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25 March 2008


MIT’s Palacios awarded Deshpande Innovation Grant

In its spring 2008 round of research grants, the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has awarded a total of $500,000 to seven MIT research teams working on early-stage discoveries.

Each spring and fall, the Deshpande Center awards $50,000 Ignition Grants, which fund proof-of-concept explorations, and $50,000-250,000 Innovation Grants to help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. Since 2002, it has provided about $8.8m in such grants to 75 MIT research projects, and 14 start-ups have spun out of the center.

In a renewal of a spring 2007 Ignition G rant, recipients of spring 2008 Innovation Grants include Tomás Palacios, assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science since September 2006 and a member of the Microsystems Technology Laboratory, for work on a new approach to fabrication technology for gallium nitride high-electron-mobility transistors (GaN HEMTs) using low-cost silicon wafers (rather than silicon carbide). The aim is to reduce the cost and improve the performance of electronic devices (which is currently limited by the high electrical conductivity and poor thermal conductivity of the silicon substrate).

Palacios has been working on wide-bandgap semiconductors for more than eight years regarding: power amplification at frequencies above 100GHz; digital electronics in a beyond-silicon scenerio; new concepts for biosensors and devices; and high-temperature electronics, power generation and conversion.

Palacios joined the Polytechnic University of Madrid’s Institute for Systems based on Optoelectronics and Microtechnology (ISOM) in Spain in 1997, where he worked as a research assistant on ultraviolet photodetectors, surface acoustic wave filters and HEMTs. In 2002, he joined professor Mishra's group at the University of California - Santa Barbara, where he developed nitride-based transistors for millimeter-wave applications, obtaining MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Other awards received by Palacios in the last few years include the Young Researcher Award at the 6th International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors (ICNS) and the Best Student Paper Award at the 63rd IEEE Device Research Conference in 2005.

See related item:

MIT’s Deshpande Center awards grant for GaN-on-silicon HEMT project

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