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Release: Oct. 12, 2000

UI researcher receives $240,000 NSF research grant

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa researcher has received a three-year, $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a theoretical study of novel semiconductor devices.

Michael Flatté, professor in the College of Liberal Arts department of physics and astronomy and researcher in the UI Optical Science and Technology Center, will conduct the study in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and HRL Laboratories in Malibu, Calif. The work will be directed toward the design of such devices as intense infrared lasers and sensitive infrared detectors for biomedical and communications applications.

Flatté says that advances in these novel devices require advances in the understanding of "nanostructured semiconductor materials," which are artificially constructed, microscopic materials typically thinner than seven atoms wide in at least one direction. He notes that results from this theoretical work will complement ongoing efforts within the Optical Science and Technology Center to develop novel semiconductor materials for optical devices that are customized for noninvasive blood glucose sensing, real-time monitoring of fuel cell engines, and high-bandwidth wireless technology. The research will be conducted in the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories Building on the UI campus.

Earlier this year, Flatté and Thomas Boggess, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, received a two-year, $301,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratories to study materials currently used in biomedical and air pollution monitoring devices. Their work may become the foundation of the next generation of electronic devices for high-speed information processing. Flatté also received $30,000 from the U.S. Air Force to aid in the application of these materials to energy collection processes in power plants.

Boggess and Flatté, along with other UI faculty, previously collaborated in the development of a long-wavelength, infrared semiconductor laser that may be useful in non-invasive biomedical monitoring.