, which is jointly pursued with and partly funded by NASA’s Center for Nanotechnology, involves a study of carbon nanotube (CNT) as an interconnect material in sub-100nm integrated circuits. The tasks include CNT synthesis, test structure fabrication, materials characterization, and study of conduction mechanisms, in order to arrive at a physical model for its electrical behavior and that of its contact with metal. Understanding the transport across this CNT/metal interface is the primary objective of this program. Based on this understanding, the projected outcome will be a methodology for measurement, as well as a computational scheme for model parameter extraction and circuit simulation of high-frequency hybrid Si-CNT circuits. Both graduate and undergraduate students have been involved in these projects, led by Drs. Krishnan and Yang. A few representative publications authored by these students, their faculty supervisors, and external collaborators are given at the end of this narrative.

An overview course on nanoscale science and technology was developed in 2002 and offered for the first time in the summer quarter, and again in the spring quarters of 2003 and 2004. The course is listed as a graduate engineering course but is open to all undergraduate students who have taken a freshman course in chemistry. Preliminary plans are in place to develop five more courses in the nano curriculum. An undergraduate minor in nanoscale science and technology is also targeted.

A campus-wide seminar series on nanotechnology, supported by an internal grant, were initiated last year, with speakers known internationally for their pioneering work in the field of nanoscale science and technology. Ten such distinguished individuals have given presentations under the Nanotechnology Seminar Series since its inception.

Activities Planned

Based on existing and projected activities at SCU, two interdisciplinary themes are planned. These themes are complementary to one another and take advantage of the strengths and interests of the faculty as well as those of our partners.

Nanoelectronics – This is a natural extension of research and education activities conducted in the Microelectronics Laboratory (recently renamed Nanoelectronics Laboratory) over the past twenty years. The main thrust will be interconnect and gate modeling for integrated circuits containing nanoscale feature sizes. Existing collaboration with industry and NASA will be expanded to include modeling of nanowires and carbon nanotubes. The work will be carried out in the existing facilities of the Nanoelectronics and Microwave Laboratories and at partner sites.

Nanobiotechnology – Successful electrical probing of living cells has been a goal of many scientists. Taking advantage of the superb properties of CNT, experiments have been planned to use CNT as an electrical probe to a living cell. This is a collaborative effort among the Nanoelectronics Laboratory, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Departments, as well as NASA and UCSC.

Organizational Structure
As an interdisciplinary center focused on an important area of emerging technology, CNS draws upon expertise and interest from faculty across campus, in Business, Law, Education, Sciences, and Engineering. A Steering Committee has been formed and its members include Don Dodson (Vice Provost), Terri Griffith (Business and Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS)), Al Hammond (Law and CSTS), Pedro Hernandez-Ramos (Education and CSTS), Shoba Krishnan (Electrical Engineering), Nam Ling (Computer Engineering), Tokunbo Ogunfunmi (Electrical Engineering), Daniel Pitt (Dean of Engineering), Tom Savage (Education), David Tauck (Biology), Cary Yang (Electrical Engineering), and Atom Yee (Chemistry and Dean of Arts and Sciences). Currently the center director is Cary Yang.

An Advisory Board consisting of distinguished researchers, educators, and technical leaders in the field is being formed. The Center is seeking and will continue to seek additional partners and support in order to achieve its mission and goals.

For further information, please visit www.scu.edu/engineering/centers/nano/ and/or contact Professor Cary Yang at cyang@scu.edu .

Selected Publications

Q. Ngo, D. Petranovic, S. Krishnan, A.M. Cassell, Q. Ye, J. Li, M. Meyyappan, and C.Y. Yang, “Electron Transport through Metal-Multiwall Carbon Nanotube Interfaces,” IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, in press (2004).

S.-P. Sim, S. Krishnan, D. Petranovic, N. Arora, K. Lee, and C. Y. Yang, “A Unified RLC Model for High-Speed On-Chip Interconnects,” IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices 50, 1501-1510 (2003).

Q. Ngo, D. Petranovic, H. Yoong, S. Krishnan, and C. Y. Yang, “Surface Phenomena at Metal-Carbon Nanotube Interfaces,” Proceedings of IEEE-NANO 2003, San Francisco, August 12-14, 2003, pp. 252-255.

S.-P. Sim, K. Lee, and C.Y. Yang, “High-Frequency On-Chip Inductance Model,” IEEE Electron Device Letters 23, 740-742 (2002).

S. P. Sim, C. Chao, S. Krishnan, D. M. Petranovic, N. D. Arora, K. Lee, and C. Y. Yang, “An Effective Loop Inductance Model for General Non-orthogonal Interconnect with Random Capacitive Coupling,” Technical Digest of 2002 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), San Francisco, December 9-11, 2002, pp. 315-318.