Xiaodong Xu Wins NSF Career Award

Xiaodong Xu, assistant professor in MSE and Physics, has won a 5-year, $700,000 NSF Career Award from the National Science Foundation to support his research into the quantum electronic and optoelectronic phenomena of graphene. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.


Prof. Xu's award abstract: As silicon technology faces fundamental limits, breakthroughs in electronics are likely to rely on other materials which allow the exploitation of features and concepts not available in the silicon/oxide system. One promising system is graphene, a single layer of graphite. What sets graphene apart from conventional semiconductors is that the electrons in the graphene behave like photons, traveling with an effective speed just 300 times smaller than the speed of light. This unique feature gives graphene superior physical properties for potential new electronic applications. This project will exploit the novel electronic and optical properties of graphene through a combination of material synthesis, device fabrication, and optoelectronic measurements. In particularly, electron dynamics will be probed by ultrafast laser pulses with a pulse width 13 orders of magnitude smaller than one second. The obtained physical understanding of this technologically important material may lead to high-speed and low power-consumption electronics, broadband communication, new sensing technologies, and photovoltaics. The proposed multidisciplinary research program provides an excellent platform for undergraduate and graduate students to learn physics, device engineering, and materials science, and for post-doctoral researchers to gain professional experience.

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