Contacts: Sang M. Han, 277-5431 or
Michael Padilla, 277-1816

April 18, 2001

UNM PROFESSOR RECEIVES NSF CAREER AWARD TO RESEARCH SUBMICRON SURFACES

Sang M. Han at his Chemical and Nuclear Engineering lab. Photo by Michael Padilla.Sang M. Han, assistant professor in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at the University of New Mexico, has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. Han’s research, “In Situ Real Time Monitoring of Interfacial Phenomena,” focuses on three main areas: growing light emitting crystalline semiconductors; making microprocessors go faster; and prolonging the lifetime of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Han said his research will help the electronics industry.

“The revolutionary pace of changes in the electronics industry has relied on a trial-and-error approach in developing new products and processes,” Han said. “However, the conventional approach lends itself to heavy material consumption and excess person-hours.”

He said in order to reduce the time and capital spent on developing new products and processes, research needs to be focused on fundamentally understanding the surface phenomena occurring on metal, semiconductor and insulator films. A number of diagnostic tools will be used in situ and in real time, which translates to “simultaneously in place and on the fly,” to probe the interfacial chemistry and physics occurring on thin films immersed in gas, liquid and plasma.

“The real-time techniques provide dynamic information unattainable otherwise,” Han said, adding that in situ diagnostics encompass both conventional and latest techniques including optical emission spectroscopy, appearance ionization mass spectroscopy, angle-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, multiple internal reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

“These tools will be utilized to extract three main elements of heterogeneous phenomena: amount of reactive neutrals and ions impinging on subject films, pre-reaction surface coverage of adspecies that influence adsorption probabilities of impinging reactants, and post-reaction surface coverage of reaction products that remain on film services,” he said.

The three elements would help close the information loop in characterizing the complex surface phenomena that take place during thin film deposition and etching, he said. In essence, the three bits of information give snapshots of an event, which can be put together to provide a short motion picture. Han’s research will potentially help provide the general public with tangible products such as brighter screens in major ballparks, faster computers, and reliable air-bag deployment sensors.

Han earned his BS and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California-Berkeley and Santa Barbara. Following graduation, Han returned to his alma mater to conduct post-doctoral research in the areas of surface science. Before joining the Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at UNM in April 2000, he conducted additional post-doctoral research at Lam Research Corporation in Fremont, Calif.

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