Mina Rais-Zadeh receives 2014 ONR Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award

Rais-Zadeh’s devices are expected to enable sensors for use in harsh environment, high-speed wireless communications, and more.

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Prof. Mina Rais-Zadeh received a 2014 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for her research project, Acoustic Phonons and Their Interactions with Electrons in Gallium Nitride Ultra-fast Ultra-scaled Resonators.

This project aims to develop micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (M/NEMS) in III-V materials, with a primary emphasis on Gallium Nitride (GaN). While much of contemporary GaN research has been focused on developing next generation LEDs and power transistors, Prof. Rais-Zadeh plans to build an all-GaN Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC), which will integrate specially developed micro-resonators, filters, and oscillators with other GaN ICs.

The resulting devices are expected to enable sensors for use in harsh environment, high-speed wireless communications, high-efficiency sea-based active electronically scanned arrays (AESAs), and high-performance electronic warfare.

A key part of the research lies in understanding the phenomenon that results from the simultaneous presence of piezoelectricity and conductivity in the same crystal, using GaN resonators as test vehicles. Conventional semiconductors are not piezoelectric. The advantage of GaN-based resonators over those made out of Si or other commonly used acoustic materials is their high linearity, lower noise, and high power handling capability.

Prof. Rais-Zadeh is Director of the  Resonant MEMS Group, and thrust leader of High Frequency MEMS area in the Wireless Integrated MicroSensing & Systems (WIMS2) Center. Her research focuses on integrated RF MEMS, GaN-based micromechanical devices and sensors, resonant body transistors, MEMS-enabled ICs, wafer-level packaging and micro/nano-fabrication techniques.

Prof. Rais-Zadeh received an NSF CAREER Award, an EDS Early Career Award, a NASA Early Career Grant, and was selected to Participate in the 2013 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. More recently, she received a Best Poster Award at the 2013 Transducers Conference and a best paper award at the IEEE 14th Topical Meeting on Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems (SiRF).

About the ONR YIP

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Press Release from the Office of Naval Research – The purpose of the ONR Young Investigator Program, “is to fund early-career academic researchers – called investigators – whose scientific pursuits show exceptional promise for supporting the Department of Defense, while also promoting their professional development.

Over the years, research by YIP recipients has led to breakthroughs in nanoscience, fiber-laser systems, ultrafast optoelectronic devices and more.”

“A total of 24 YIP winners this year were selected from a competitive, diverse pool of nearly 280 candidates. They represent 19 academic institutions across the country in disciplines including machine learning, computational biology, optical and acoustic sensors, structural dynamics, material science, corrosion, fluid structure interaction, modeling and simulation, communication, robotics and neural science.”