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Notre Dame’s Susan Fullerton to join Pitt’s Swanson School as Assistant Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Nanoelectronics and polymer researcher is focused on next-generation electronics

Susan Fullerton PITTSBURGH (April 29, 2015) … Nanoelectronics and polymer researcher Susan Fullerton will join the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering in fall 2015. Dr. Fullerton is currently a research assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame's Department of Electrical Engineering and the Notre Dame Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano).

"We're very excited to have Susan join our department, especially because of the interdisciplinary nature of her research in next-generation electronic devices," said Steven Little, PhD , associate professor, CNG Faculty Fellow and department chair. "Her work adds a new dimension to the Department's strengths that is extremely exciting.  I look forward to her contributions." 

"A common theme in my research group is the study of polymers and polymer electrolytes for next-generation devices," Dr. Fullerton said. "The full potential of polymers in combination with two-dimensional (2D) materials is only recently being uncovered - these could be the key materials for lowering the power of a transistor. When you consider all the electronic devices that require transistors to perform logic, the potential impact of this work is tremendous, and I'm looking forward to continuing my research at Pitt and collaborating with the Swanson School faculty."

Dr. Fullerton earned her bachelor of science and PhD in chemical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on the development of materials for low-power electronics and next-generation batteries. She is a co-PI in the Center for Low Energy Systems Technology ( LEAST ), one of six STARnet centers funded by the semiconductor research corporation (SRC) and DARPA. The goal of the center is to develop low-power transistors and memory using 2D materials that are only one atom or molecule thick.  Fullerton uses polymer electrolytes to enable the exploration of new regimes of transport in the 2D materials, with the goal of developing a transistor with an operating voltage lower than traditional CMOS.  

Fullerton also uses electrolytes for the development of a 2D flash memory that would shrink memory to the ultimate limit of scaling.  Her work on this project is funded by the NSF through their GOALI program:  Grant Opportunities of Academic Liaison with Industry.  The industrial partner is Micron Technology, Inc. - a global leader in memory technology.  Fullerton and her co-PI, Alan Seabaugh (U. of Notre Dame), combine their expertise in polymer physics and device physics, respectively, using ion transport to control electron transport in graphene - a single layer of carbon atoms.

"Our goal is to move ions back and forth between two graphene sheets that are separated by only a few nanometers.  To put this in perspective, this is 10,000 times shorter than that distance ions move between the electrodes in a cell phone battery during charging and discharging."

"Ions move slowly compared to electrons, and they tend to migrate to locations where they are not wanted.  However, if the ions only need to move short distances and if their location can be precisely controlled, they can be a powerful tool for the development of next generation nanoelectronics."

About the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
The Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering serves undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the University and our industry, through education, research, and participation in professional organizations and regional/national initiatives. Our commitment to the future of the chemical process industry drives the development of educational and research programs. The Department has a tradition of excellence in education and research, evidenced by recent national awards including numerous NSF CAREER Awards, a Beckman Young Investigator Award, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award, among others. Active areas of research in the Department include Biological and Biomedical Systems; Energy and Sustainability; and Materials Modeling and Design. The faculty has a record of success in obtaining research funding such that the Department ranks within the top 25 U.S. ChE departments for Federal R&D spending in recent years with annual research expenditures exceeding $7 million. The vibrant research culture within the Department includes active collaboration with the adjacent University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for Simulation and Modeling, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering and the U.S. DOE-affiliated Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions. 


Author: Paul Kovach

Contact: Paul Kovach