EECS Ph.D. Student Received Best Student Paper Award at IEEE NEMS 2013

Tina He

Tina He, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS), mentored by Prof. Philip Feng, has won the Best Student Paper competition at the 8th IEEE International Conference on Nano/Micro Engineered & Molecular Systems (IEEE NEMS 2013), for presenting her paper entitled “Dual-Gate Silicon Carbide Nanoelectromechanical Switches”. 

In this paper, Tina and her colleagues report experimental demonstration of a new type of four-terminal nanoscale electromechanical logic switches with a novel dual-gate design in a lateral configuration, by employing polycrystalline silicon carbide (Poly-SiC) nanocantilevers with nanoscale contacts.  These switches operate very well at both room temperature and high temperature up to 500°C in ambient air.  The distributed gates, for the first time, open the possibilities for enhanced and flexible control of the electrostatic actuation and switching dynamics, and further facilitate the exploration of device recovery mechanisms when nanoscale contacts degrade or fail.  Such explorations are key to developing novel, ultra-low power switching devices that are not suffering from leakage and are uniquely suited for new computing technologies in extreme environments.  Tina’s previously published work has already demonstrated robust devices operating in ambient air with such potentials.  This latest study further sheds light on new designs and understandings toward new functionalities. 

Earlier, the conference technical program committee selected Tina’s paper as 1 of the 5 finalists for Best Student Paper Competition after the peer-review process.  At the conference, the 5 finalists were programmed in the same oral session to compete.  According to the conference final program, the conference had 3 plenary speeches, 12 keynote speeches, 33 invited talks, and over 300 papers in oral and poster presentations, with contributors from over 30 countries and regions worldwide. 

The award committee consisted of world experts and eminent researchers in micro/nano devices and systems as judges, including Chih-Ming Ho from UCLA, Lina Sarro from Delft University of Technology in Netherlands, Hans Zappe from IMTEK in Germany, Osamu Tabata from Kyoto University in Japan, Vincent Lee from National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, Wen J. Li from Hong Kong City University, and Shanhong Xia from Chinese Academy of Sciences.  According to the conference website, the competition and evaluation criteria include originality, technical strength of the paper, presentation and question-answer performance at the conference.  US winners of this award in recent years include graduate students from MEMS/NEMS research groups at Caltech, Columbia, Cornell, University of Washington in Seattle. 

Tina was the only member from the research team at Case who traveled to the conference to present the team’s work.  Part of the travel has been generously supported by Case School of Graduate Studies.  Joining Tina on this paper are her co-workers and co-authors, Rui Yang, Srihari Rajgopal, Swarup Bhunia, Mehran Mehregany, and Philip Feng, all from EECS Department at Case School of Engineering.  This work has been financially supported by DARPA MTO and NSF.  Part of Tina’s work has also been supported by a Keithley Graduate Fellowship.