Posted: October 12, 2007

NYSTAR grant recruits nanotechnology expert to University at Buffalo

(Nanowerk News) The University at Buffalo has received a $750,000 grant from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) to recruit an internationally known scientist in nanotechnology.
Gottfried Strasser, Ph.D., will have a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Strasser, who has pioneered both fundamental and applied nanotech advances in electronic and photonic devices, will use the NYSTAR award to establish an advanced technological foundry at UB, a critical component for highly competitive nanotechnology research programs.
Before joining the UB faculty in September, he was an associate professor at the Solid State Electronics Institute at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria.
The grant will enable UB researchers throughout the university to begin fabricating a broad range of nanotech devices, such as nanostructured emitters and detectors. This will boost cross-disciplinary synergies and drive future collaborations in the development of new nanotechnologies with industrial partners and spin-off companies.
"This NYSTAR grant is critical to the UB 2020 strategic strength in integrated nanostructured systems," said Jorge V. José, Ph.D., UB vice president for research.
"People who can make novel, nanostructured materials and devices play an important role in the research agenda in this field. UB already has a strong base in nanomaterials characterization and Dr. Strasser will find many productive on-campus collaborations to explore and exploit the new properties that will undoubtedly arise from his novel fabrication efforts. Without the NYSTAR grant, it would have been difficult to complete this recruitment; it dramatically enhances our UB 2020 integrated nanostructured systems strategic strength projections for the future."
The main purpose for the new UB facility is to develop processing technologies to manufacture marketable devices in the mid-infrared and THz (terahertz) quantum cascade lasers, devices with direct applications in spectroscopy, remote gas sensing, medicine, security and surveillance, pollution monitoring process control and advanced communication systems.
The foundry will allow UB faculty to push their nanotech innovations to the next level, Strasser explained. Further, the facility will serve a broad range of fields including optoelectronics, terahertz devices, spintronics, ultrashort spectroscopy, mesascopic physics, nanotechnology and analytical chemistry.
"To demonstrate novel device concepts or even prototypes, state-of-the-art material growth and processing capabilities are necessary," he said. "This facility will make it possible to bring ideas from the white board into the lab, to grow and fabricate devices and to interactively foster collaboration within the university and beyond."
The UB foundry is expected to be in operation by fall 2008. It will consist of a facility for growing crystals in the Department of Physics, as well as a clean-room facility in the Department of Electrical Engineering for processing new materials. The facilities will cover the entire technological cycle, including nanostructure growth, processing, device fabrication and characterization.
A key interest area will be devices in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Terahertz spectroscopic and imaging capabilities hold enormous potential for national security applications, such as more precise identification of concealed weapons and more targeted screening of diseases, but THz sources and detectors have been, up to now, notoriously difficult to use, providing insufficient power or sensitivity.
Strasser, who has authored hundreds of research papers in major scientific journals, is known world-wide for his development of quantum cascade devices, nanostructured devices that significantly boost output power of terahertz sources.
The new technological foundry Strasser will oversee at UB will help facilitate the research programs of faculty in the departments of physics, chemistry, electrical engineering and chemical and biological engineering, who are already working in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
In his previous positions at University Innsbruck, Technical University of Munich and Technical University of Vienna, Strasser established clean-room facilities for cutting-edge technologies.
He has conducted research in semiconductor electronics, optoelectronics and nanotechnology of advanced materials and devices. His applied research has focused on the conceptual design, realization and optimization of semiconductor devices and systems, some of which are already being used by high-tech companies for fine spectroscopic measurements, chemical analysis of complex processes and monitoring of production lines.
Among Strasser's most notable accomplishments are his major developments in the area of quantum cascade laser devices, which may well provide the compact, room-temperature, high-power semiconductor source that has been lacking for terahertz applications in medical diagnostics, homeland security and physics research.
In previous years, NYSTAR awarded a faculty development award and another faculty recruitment award, also in the field of nanotechnology, to UB's Department of Electrical Engineering.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
Source: University at Buffalo