Francesca Cavallo, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of New Mexico, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.
Cavallo’s project is “Spintronic Devices Using Screw Dislocations in Single-Crystalline Semiconductors.” The project’s goal is to investigate the device physics of a novel spin field-effect transistor (spin-FET) while broadening the participation of deaf, Hispanics and Native Americans in nanoscience and engineering.
The work will be the first experimental study to focus on the fabrication and characterization of spin FETs that leverage screw dislocations in conventional semiconductors. A screw dislocation is a type of crystal defect that promises to act as a suitable channel for a spin transistor that operates at relevant temperatures for commercial, industrial and military applications (room temperature and above).
The improved knowledge and technological advances generated in this project will potentially accelerate very large-scale integration of high-performance spintronic devices, which is required for the practical realization of hybrid and entirely spin-based classical and quantum computers, Cavallo said.
The $500,000 award will span five years, beginning in July 2022. The work on the project will be performed at the UNM’s Center for High Technology Materials and in collaboration with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies in Albuquerque.
Cavallo will also implement an extensive educational and outreach plan to broaden the participation of deaf, Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM. Among the planned activities are experiential exhibits and workshops at the ¡Explora! learning center in Albuquerque, as well as traveling exhibits to community libraries in rural areas of New Mexico and the New Mexico School of the Deaf in Santa Fe. Cavallo said the inclusion of working with deaf students is due to the fact that she has a personal connection with the community through her son.
The NSF CAREER program is geared toward helping early-career faculty get strong starts on their academic careers. The award is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research.