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They have every talent to make strong impact in the nano-electronics research. We just need to groom them properly.

Created on: Sep 10, 2013 23:20 pm

Sharif Md. Sadaf

PhD Candidate, Nano-electronic materials and devices, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engg
McGill University, Canada

What is your Research Field? In brief.

Presently, I am pursuing PhD in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engg. at McGill University, Canada. At McGill University, we are a vertically integrated research group that spans from nanomaterial’s growth, characterization, physics, to device design, fabrication, and testing.

We develop our own materials, mostly InGaN nanowire heterostructures, using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Materials prepared using this method exhibit the highest purity and quality. My specific research topic is III-V nitride based light emitting diodes (LED) for solid state lighting applications. This topic essentially involves the knowledge of materials science and electrical engineering. We have investigated the epitaxial growth, fabrication, and characterization of self-organized InGaN/GaN dot-in-a-wire LEDs on Si substrate. Such unique nanowire heterostructures are nearly free of dislocations and can exhibit high efficiency emission in the entire visible spectrum range. We have further demonstrated large area, phosphor-free white LEDs that can exhibit highly stable, efficient emission characteristics. In addition to have solid materials science background, You have to have some electrical engineering knowledge to make appreciable progress.

Why did you choose this? How did you choose?

Well, when I was an undergraduate student, I tried to find possible research avenues for fresh materials science graduates. As you may know there are numerous research topics that are available to explore. Among these, I was particularly interested in semiconductors /electronic materials. Since my inclination was toward that topic I had been enthusiastically searching some good research groups. However, I was also keen to get involved in a funded program. In My Masters, I worked on semiconductor non-volatile memory devices more specifically on resistive random access memory (ReRAM) to replace existing flash based memory to ensure high memory density and longer data retention time (10 years). So, during that period I become well acquainted with semiconductor device physics, semiconductor processing tools and also characterizations tools that eventually helped me to get into my current topic.

Which other subjects are required to take this as a research topic/ thesis topic?

For this, you would need to have fundamental knowledge about elementary materials science and solid state device physics. During the research you can also study some other courses depending upon the need. I do believe that to be a good materials scientist as well as a researcher one has to be very good at physics , chemistry and mathematics. Furthermore, If you know some software’s for instance, MATLAB, COMSOL, PSPICE or VASP it will help you a lot, especially if your research involves simulation and design.

How is the prospect of this subject worldwide? How is the demand? How is the funding and interest of governments or universities?

As I have mentioned earlier I am working on GaN based devices for lighting, GaN is considered as a material that would replace Si from the IC market in the near future. So, employing this novel material and also novel nano-fabrication techniques one can get involved in diverse applications ranging from Photonics, Solid state lighting, Solar cells (Energy), Light emitting diodes (LED) , LASERs , thin film or nanowire transistor.

Which varsities are working on this topic? Where may students go to research for this topic?

There are many universities, also some research institutes are actively working on these topics, for example in the United States MIT, UC Berkeley, Arizona State Uni, UC Santabarbara, UCLA  etc, In Canada, McGill Uni , Waterloo Uni , In Germany , RWTH Aachen, TU Munich, TU Berlin etc . and in Japan and Korea many universities are very active in this sort of research. also students can find their places in reputed industries and research institues like Intel, Samsung, IBM Global Foundries, IMEC, Texas instruments (TI), STMicroelectronics  after pursuing Masters/PhD

Where did you go? Please tell us something about your works/ experiences of your difficulties you faced/ achievements you got/ your adherence to the subject and research, also about your professor and his comments on you.

My inolvment inthis research got started when I joined semiconductor integrated device and process (SIDP) lab in GIST, S. Korea. So I have been actively involved in this research for about 4 years. During this time period , I attended many prestigious conferences , for example, Solid state devices and materials (SSDM), Japan , Korean Conference on Semiconductor (KCS), S. Korea, Electronic materials Conference (EMC) , USA. I visited Interuniversity microelectronics center (IMEC) , Belgium as a visiting research fellow, and  also currently as a PhD student in Nanoelectronics Lab at McGill University have given me a plenty of opportunities to glean  research experiences at different research atmospheres and  flourish myself as a mature researcher. Within this time period I published journal papers in prominent journals, from my point of view, publishing is very important to sustain in the modern scientific world. I worked with two different research groups in different countries, My MS supervisor was very smart, his focus is to improve device properties and commercialize devices in the IC market. He emphasizes less on physics. On the other hand, my PhD supervisor is more focused on the new design using quantum dots in nanowires. He emphasizes much less on the commercialization.

What is the most recent work of you on this? What are you doing after your PhD?

This is a difficult question; I have not yet decided my mind. But if I can finish my PhD successfully I will certainly try to get into leading industries like Intel. Recently I did work on polarization doped nanowire LEDs, polarization doping is fundamentally a new technique. I am trying to implement it in nanowires to enhance carrier (hole) concentrations in the wide band gap semiconductors which is rather difficult by thermal ionization. Also I am trying to implement tunnel junction in nanowire LEDs (previously demonstrated in thin film Solar cell), this tunnel junction also reduces the device resitance thereby will improve light output power.

Is there any prospect of this topic or any chance of implementing the research’s finding in Bangladesh?

To be very frank , we are not  at all in a position to do semiconductor research in Bangladesh right now. But I know some Profs are doing very good research in a closely related topics. For example, Prof. Zahid Hasan Mahmood from DU is doing excellent work collaborating with Atomic energy commission. They have reasonably good semiconductor processing tools in Savar. However, we can start some works with the available tools; also we can buy some new tools like sputtering and some semiconductor parameter analyzers (I-V, C-V measurements) which will help us a long way to initiate semiconductor research and also these tools are reasonably cheap.

Should more students go for this topic? What may the students expect from this?   

Of course, This is a nice topic to explore and also students will taste quantum physics, device physics and some other amazing avenues of modern nano-electronics.

How do you think that all the information you are providing from your experience might help current students?

Students need motivation and information. They have every talent to make strong impact in the state-of-the-art nano-electronics research. We just need to groom them properly.

How do you evaluate this idea of helping students through this website?

This is indeed an excellent effort. I do believe that information is the key. If students know proper way to go through and they have the motivation for research and higher studies they will certainly make a big impact in the coming years. Also we should inspire students to look into different and expanding research fields so that they can make their presence felt both in academia and industries. I wish every success of the youngsters.