Two professors in the University”s electrical engineering and computer science department recently received a pair of grants totaling nearly $200,000.

The grant money awarded to University Profs. Linda Katehi and David Blaauw by the Semiconductor Research Corporation and National Science Foundation is to be used to further their research.

Semiconductors are crystalline substances that can conduct electricity better than insulators but not well enough to be considered conductors.

For her efforts to design better receiver chips, which detect electromagnetic signals from the environment, and semiconductor circuits, which are used in computer chips and mobile phones, Katehi received a contract for $112,500.

“The research we are doing aims to reduce the cost (and) increase the complexity and speed of the semiconductor circuits that are being used in many applications,” said associate research scientist Saeed Mohammadi, who is working with Katehi on the project.

Besides mobile phones and computer chips, semiconductors are also used for transistors and memory devices.

Mohammadi and Katehi are also trying to design more advanced filters for the receiver chips, so that the chips can detect signals of interest more easily. A major component of the project is finding a way to integrate the parts of a receiver antennae, filters and the chip to maximize design efficiency.

“We achieve these goals by using very advanced semiconductor fabrication facilities from IBM and the one available here at EECS department,” Mohammadi said.

Mohammadi said the grant money will be used to help pay the fees required to access the microelectronic facility at EECS department as well as to support graduate students who are helping with the project.

Associate EECS Prof. David Blaauw also received a grant from the SRC for his research on semiconductor circuits, totaling $84,000.

The EECS department is well known for its semiconductor research by the SRC, which declared the Center for Automated Semiconductor Manufacturing a center of excellence.

In the third quarter of 2001, the SRC and NSF donated $9.6 million to semiconductor research.

The SRC and NSF donated money to more than 40 colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Arizona, the University of California at Berkeley, Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University.

The largest grant was awarded to Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Herbert Sawin for $397,500. The SRC and NSF are helping to fund a total of 92 research projects.

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