by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published January 10, 2022
Materials scientist Baishakhi Mazumder received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, which will support her research to improve electrical conductivity in ultrawide band gap semiconductors.
Her research has the potential to improve the performance of a wide range of consumer electronics and appliances, all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, and extraction and conversion of renewable energy sources by saving energy, which significantly reduces costs, and ultimately benefits both the economy and the environment.
The prestigious award supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.
“This award reflects Baishakhi’s innovative work in atomic scale chemical imaging and its application to addressing fundamental studies in the role of defects in complex materials,” says Krishna Rajan, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Erich Bloch Chair of the Department of Materials Design and Innovation (MDI). “It is a milestone for MDI to have its first NSF CAREER award winner within the first five years of its inception. Baishakhi’s achievement reflects the extraordinary quality of inaugural faculty who are building MDI.”
Mazumder, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Design and Innovation, received the $642,450 award for her project, entitled “Atomic scale understanding of the doping incorporation and transport properties in ultrawide band gap semiconductors,” from NSF’s Division of Materials Research.
“The potential material system for revolutionizing power electronics components is ultrawide band gap semiconductors, a class of semiconductors with large band gap energy. Enhancing their performance relies on understanding the mechanisms to efficiently generate and control charge carriers and how these carriers interact within the materials,” says Mazumder. “My work seeks to understand what really happens at the scale of charge carriers and microstructures within these material systems, including the dopant-defect interaction and how these atomic scale features affect the electrical functionalities.”
She plans to develop a novel approach to integrate atom probe tomography with statistical and machine learning modeling on atomic-scale data. The aim is to establish a direct link between microstructures and electrical conductivity that is difficult to identify and mitigate with currently available methodologies.
With support from the CAREER award, Mazumder will incorporate her findings into her courses by emphasizing multidisciplinary approaches to engineering concepts and connecting them to real-world applications.
“I strive to inspire students at undergraduate and graduate levels, especially women and underrepresented minorities, to pursue a career in materials science and engineering by exposing them to the exciting development of advanced materials to solve important societal problems,” says Mazumder.
A specialist in material characterization using Atom Probe Tomography (APT) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), with an emphasis on structure-property correlation of advanced materials, Mazumder’s research focuses on solving complex material science related problems using advanced microscopy.
In addition to her CAREER award, Mazumder has received an NSF grant entitled “Atomic scale to micro scale understanding of low temperature degradation mechanism in zirconia-based ceramics.” She has published 58 journal articles, three of which have been selected as “Editor Picks” and “Featured article” in Applied Physics Letters, and an invited “Early Scholar” article in the Journal of Materials Research.
Mazumder joined the University at Buffalo in 2017. Prior to that, she was a material scientist at Intel Corporation, a research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her PhD from the Université de Rouen, France, in December 2010.
The Department of Materials Design and Innovation was established in 2015 as a collaboration between the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Its educational and research program is dedicated to training materials scientists and engineers in the methods of data driven discovery, design and innovation.
Spurred by an endowment from UB alumnus Erich Bloch, former director of the National Science Foundation, vice president of IBM and Medal of Technology and Innovation holder, MDI was launched with the goal of establishing a new paradigm for research and education. The department was built in five years, hiring an entirely new entourage of faculty and establishing a unique graduate and undergraduate curriculum to educate a new genre of material scientists.