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7 October 2016

RIT awarded NSF grant for ICP-RIE etch system for photonics and nanoelectronic device R&D

Jing Zhang, an engineering faculty member at Rochester Institute of Technology, has received a $305,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to acquire an inductively coupled plasma reactive-ion etching (ICP-RIE) system for photonic, electronic and bio-device fabrication. The system strengthens RIT's fabrication capability in its Semiconductor & Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory to support new and existing multi-disciplinary research in science and engineering, to enable educational curriculum development, and be used for workforce development and training activities led by RIT's engineering college.

"There is no equipment like this close by so there was a huge need, and it will help with collaborations we have with other university and corporate researchers," says Zhang, the Kate Gleason Endowed Assistant Professor in the electrical and microelectronic engineering department in RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

"The instrument is essential to enable research and education on III-nitride-based light-emitting diodes and lasers, and other semiconductor devices. We are studying every aspect of this material, from understanding the physics to the realization of novel devices. This equipment will help with that process," says Zhang, who has been at RIT since 2014 and is part of a growing group of semiconductor materials and photonics device researchers at the university. She has expertise in ultraviolet and visible LEDs, and in developing semiconductors for optoelectronic and electronic devices.

With the emphasis on workforce development in photonics, having the new equipment also provides a key educational opportunity for training. RIT's microelectronic engineering department provides short courses in semiconductor fabrication for area high school and community college teachers and for regional company employees looking to advance knowledge in this area.

In the past year, RIT also acquired a metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy (MOVPE) system for the growth of III-V materials. The tool gives researchers the ability to fabricate optical and electronic devices and will be a key learning and training resource. This capability was once an outsourced to research laboratory partners such as NASA. Now, the in-house functionality provided by this equipment, combined with the ICP-RIE system, is available to RIT researchers as well as the regional Rochester photonics community, including partners in the consortium AIM Photonics (American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics), Zhang says.

Tags: Etch

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