ECE PhD student Shubham Mondal wins APL Materials award for research on ferroelectric nitrides

Ferroelectric nitrides could greatly enhance optoelectronic devices and advance IoT sensors, artificial visual systems, and more.
Shubham Mondal

Shubham Mondal, an ECE PhD student, won the 2023 APL Materials first-place Excellence in Research Award for his work using ferroelectric III-nitrides to improve the operation of optoelectronic devices. Specifically, Mondal is focused on making ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors self-powered and reconfigurable, which could advance Internet of Things sensors, artificial visual systems, and more.

“In my research, I demonstrate how reconfigurable, self-powered deep-UV photodetectors can drive new possibilities in ferro-electronics, resulting in unique sensing, memory, and logic functionalities,” Mondal said.

Ferroelectric devices make it possible to switch electrical polarization, which can result in longer retention times, lower energy costs, higher integration density, and increased robustness in harsh environments. This could help advance a variety of applications in electronic, memory, and optoelectronic devices.

They are particularly promising in microelectronic memory devices for neuromorphic computing and artificial intelligence. They could also greatly improve existing technologies, such as HEMTs, LEDs, lasers, photovoltaics, and power electronics.

Shubham Mondal in a lab
Shubham Mondal operates the Veeco GenXplor molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system for the manufacture of ferroelectric III-Nitrides. Photo: Miranda Felty

Mondal specifically focuses on epitaxially grown Sc-alloyed III-nitride semiconductors (ScAlN), which could allow photovoltaic devices to be developed on mainstream semiconductor platforms. In addition, because the photodetector is entirely self-powered, it can enable multifunctional electronic devices that integrate sensing, memory, and processing functions.

“This shows great potential for III-Nitride based ferroelectrics in neuromorphic computing and artificial visual systems,” Mondal said.

The research, Reconfigurable self-powered deep UV photodetectors based on ultrawide bandgap ferroelectric ScAlN,is published in APL Materials. A U.S. patent application for this work is currently under review.

Mondal is advised by Prof. Zetian Mi, who was the first to show that single-crystalline high quality ferroelectric III-V semiconductors can be integrated into existing platforms for a broad range of ferroelectric, electronic, optoelectronic, and photonic device applications.

Mondal is also pursuing a dual degree graduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Center for Entrepreneurship. He earned his bachelor’s degree in ECE from Kalyani Government Engineering College, India, and he is currently a member of Tau Beta Pi (the Engineering Honor Society) and Eta Kappa Nu (the ECE Honor Society). He is a board member for the ECE Graduate Student Council, and he co-led the ECE BuddEEs peer-mentorship program for 2021-2022.