NSF Grant Will Further Development of High-Temperature Integrated Circuits


A die micrograph, or photograph of a semiconductor die taken by a microscope. The die is part of an integrated circuit made of silicon carbide. Photo submitted 

Engineering researchers have received an additional $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue developing integrated circuits that can survive and operate at temperatures greater than 300 degrees Celsius – equivalent to roughly 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

The integrated circuits serve as the foundation for creating commercial converters that reside within internal combustion engines. These convert high-temperature sensor data to digital form for transmission to the vehicle’s performance and emissions control computer. The technology should provide more robust data from the engine, enabling better control of the vehicle and greater fuel efficiency.

The research team, led by Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering, is one of only a few groups nationwide with extensive experience designing and fabricating integrated circuits made of silicon carbide, a semiconducting material that is more rugged than conventional materials used in electronics. Silicon carbide is a good thermal conductor, able to withstand extremely high voltage and temperatures.

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University Acquires New Supercomputer for Research Support


Trestles was deployed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center with a $2.8 million NSF grant. Courtesy of Ben Tolo, San Diego Supercomputer Center 

The National Science Foundation and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have agreed to transfer ownership of the computer cluster known as “Trestles” to the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center.

Once installed, the new supercomputer will more than double the center’s computational capacity and allow it to run three times the amount of jobs for campus researchers, said David Chaffin and Jeff Pummill, interim co-directors of the center.

“We are thrilled to acquire a prominent national resource for high performance computing,” Pummill said. “Researchers at the University of Arkansas are in a perpetual state of evolution and advancement in their computational needs, and Trestles is known throughout the national high-performance computing community as a ‘high-productivity workhorse.’”

The Arkansas High Performance Computing Center, founded in 2008, supports research for about 260 users in about 30 academic areas across the campus, including bioinformatics, physics, integrated nanoscience, computational chemistry, computational biomagnetics, materials science and spatial science, among others.

“Trestles will provide much-needed infrastructure for solving tasks such as genome assembly and other data-intensive problems,” Pummill said.

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Top 15 Faculty and Staff Grant Recipients Honored for Their Success


Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development, speaks to the crowd at the Top 15 in 2015 ceremony on April 14.

The University of Arkansas honored its “Top 15 in 2015” class of research award recipients with a reception at the School of Law on April 14.

The event recognized faculty and staff researchers who were the university’s most highly funded in fiscal year 2014.

“Through your hard work and leadership in pursuing external research funding, you have helped move our research enterprise forward and enhanced the university’s reputation as a comprehensive research institution,” Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, told the recipients.

As a group, the 15 faculty and staff researchers accounted for nearly one-third of the University of Arkansas’ total external research funding of $79 million in fiscal 2014. The $79 million figure represented a 24.8 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development, said, “For most of these researchers, their funding came from multiple awards received throughout the year. They would be the first to mention that their co-investigators and their research teams are a large factor in their success.”

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University Salutes Researchers With Nationally Competitive Awards


University of Arkansas faculty and staff who were recognized for their research awards and attended the Faculty Award Recognition Program reception on April 27.

As part of its Faculty Award Recognition Program, the University of Arkansas saluted faculty and staff who have received nationally competitive research awards at a reception on April 27 at the Frank Broyles Athletic Center.

The university frequently honors faculty members who receive awards at the institutional, college or departmental level. The award recognition program is the institution’s first coordinated effort to publicly praise those who have received nationally competitive research awards.

“I am reminded again and again that the University of Arkansas is an extraordinary place,” Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, told the group. “We have a gifted academic community and our faculty and staff are a tremendous source of our vitality. I applaud your creativity, your initiative and your discovery.”

Gaber developed the Faculty Award Recognition Program with Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development, and Ro Di Brezzo, vice provost for faculty development and enhancement.

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Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development
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The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty and staff in April, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.

  • Denise Airola, $852,508, Arkansas Department of Education
  • Stacy Goad Williams, $825,000, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department
  • Alan Mantooth, $200,000, National Science Foundation
  • Andrew F. Braham, $70,659, Arkansas State University
  • Michelle Bernhardt, $66,353, National Science Foundation



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