Every day, millions of people worldwide will type a text, make a phone call, surf the web or send an email on a sleek smartphone. The compact nature of these devices may be convenient, but maintaining power and functionality in increasingly smaller packaging is keeping researchers busy.

David Lederman, Robert L. Carroll Professor of Physics at West Virginia University, has received a grant for $145,000 from the Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering Center for his research of new materials that will adapt to the changing technology in future iterations of iPods, cell phones, flash drives and other computing products. The center, led by the University of California – Los Angeles, is one of six university-based research centers established by the Semiconductor Research Corporation and DARPA through its Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network, known as STARnet.

Computers are made up of millions of tiny basic units of information, or “bits” that store information used in computing.

However, as devices and computers get smaller, scientists are hitting the fundamental limitations of silicon and other materials used to store and read information. As the devices get smaller, more electricity is expected to travel through a smaller space. This creates less space for heat created by the electricity to dissipate, making the device slower and energy inefficient.

Lederman’s research combines alloys, or random combinations of materials, with artificial thin film crystals made in the laboratory to create new materials that can function within a small volume at room temperature with little heat loss.

Lederman is one of 11 professors working under “Theme 1 – Multiferroic & Multifunctional Materials” of the Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering Center. Also among his peers in Theme 1 are professors from Yale University, Columbia University, the University of California – Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and the University of California – Santa Barbara.

For more information, contact David Lederman, at 304-293-5136 or David.Lederman@mail.wvu.edu



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