Condensed Matter Physics at Auburn University


1. Overview 

2. Faculty in this area of research:

3.Programs:


1. Overview

 

The Condensed Matter Physics Group at Auburn University is devoted to studies of materials and thin films used in state-of-the-art electronics applications.  By employing an interdisciplinary approach combining physics, electrical engineering, materials science, and physical chemistry, we are well-positioned to make important discoveries in microelectronics and nanotechnology.  Our Group is organized around four experimental laboratories and one theory effort whose charter is to push the frontiers in solid state science.

Our research focus is harsh environment electronics.  A harsh environment is one with either 1) extreme temperatures; 2) high radiation; 3) high vibration; 4) high pressure; 5) high stress; 5) corrosive surroundings.  An example would be the electronics necessary to function in a fighter aircraft, which is subject to the high temperatures of the jet engines. Conventional silicon electronics used in consumer electronics will not survive the rigors of most harsh environments and new materials and manufacturing approaches are necessary.  A number of unique approaches in our laboratory allow in-situ studies of electronic materials under these environments.

The Semiconductor Growth Laboratory (Tin) focuses on the epitaxial growth of compound and wide-bandgap materials.  The Surface Science Laboratory (Bozack) addresses the interfaces and thin films involved with microelectronics materials.  The Nanotechnology and Phototonics Laboratory (Park) looks at new approaches to manufacturing nano-sized structures and devices.  The Semiconductor Physics Laboratory (Williams) is devoted to materials and electrical studies of wide bandgap materials such as SiC and the associated dielectric materials necessary for survival in harsh environments.  The Theory Group (Dong) specializes in theoretical studies of energy bands in solids and the effects of materials under high pressure.



 2a. Faculty: Alphabetical Listing

 2b. Faculty: By Area of Research

 

Full Professor 
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The Surface Science Laboratory  addresses the interfaces and thin films involved with microelectronics materials.
 
 
 
Assistant Professor
Dhar photo 
The Semiconductor Physics Laboratory is devoted to materials and electrical studies of wide bandgap materials such as SiC and the associated dielectric materials necessary for survival in harsh environments.
Full Professor
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The Theory Group  specializes in theoretical studies of energy bands in solids and the effects of materials under high pressure.
 
Full Professor
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The Nanotechnology and Phototonics Laboratory looks at new approaches to manufacturing nano-sized structures and devices.
 
 
Full Professor
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The Semiconductor Growth Laboratory focuses on the epitaxial growth of compound and wide-bandgap materials.
 
 
 
John R. Williams
Professor Emeritus
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The Semiconductor Physics Laboratory is devoted to materials and electrical studies of wide bandgap materials such as SiC and the associated dielectric materials necessary for survival in harsh environments.
Assistant Professor
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The Theory Group  studies the electronic and thermal transport properties of nanostructures as well as the physical properties of interfaces.
 
 
 

  
  
 


3. Programs

  • Wide Band Gap Semiconductor  Auburn University has a strong wide band gap process technology program that dates to the early 1990’s. The program supports material and device development efforts of several industrial collaborators who, in turn, support the efforts of systems level designers. Our program has been or is currently supported by NASA, EPRI, DARPA,ONR, AFRL, ARL, MDA and by Cree, Inc and Kyma Technologies. Strong collaborations are maintained with Vanderbilt University, Purdue University and several other companies with wide band gap semiconductor programs (Semisouth, Dow Corning and Northrop-Grumman). Our wide band gap semiconductor program is part of the new NSF Freedom Center ( Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management) that will be funded at North Carolina State University later this year.  Passivation techniques developed in our program for the SiO2/4H-SiC interface with support from EPRI and DARPA have revived interest in SiC MOSFETs. This passivation technology is licensed to Cree, Inc (US Patent No 6,939,756 B1. Inclusion of Nitrogen at the Silicon Dioxide/Silicon Carbide Interface for the Passivation of Interfacial Defects) for 1200 V 4H-SiC MOSFETs that will be offered commercially during the coming year. Ten kilovolt 4H-MOSFETS have also been demonstrated, and IGBTs(insulated gate bipolar transistors- also for higher voltage applications)will likely be available within the next 3-6 years. IGBT development is a sub-task in the FREEDM Center’s wide band gap technology/ device development effort.  


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