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University of Minnesota awarded $28 million grant to lead microelectronics development

The University of Minnesota announced today that it has been awarded a $28 million grant over five years to lead a new national research center focused on developing the next generation of microelectronics. About one-third of the grant will support research in Minnesota.

The grant was awarded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation, a global research collaboration of private companies, universities and government agencies, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Minnesota is one of only six lead universities to receive funding through the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network (STARnet) initiative aimed at supporting continued growth and leadership of the U.S. semiconductor industry.

The new Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces, and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) at the University of Minnesota will bring together top researchers from across the nation to develop technologies for spin-based computing and memory systems. Unlike today's computers, which function on the basis of electrical charges moving across wires, the emerging spin-based computing systems will process and store information through spin, a fundamental property of electrons.

"The incredible ability to scale semiconductor technology, an electron-charge-based technology, has led to the information revolution of the past half-century," said C-SPIN's director Jian-Ping Wang, an electrical and computer engineering professor in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering. "However, today's semiconductor technology is reaching its fundamental limits in terms of density and power consumption. Spin-based logic and memory based on the hybridization of magnetic materials and semiconductors have the potential to create computers that are smaller, faster and more energy-efficient than conventional charge-based systems."

The research will also have an impact beyond the world of computer science and engineering resulting in advances in nanotechnology, materials science, physics, chemistry, circuit design, and many other fields, Wang said.

"This new center is just one example of how research at the University of Minnesota can help boost the economy locally and globally," said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. "This center will bring together the nation's best minds in spintronics to push the boundaries of research and develop new discoveries that will benefit all of us."

C-SPIN is headquartered at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and will fund research for 31 leading experts from 14 universities working in six scientific disciplines. C-SPIN will also fund research from more than 60 doctoral and post-doctoral students and host industry researchers-in-residence.

Contact: Rhonda Zurn
University of Minnesota

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