Li receives NSF CAREER Award

Project investigates novel transistor concept that can switch speed faster and use less energy

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published January 7, 2020

Huamin Li is the 10th faculty member in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to receive a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2019.  

“This CAREER award will allow Huamin to explore novel concepts to develop future generations of advanced transistors, which harness the full promise of atomically-thin, 2-D semiconductors. As such, his research is of crucial importance to the focus within our department on advanced materials for nano-electronics.”
Jonathan Bird, professor and chair
Department of Electrical Engineering
Huamin Li.

Huamin Li

Li, an assistant professor in UB’s Department of Electrical Engineering, was notified of the $500,000 award in December, and the project officially begins on March 1, 2020.

Power dissipation is a fundamental problem for nanoelectronic devices and systems. Entitled “Toward sub-60-mV/decade steep transistors using Dirac-source carrier injection and high-mobility 2D monochalcogenides,” the goal of Li’s project is to investigate a novel transistor concept that can operate with faster switching speeds and less energy consumption.

“To achieve this goal, I am exploiting the unique and fascinating carrier transport properties from two-dimensional materials such as graphene and monochalcogenides, which have a thickness less than one nanometer,” says Li.

Li’s project is important because it can provide an innovative solution to address the need for energy-efficient nanoelectronic devices; explore the untapped potential of emerging two-dimensional source and channel materials; and represent a major breakthrough in quantum science and technology for extending Moore’s law well into the quantum era.

“The CAREER award will allow Huamin to explore novel concepts to develop future generations of advanced transistors, which harness the full promise of atomically-thin, two-dimensional semiconductors. As such, his research is of crucial importance to the focus within our department on advanced materials for nanoelectronics,” said Jonathan Bird, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Li joined the University at Buffalo in 2017, where he directs the Emerging Nanoelectronics Research Group. He received his PhD from Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, Korea, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame prior to joining UB. His research interests include nanoscale electronics and optoelectronics based on low-dimensional materials. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation and NYSERDA.

Since joining UB, Li has enthusiastically participated in a variety of outreach and educational activities for K-12 students from the local community, including the school’s partnership with Westminster Community Charter School and the University-wide Science Exploration Day. With the support of his CAREER award, Li will continue to participate in these existing programs and develop new activities; for example, by collaborating with the Buffalo Museum of Science to provide hands-on activities and live demonstrations on nanoscience and nanotechnology.

His long-term career goals are to fully explore the untapped potential of two-dimensional materials for various nanoelectronic applications, and to establish a state-of-the-art laboratory that provides multidisciplinary STEM training opportunities to inspire the next generation of students to pursue careers in engineering.

Published January 8, 2020