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Two Hsieh Faculty Members Receive NSF CAREER Awards

June 24, 2009 —

The National Science Foundation has named Stephen Cronin and Hossein Hashemi, both of the Viterbi School’s Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering/Electrophysics, as among this year’s winners of Faculty CAREER Awards.

Cronin Photo
Stephen Cronin
The awards recognize “junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

"The standards for this award are very high," commented Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. "Recognizing Hossein and Steve in this fashion is a wonderful testament to their skills and talent. The School is justifiably proud of them."

Assistant Professor Cronin is a specialist in nanostructures, both nanotubes, tiny cylinders of carbon atoms, one atom thick; and nanowires made of the element bismuth. He investigates both basic properties and a broad range of possible applications, from bio-sensors to Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) devices.

He will be working with EE/Electrophysics co-chair P. Daniel Dapkus on the newly awarded Energy Frontier Reseach Center for Emerging Materials for Solar Energy Conversion and Solid State Lighting.  Cronin received his Ph.D. (in physics) from M.I.T. in 2002 and joined the Viterbi School in 2005.   The funded research will investigate the thermal characteristics of nanowires, nanotubes, and graphene, using a novel but very promising technique.  "Results from the proposed work will enable thermal engineering on the nanometer scale to provide realistic thermal management solutions for extremely high power density circuits. Improved thermoelectric materials that exploit the low dimensionality could significantly impact our energy dependent economy by recovering electricity from waste heat. The novel techniques developed in this proposal can be readily applied by many other scientists and engineers working in the field and will likely lead to innovations in other fields of science and technology."

The research program also calls for outreach to Los Angeles area high school teachers and integration of techniques and results to undergraduates.

Associate Professor Hashemi’s laboratory creates novel designs for circuits that can both send

Hossein Hashemi
and receive radio signals, with a wide range of potential uses ranging from medical imaging to vehicle accident avoidance systems.

The NSF will fund an effort "to demonstrate integrated nonlinear dynamical systems that can efficiently generate extremely low-phase-noise signals, at radio frequencies, millimeter-waves, and possibly sub-millimeter-waves in standard silicon processes. The approach is nonlinear and stochastic analysis of integrated oscillators, and using phase-noise reduction techniques.

"The broader impact of the proposed research is its potential transformational ability of virtually all electronic systems such as communication transceivers, computers, radars, and imagers, where an accurate frequency reference or clock plays a central role." Additionally, according to the plan, "research will be carried out by students who appreciate the need to coalesce applied mathematics with device physics, electromagnetics, and circuit design. Women and minority students will be actively recruited at graduate and undergraduate levels, and will be educated to be independent critical thinkers in a collaborative engineering research environment."

Hashemi received the USC Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair in 2007, and was previously co-recipient of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits 2004 Best Paper Award, and winner of the IEEE International Solid State Circuits Symposium Lewis Winner Award for Outstanding Paper in 2007. Caltech awarded his Ph.D. in 2003