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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Troy Resident Honored With Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

March 2, 2001

Troy Resident Honored With Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Partha Dutta’s Research Will Advance the Field of Optoelectronics

Troy, N.Y. — Partha Dutta, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, was awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. He is among the first Rensselaer faculty to be awarded the honor in 2001. The award is one of the NSF's most competitive and prestigious, and is given to young faculty members actively engaged in research and education.

Eight Rensselaer faculty were honored with CAREER awards last year — a record for the Institute. Rensselaer and Cornell University tied for having the most CAREER award winners in New York state with eight apiece, according to the NSF. Bolstered by those numbers, New York jumped to second in the nation in the total number of CAREER awards for the state.

Dutta, a resident of Troy, received a five-year, $375,000 grant in part to set up new equipment to make semiconductor materials that can be used for optoelectronics, high-speed electronics, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). He expects the substrate engineering reactor to be assembled by the end of 2001, with testing to begin as soon as it is running.

Dutta, who joined the Rensselaer faculty in July 2000, developed and tested a new fundamental technique for making semiconductor substrates and filed a patent last year. Combined with the right equipment, this new technique will dramatically reduce the time needed to create the three-, four-, or five-component alloys necessary for more advanced semiconductor technology. Currently two-component alloys are the most common and commercially available substrate materials.

Computer modeling will allow Dutta to identify unique materials growth and processing parameters that will yield predicted results, all in the course of an afternoon. Current procedures for developing new materials can take several months or even years. Dutta will be able to create new devices for numerous applications, including infrared imaging, low-power high-speed electronics, power electronics, tandem photovoltaics and thermophotovoltaics, and quantum computing.

In addition, undergraduates from various engineering departments will have the opportunity to participate in Dutta's research projects that previously required specialized skills.

Contact: Patricia Azriel
Phone: (518) 276-6531
E-mail: N/A