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Ma earns UW-Madison fellowship, other funding

Electrical and Computer Engineering and Engineering Physics Professor Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma has received the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship. Funded by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the fellowship recognizes outstanding research and is intended to provide career support for faculty on track towards a tenured position. Ma is only the 12th engineering faculty member to receive the award since the first honors in 1985. "This precious funding will be for the most critical things,” says Ma. “I’ll be using it to coordinate international collaborations and to hire exceptional students to help initiate new research directions."

Co-funded with $850,000 from the Army and the Navy, Ma will study diamond bipolar junction transistors. While diamond has many appealing properties as a semiconductor, traditional doping hasn’t worked to make it a workable material. Ma has developed a new technique for doping diamond, which he will apply to the development of diamond PN junctions and transistors. Ma also received $350,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop scaled-up fast flexible electronics. Based on single-crystal semiconductor nanomembranes, Ma’s electronics will deliver performance on par with their rigid-chip brethren, with the added flexibility of fitting inside of future wireless technology, radar systems, biomedical devices, or anywhere else that tight, uneven surfaces might make rigid circuit boards less than ideal. Ma will refine the fabrication and printing techniques used to create nanomembrane-based electronics, and in the process he also will demonstrate both the commercial and military applications of important components of phased array antennas.

Mark Riechers