2008 Distinguished achievement award: Chia-Hong Jan

// Materials Science & Engineering

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Chia-Hong Jan 
Senior Principal Engineer, Program Manager
Intel Corporation
MSEMS ’88, MSEPhD ’91
Hillsboro, Oregon

When Chia-Hong Jan’s daughters ask him what he does at work, he points to their laptops and cell phones and lists a variety of features, from Wi-Fi to gigahertz processors, that exist because of his work at Intel.

As a senior principal engineer and program manager, Jan manages Intel’s most advanced 32 nanometer complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) system-on-a-chip process technologies using high dielectric constant (high-k) and metal gate transistor architecture. High-k materials will build the next generation of tiny, yet powerful transistors for use in mobile Internet devices and several consumer electronics.

Jan, who originally is from Taiwan, came to Madison in 1986 with his wife, Chyong-Huey Lin. Jan obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s of business administration from the National Taiwan University. He entered the materials science and engineering department at UW-Madison to gain a better understanding of solid-state materials and obtained his PhD in 1991 under Professor Y. Austin Chang. His wife obtained her doctorate in chemical engineering the same year.

Jan’s solid academic background—he maintained a 4.0 grade-point average in graduate school—led to a position with Intel in 1993 in Portland, Oregon. His record of achievement has continued: Jan holds 33 U.S. patents with seven pending.

Jan was recognized with Intel’s highest individual achievement award in 2004 for his work integrating low-k interlayer dielectric (ILD) interconnects into silicon CMOS. ILD interconnects isolate conducting materials in a semiconductor, and this technology put Intel a year ahead of its competitors. In 2007, Jan’s team won an achievement award for saving Intel more than $1 billion through its efforts on 65-nanometer system-on-a-chip technology.

Jan is passionate about his work because he sees the effects of his research in the consumer world quickly: Intel keeps up with Moore’s law, which predicts the number of transistors on a chip will double every two years.

Outside of work, Jan keeps his competitive spirit alive as a sports enthusiast. He plays basketball and soccer and recently has begun running. Additionally, Jan enjoys cooking; he sees the process of finding and perfecting recipes as a blend of art and engineering.

Jan and Lin have two daughters, and the family frequently travels around the world. Cathy is 21 and studies electrical engineering at Yale. Irina is 12. Between the two of them, Cathy and Irina have claimed the Oregon state gymnastics championship five times.