Nam Earns NSF BRITE Award for Atomically Thin Semiconductors

SungWoo Nam

March 17, 2022 SungWoo Nam, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, received a 2022 Boosting Research Ideas for Transformative and Equitable Advances in Engineering (BRITE) Pivot award from the National Science Foundation.

The NSF’s BRITE program enables experienced researchers and scholars to forge new directions or enter new fields by branching out of their established knowledge domains. Specifically, the BRITE Pivot Track helps researchers quickly adapt to the fast-moving pace of research and create new knowledge and research products in their field by infusing new concepts from a different discipline or subfield.

Nam will receive $525,570 over three years to support his project titled “Dynamic Strain Engineering of Atomically Thin Semiconductors,” in which he seeks to rethink approaches behind device concept, manufacturing, architecture, energy efficiency, and modeling and simulation.

As part of the award, Nam will receive training in design, fabrication and characterization of high-frequency micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) as a visiting researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) during the summer.

“The research field is changing so dynamically,” said Nam. “I’m grateful the NSF is recognizing the value of exploring new things and providing the opportunity to do so.”

Nam’s graduate students will also be exposed to JPL’s collaborative environment and mentoring. Additionally, he will use the award to engage minorities, women, veterans and high school students in nanoengineering research through summer opportunities and field trips.

Nam’s main research focuses on deformation engineering of atomically thin semiconductors. The BRITE Pivot program will support his new training in high frequency MEMS for dynamic deformation. Looking at dynamic strains or deformations of extremely thin semiconductors can lead to better understanding and breakthroughs for devices that rely on semiconductors.

“At the end of the day, I’m interested in developing new types of semiconducting devices utilizing dynamic strain,” said Nam. “Most importantly, I am excited to share this opportunity with students.”

– Tonya Becerra