Research Communications

Engineering Profs Receive NSF CAREER Grants for Nanotechnology Research 

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 25, 2011) — Two professors in Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology have won National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grants to advance their work in nanotechnology and to support student research opportunities. The highly competitive grants are the foundation’s most prestigious awards for junior faculty educators and scholars.

Assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Avinash Kodi and associate professor Wojciech Jadwisienczak will pursue separate research projects focused on advancing electronic and optoelectronic technologies. Kodi received a five-year, $407,000 grant, and Jadwisienczak was awarded a five-year, $444,000 grant.

Avinash Kodi
Avinash Kodi.

A faculty member since 2007, Kodi studies nanophotonic interconnect technology for multi-core computers. His work is focused on increasing computer performance by changing the interconnect technology through which computer chips communicate with each other.

Currently, computers contain one, two or four cores—the part of the computer that reads and executes instructions. In the near future, a single chip will include eight, 16 or 64 cores, which will need an efficient  way  to communicate with each other without slowing down the machine.

“Power consumption is one of the biggest technological hurdles we are facing today. In the next decade, this will become one of most important problems,” Kodi said. “We want our computers to work faster and perform better without using so much power.”

Wojciech Jadwisienczak
Wojciech Jadwisienczak.

Kodi’s solution is silicon photonics, which uses silicon photonic modulators and light detectors to enable faster communication between cores. He’s currently working with two graduate students on the project, but plans to expand the team to six students, including undergraduates.

“The students will benefit by learning different interconnect technologies and how they’re integrated with computing cores,” Kodi said. He explained that they will create network and nanophotonic device models and run simulations on real benchmarks in the lab, and analyze how fast they can run these benchmarks.

Jadwisienczak’s work also focuses on advancing technology. He looks at the synthesis, processing, consolidation and applications of nanoparticles and low-dimensional semiconductor composites. His work relates directly to solid state lighting, Bluetooth and DVD devices, which operate from a specific type of semiconductor.

“My research capitalizes on very critical issues that are still unresolved. The benefit might be that we come up with new solutions for these devices,” said Jadwisienczak, an Ohio University faculty member since 2001.

He conducts his research in a laser laboratory, using lasers and electric and magnetic field stimulus to test the way certain engineered materials respond optically. He has partnered with two doctoral students, five masters students and two undergraduate students. He also collaborates with other researchers on campus, including Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty members Arthur Smith and Martin Kordesch and School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty member Savas Kaya. They aim to develop their own test materials on campus.

“I’m hoping to contribute to a better understanding of the physics and materials engineering I’m working with,” Jadwisienczak said. “You don’t know what science will bring. Every day when you do the experiments, something new happens. Of course we have some clues as to how it will go, but this keeps it exciting and keeps me interested.”

Previous recipients of National Science Foundation CAREER grants in the Russ College include Doug Goetz, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and former mechanical engineering faculty Sunil Agrawal and Brian Fabien.

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