Building Better Electronic Devices

The development of the silicon chip forever changed the field of electronics and the world at large. From computers to cellphones to digital home appliances, the silicon chip has become an inextricable part of the structure of our society. However, as silicon begins to reach its limits many researchers are looking for new materials to continue the electronics revolution.

Fan Ren, Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida and Technical Editor of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, has based his career in the field of electronics and semiconductor devices. From his time at Bell Labs through today, Ren has witnessed much change in the field.

Future of Electronics

Upon coming to the United States from Taiwan, Ren was hired by Bell Labs. This hub of innovation had a major impact on Ren and his work, and is where he first got his hands-on semiconductor research. During this time, silicon was the major player as far as electronic materials went. While electronics have transformed since that time, the materials used to create integrated circuits have essentially stayed the same.

People keep saying of other semiconductors, “This will be the material for the next generation of devices,” says Ren. “However, it hasn’t really changed. Silicon is still dominating.”


Two ECS Members Win Professorship Awards

Two key ECS members have recently received prestigious professorship awards from the University of Florida’s Department of Chemical Engineering. The department has recognized Mark Orazem and Fan Ren for their outstanding commitment to education and innovative research in chemical engineering.

Orazem_2011_cmykMark Orazem was awarded the ExxonMobil Gator Chemical Engineering Alumni Professorship for his excellence in research and tremendous impact in academia. Orazem, an ECS Fellow, joined the Society in 1978 and has previously been recognized for his excellence in student impact in 2012 when he received the ECS Henry B. Linford Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Orazem is a recognized expert on impedance spectroscopy. His research helps to provide valuable insight into such diverse systems as batteries, fuel cells, corroding metals, and human skin. His research ranges in scope—from assisting in the development of biosensors for companies such as Medtronic to engineering dewatering mining waste streams for Mosaic. He served for ten years as an associate editor for the Journal of The Electrochemical Society and authored the seminal Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy.

(PS: You can take a course instructed by him at the 228th ECS Meeting!)

Ren_FanFan Ren was awarded the Fred and Bonnie Edie Professorship, representing the highest standards of chemical engineering and serving as a role model for students. Ren is an ECS Fellow and an active member of the ECS Electronics & Photonics Division.

His groundbreaking research centers around electronic material and devices, where he pioneered the use of wide bandgap semiconductor sensors for chemical and biological detections. His acceptance lecture upon receiving the Gordon E. Moore Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Solid State Science and Technology in 2013 focused on this topic of researcher, detailing the cross-section between semiconductors and biosensors for medical applications such as glucose monitoring, biomarker detection for infectious diseases, and cancer diagnosis.