The University of New Mexico’s Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM) will commemorate its 40th anniversary with a public celebration on Thursday, June 15.

Located at 1313 Goddard SE in UNM’s Science and Technology Park, CHTM is an interdisciplinary research hub with 15 faculty who serve dual appointments at the center and in academic departments across the University. The center has generated more than 268 patents and mentored more than 600 graduate students.

“In its 40 years of history, CHTM has become a successful and critical contributor to UNM’s interdisciplinary research as well as economic development activities in New Mexico,” Payman Zarkesh-Ha, director of CHTM, said. “CHTM has been and will continue to help define the future of photonics and nanotechnology at national and international levels. CHTM’s greatest days are yet to come!”

The celebration will include a discussion of the center’s history and future, a keynote presentation on progress in semiconductor-related technology, poster presentations on current research, a time capsule burial and more. The event-filled day will kick off at 9:30 a.m. with registration and a light breakfast and will wrap up around 5 p.m. after the time capsule burial.

In addition to hearing from industry experts and CHTM faculty and alumni, event attendees will also have the opportunity to tour the multi-million dollar facility including the nanofabrication cleanroom facility, growth capabilities, semiconductor characterization tools and optics labs.

CHTM is a major intellectual property (IP) contributor to UNM Rainforest Innovations, a non-profit corporation responsible for commercializing university research results and coordinating economic development opportunities.

“CHTM is one of the most prolific centers at the University, in part because it combines various disciplines and that interdisciplinary research often leads to inventions,” Lisa Kuutila, UNM Rainforest Innovations CEO, said. “The space that CHTM occupies in non-silicon-based semiconductor research is a niche for UNM that makes it one of the premier locations in the country.”

Among the center’s greatest accomplishments have been its contributions to student learning. As one of the University’s highest-level research facilities, the organization provides invaluable experience for students at education levels ranging from high school all the way through doctoral work.

“For the last 40 years, UNM’s Center for High Technology Materials has not only led the world in materials research on epitaxial growth of crystalline films, next-generation photonic and electronic materials, semiconductors, and state-of-the-art quantum materials, but CHTM scientists have also mentored and educated hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students ultimately carving the path for new generations of innovators and thinkers in this space,” said Ellen Fisher, Vice President for Research. “The research and scholarship conducted within the center is not only an invaluable part of our UNM community but a key element that helps drive science and engineering innovation to the next level, both within our state and around the globe.”

Those interested in attending are encouraged to pre-register for the event online. Media interested in attending should RSVP to Carly Bowling at

The full event agenda:

  • 10-10:45 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks
    Speakers include Payman Zarkesh-Ha, director of CHTM and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; James Holloway, provost and professor of Nuclear Engineering; Ellen Fisher, vice president for research and professor of Chemistry; and Lisa Kuutila, president and CEO of Rainforest Innovations.

  • 11-11:30 a.m. Session one: Reminiscing the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Envisioning the Future
    Steve Brueck, former CHTM director and professor emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Francesca Cavallo, associate director of CHTM and associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will talk about the organization's history and future.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Guided Tour of CHTM
    STEM enthusiasts will not want to miss the guided tour through CHTM’s laboratories and facilities.

  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch and Keynote Presentation
    Igal Brener, senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratory, will present the keynote speech about recent progress on topics in semiconductor-based optics, metamaterials, terahertz science and technology.

  • 1:30- 2:30 p.m. Session two: CHTM Through the Decades: An Alumni’s Perspective
    Former CHTM faculty and students from a number of prestigious institutions will discuss how their time at CHTM prepared them for the work they are doing now and how the institution has shifted over the years. Speakers include Mo Mojahedi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada; Ladan Arissian, deputy director of Time and Frequency at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado; and Sadhvikas J. Addamane, a senior member of technical staff CINT at Sandia National Laboratories.

  • 2:30- 4:30 p.m. Poster Session
    Learn about the current research being conducted at CHTM through a poster session with faculty and students.

  • 4:30- 5 p.m. Time Capsule Burial and Champagne Toast
    Enjoy the pinnacle of the celebration as a 40th-anniversary time capsule is buried and commemorated with closing remarks and a champagne toast.

For more information, visit CHTM