By Cameron Chai
Russian-born Alexander Balandin, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering will be bestowed with an international award in acknowledgement of his research in nanotechnology that can be applied in electronic devices.
Balandin is also the founder of a university Materials Science and Engineering Program. He will receive the Pioneer of Nanotechnology Award for 2011, announced the Nanotechnology Council of IEEE, formerly known as The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He will also deliver a keynote address at a conference in Portland, Oregon in mid-August. He has been with the university since 1999.
The award honors people in areas of research, development or engineering who have impacted nanotechnology. The award is in recognition of Balandin’s ‘Pioneering contributions to nanoscale phonon transport with applications in nanodevices, graphene devices, thermoelectric and thermal management of advanced electronics’.
Balandin is an expert in advanced materials, nanostructures and nano-devices. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, the International Society for Optical Engineering and the American Association for Advancement of Science.
He has been developing nanoscale phonon engineering and its applications to heat removal from electronic chips and renewable energy conversion. Phonons are nano-crystal lattices vibrations in materials that impact electrical resistance and decide the e thermal conductivity of the semiconductor materials in electronics.
In 2008, he led a team that found the high intrinsic thermal conductivity of graphene. To measure heat conduction in graphene, the team designed an optothermal method based on Raman spectroscopy. His team has also developed the low-noise top-gate single-layer graphene transistor, graphene triple mode amplifier and phase sensor. It also carried out mechanical exfoliation of thin films of topological insulators.