2 New Profs Expand University's Nanotech Strength

Texas Instruments Funds New Chairs to Advance Revolutionary Technologies

Feb. 16, 2011

Two leading experts in the mechanics and materials of high-tech engineering have joined the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, further expanding the University’s position as a leading nanotechnology research center. 

Each of the new faculty members will be the inaugural holder of an endowed chair, both of which have been funded by Texas Instruments.

“These new faculty members will play significant roles in expanding our research capacity and our PhD programs,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel. “They are top researchers and exceptional teachers who could join the faculty of virtually any school they chose. Their decisions to come to UT Dallas provide a major boost and further validate our work toward becoming a leading national research university. We are very grateful to our donors for supporting our initiatives.”

The two new faculty members are:

  • Dr. Massimo Fischetti: Previously a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Fischetti holds a Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Nanoelectronics. He earned a PhD in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1978, and his research involves the theory of electronic transport in semiconductors and the limits of semiconductor scaling.
  • Dr. Julia W.P. Hsu: Previously a scientist in the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Labs, Hsu also will hold a Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Nanoelectronics. She earned a PhD in physics from Stanford University in 1991, and her research focuses on interfacial phenomena in organic-inorganic hybrid systems, the structure and electrical properties of self-assembled monolayers, and the chemical patterning of surfaces using conventional and soft lithographic techniques.

“By investing TI’s dollars and leveraging additional state and University funds, we’ve helped recruit outstanding professors who will attract additional research funding and further efforts by UT Dallas to become a Tier One research university,” said Dr. Robert Doering, a Texas Instruments senior fellow.

“Their presence will bring other top researchers and will ultimately spark advances enabled by nanoelectronics,” he added. “Just as the integrated circuit revolutionized the size and performance of electronic devices and led the way to personal computers, cell phones and today’s other ubiquitous technologies, nanoelectronics research gives us hope for a future where technology revolutions will impact the world in ways that we can only begin to imagine.”

Both new faculty are highly productive researchers. Fischetti spent more than 20 years at IBM’s acclaimed T.J. Watson Research Center before joining UMass Amherst six years ago. And in addition to Hsu’s recent work at Sandia National Labs on next-generation solar energy technology, she was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories for four years and spent six years on the faculty of the University of Virginia prior to that.

“Top researchers always bring the excitement of their research into the classroom, and these faculty will not only contribute to our objectives as an emerging research university but also help attract the best and brightest students into the engineering profession,” said Dr. Mark W. Spong, dean of the Jonsson School and holder of the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering.

The two TI-funded chairs spring from the Texas Nanotechnology Research Superiority Initiative (TNRSI), a proposal to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in 2006 led by TI and UT Dallas. TI committed $5 million to that effort, creating four endowed chairs – three at UT Dallas and one at UT Arlington – and the company subsequently also endowed a chair at UT Dallas as part of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence, known as TxACE.

TNRSI was instrumental in attracting the $30 million Semiconductor Research Corp. South West Academy of Nanoelectronics (SWAN) to Texas. Based at the Microelectronics Research Center at UT Austin, SWAN is a private-public collaboration designed to advance nanoelectronics education, research, commercialization and manufacturing. It also helps coordinate collaborative activities among Texas nanotechnology researchers.

“This has been a key opportunity for us to become a leader in nanoelectronics,” said Dr. Bruce Gnade, UT Dallas vice president for research. “TNRSI and SWAN have given us the ability to attract extraordinarily qualified people, and now we can stake claim to being one of the top nanoelectronics research universities in the United States.”

Hsu and Fischetti, he added, are particularly apt choices as new faculty. Not only does their work complement research already being done in the University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering but they complement one another as well: Fischetti works at a theoretical level, and Hsu fabricates new semiconductor devices.

“And TI was instrumental in making this happen,” Gnade said.


Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Dr. Massimo FischettiDr. Massimo Fischetti was previously a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Julia HsuDr. Julia Hsu had worked as a scientist at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Labs.

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