SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame has received two grants totaling $3.55 million for its nanotechnology research aimed at developing the next generation of super-fast computers.
Universities were permitted to submit a maximum of two proposals for the grants, and both of Notre Dame’s proposals were funded.
The grants were awarded by the Semiconductor Research Corp.’s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (SRC-NRI) and the National Science Foundation. The grants are aimed at helping develop new technologies to replace today’s transistors.
A Notre Dame research team led by engineering professor Wolfgang Porod received $1.8 million to explore a new approach to computational "thinking" based on physics-inspired and brain-like wave activity. The research envisions a future in which computer chips contain millions of cores, and processing elements in networks model the brain’s biological structure.
Porod’s co-investigators are professors Gary Bernstein, Xiaobo Hu, Michael Niemier and Gyorgy Csaba.
Another research team led by engineering professor Craig Lent received $1.75 million to advance a type of computing known as Quantum-dot Cellular Automata, which was pioneered at Notre Dame. In QCA, the switches of current silicon-based transistors are replaced by single molecules that interact with neighboring molecules through changes in charge.
Lent’s fellow investigators are professors Greg Snider, Alex Kandel and Kenneth Henderson.
Notre Dame has been focused on nanoelectronics research since the 1980s and is the lead institution in the SRC-NRI-funded Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery, which is part of a network of 24 universities conducting nanotechnology research around the United States.