Title: Vacuum Nanoelectronics
Speaker: Dr. Alireza Nojeh, University of British Columbia
Abstract: With solid state devices and circuits evermore dominating modern life, it is sometimes easy to forget that the electronics industry largely started with vacuum tubes. Even the CRT display, perhaps the last manifestation of vacuum electronics in widespread everyday use, seems to have faded into distant memory. But electrons can travel unhindered in empty space, making vacuum tubes still the technology of choice for many high-speed/high-power applications. Accelerators, X-ray devices, and electron- and ion-beam systems for imaging, materials processing and various forms of fabrication and manufacturing, are other examples of vacuum technology.
A critical component of any vacuum electronic device, often posing significant challenges, is the source emitting electrons into the vacuum—after all, electrons normally do not like to leave their host material. Progress in nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes over the past two decades has created many opportunities for novel, high-performance, compact electron sources. This has led to a reemergence of interest in vacuum electronics with the goals of miniaturization, integration, and performance improvements. I will give an overview of the main electron emission phenomena and discuss examples of nanomaterials’ properties, some expected and some surprising, that make them wonderful electron emitters. I will describe some of the applications that these emitters are enabling ranging from nanoscale transistors to energy converters to affordable high-resolution imaging devices. I will also discuss how our investigations into the electron emission properties of nanostructures are in turn requiring us to develop new experimental techniques, and review our progress on optical and electron spectroscopies on this front.
Biography: Alireza Nojeh received a BS and an MS from Sharif University of Technology, a DEA from the University of Paris XI-Orsay, and a PhD from Stanford University. Since 2006, he has been on the faculty of the University of British Columbia, where he is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. He is also a Professional Engineer in British Columbia, and was a scholar in residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies from 2014 to 2016. His research interests are mainly in the interactions of electrons and photons with nanostructures, electron emission phenomena, vacuum nanoelectronics, and energy conversion; he has also worked in nanomaterial synthesis, nanofabrication, solid-state electronics, and optoelectronics. In 2016, he chaired the 29th International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference.