Semiconductor Device Physics (or a little more about me)

Semiconductor Device Physics (or a little more about me)

I know this post is a bit off topic, but there are some folks that would like to know a little bit more about my background.  As it turns out I’ve been programming computers since about 1997 (although some of my first programs date back to the late 1980’s).

Engineering vs. Programming

By the time I was ready to head to the University and go through the rigors of of getting an “education” I didn’t really want to study programming.  I decided to go much deeper, in fact, and study the atoms inside the processor of the computer.

My degree from the University of Utah is in Electrical Engineering.  During my last year I focused almost exclusively on graduate level courses and lab research in optoelectronics and semiconductor device physics.  Optoelectronics is the study of how semiconductors absorb and emit light.

Microfabrication at the University of Utah

Since the labs at the UofU didn’t have the right equipment to fabricate many optoelectronic devices, I worked on a theoretical device which we called a spinFET.  It’s a type of transistor, which differs from contemporary transistors in one significant way.  Instead of just  manipulating the charge of the electrons that carry current through the device, it would manipulate their spin too.

This opens the door to ultra low power devices that could even be manipulated to exhibit super conductive properties at room temperature.  It could also enable quantum computing and other novel applications of technology that currently aren’t possible.

The Power of Mentors

As with many things in life, success in my research and my passion to succeed in what I studied had everything to do with the talented and willing mentors around me.  My advisor Mark Miller and fellow graduate students Justin Jackson and Divesh Kapoor were awesome!

If none of that made any sense, don’t sweat it.  If you’re curious to know more about it, here’s my senior thesis which provides some of the highlights of my research.

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