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Center of Excellence for Green Nanotechnologies (CEGN)

Introduction

The center of excellence for green nanotechnologies is concerned with frontier and cutting-edge research and development in the areas of nanotechnology. CEGN tackles major issues of device scaling, energy efficiency, energy generation, and energy storage faced by the electronics industry.

One of the major issues our planet is facing is climate change. Recent reports suggested that the global warming will dramatically affect the economy, agriculture, and the outbreak of diseases. In fact, recent global policies mandate a crucial transition of fossil fuel into clean and sustainable energy. In order to achieve this goal, highly efficient energy generators and energy storage devices should be implemented. Nanotechnology can offer these efficient devices by studying energy conversion at the nanoscale.

Projects

Organic photovoltaic (OPVs) can offer various advantages that other solar cells do not provide, such as the thinness, flexibility, and efficiency of the solar cells. However, up to date, the efficiency OPVs performance is considered limited compared to the silicon solar cells. The center is working on finding ways to improve the OPVs efficiency by varying the processing techniques with low cost.

Integration of III-V materials has been largely hindered by the lattice mismatch between silicon substrates and optoelectronics. In particular, GaAs nanolasers and naodetectors have proved to exhibit extraordinary properties due to their efficient electron-hole pair combination/separation. In this project, we integrate GaAs optoelectronics with silicon substrates in an attempt to produce large scale optical interconnects for on-chip optical communications. A buffer layer is used between silicon and the III-V material in order to minimize the lattice mismatch. The intended result is to grow a CVD graphene, a very thin layer that can act as a buffer layer between GaAs and Silicon.

Development of a new battery system that consists of silicon materials, such as the high capacity anode materials (4200 mAh/g), sulfur (or Lithium sulfide), and cathode (1166 mAh/g) for rechargeable secondary batteries. This battery has the potential of achieving higher capacity and energy density than mainstream batteries composed of traditional materials.

Devices that rely on the fundamental interaction of magnetic moments with electric voltages and currents in magnetic nanostructures, stand as exceptionally promising candidates for the future nonvolatile electronic memory needs. Examples of spintronic are tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) and spin transfer torque (STT), which rely on the spin-dependent tunneling and the angular momentum transfer between current and spin in a nano-magnet, respectively.

Due to their high light efficiency, superior color purity, low power consumption, large view angle, excellent flexibility, and low temperature processing, organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) are of the promising candidates for the next generation display technologies.