The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has awarded FIU a $4.2 million grant to research vacuum nanoelectronics and generate a new technology called Nanoscale Vacuum Field Effect (VFETs). VFETs will help improve radar signal quality and satellite-communication systems and provide higher data speeds, by using “vacuum” tubes instead of transistors for the transportation of electrical power.

Early electronics, like vintage radios, used vacuum tubes. These resembled a type of light bulb and were used to amplify and switch electrical signals. In recent decades, vacuum tubes faced stiff competition from semiconductor devices used to amplify electrical power. Semiconductors have lower fabrication costs, less energy consumption and a longer life span. Researchers have continued testing and enhancing vacuum tube properties throughout the years to discover new processing approaches to use in the semiconductor industry.

Dimitris Pavlidis, principal investigator and director of emerging research programs for FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing, along with researchers from other institutions across the nation, will, together, be developing nanoscale materials and devices, crucial for high-speed ground-based and satellite-communication systems. Nanoscale is a dimensional range of nanometers. To better understand how small a nanometer is, a single strand of hair is 100,000 nanometers. Read more at FIU News.

Air Force awards FIU $4.2 million to research vacuum nanoelectronics Dimitris Pavlidis FIU EC