The electronics we use today are based on the electrical charge of electrons. Spintronics focuses on harnessing a previously untapped property of these subatomic particles--their magnet-like spin--to carry, process and store data. Spintronic devices would offer a number of advantages over present-day gadgets, including “instant-on” computers, cell phones and other devices requiring much less power to operate.
The DEPSCoR grant will enable Appelbaum and his team to explore the use of spin transport in the semiconductor silicon to enhance the speed and design of integrated circuits for spintronics.
Last year, Appelbaum and his research group published pioneering research that successfully demonstrated electrical spin injection, transport, manipulation and detection. The research was reported in the prestigious journals Nature, Applied Physics Letters and Physical Review Letters in addition to a variety of science media and trade journals worldwide.
Earlier this year, Appelbaum received the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award for spintronics research. The highly competitive funding award, designed to support the integrated research and educational activities of faculty early in their careers, is bestowed on those scientists and engineers deemed most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.
He also recently was named the 2008 Outstanding Junior Faculty Member in the College of Engineering at UD.
Appelbaum holds a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in physics and mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University before joining the UD faculty in 2005.
He is the author or co-author of more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles.
The Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research all solicited proposals through the DEPSCoR program. A total of $15.7 million was awarded to 24 academic institutions in 18 states.
UD's Delaware Biotechnology Institute coordinates the DEPSCoR grant application process in Delaware, as well as related funding programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health.
Article by Tracey Bryant
Photo by Jon Cox