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Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering Prof Earns NSF Career Award

Graugnard posing in a lab
Elton Graugnard in the lab

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $500,000 CAREER award to Elton Graugnard, an assistant professor in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering. The award, “Scalable Manufacturing of Two-dimensional Atomic Layer Materials for Energy-efficient Electronic Devices via Selective-area Atomic Layer Deposition,” aims to establish a new mode of manufacturing 2D nanomaterials, with a focus on high precision and uniformity.

“Finding a way to interface 2D nanomaterials with existing manufacturing techniques has enormous potential for improved devices in the semiconductor industry,” Graugnard said.

These 2D materials show promise for enhancing flexible and energy-efficient electronic devices, but currently there is no efficient method for manufacturing them for this type of use. Graugnard’s grant will fund research that has the potential to enable adoption of these new materials in the semiconductor industry, as well as support continued improvements in electronic device performance – for instance, information storage capacity and computational power – while lowering energy demands of these devices.

“This grant supports our research in atomic layer deposition (ALD) of two-dimensional materials, which are an exciting class of ultra-thin materials that are only a few atoms thick,” Graugnard explained. “Using ALD to make these materials has advantages for using them in industry, but conventional ALD has some severe limitations for making 2D materials. The CAREER grant supports research in a new version of ALD that we believe can make higher quality 2D materials at temperatures low enough to be useful for the semiconductor industry.  The grant also supports student participation in research, and a team of students will be working on atomic force microscopy, which is a type of microscopy used for characterizing these ultra-thin materials.”

These materials also hold promise for quantum information processing devices, in alignment with the NSF’s quantum leap effort.

Graugnard has been a faculty member in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering since 2009.