To support the development of an engaged and qualified workforce in the semiconductor industry, the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Materials for Future Computing, provides an enriching ten-week summer research program, from May 28 - August 2, 2024, in the Materials Science and Engineering department (MSE) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
Semiconductors, like silicon, are fascinating materials with unique electrical properties on which modern computer chips are fabricated before being incorporated into products like computers, smartphones, medical devices, and automobiles. However, the vast majority of computer chip manufacturing currently takes place outside of the United States, which presents significant economic and cyber security concerns. Moreover, advancements in new materials are driving innovations in computing technologies, which will drive advancements in next-generation computing devices.
The CMU site welcomes students from diverse backgrounds who have not historically had as many opportunities to conduct scientific research. Participants take a hands-on approach to learning about the structure and properties of electronic materials as well as the fundamentals of nanofabrication processes relevant to the computer chip industry.
The experience incorporates field trips to local companies and direct use of the state-of-the-art CMU Materials Characterization and Nanofabrication facilities. Students attend regular seminars with peers and faculty to learn about best practices in conducting research and are paired with a mentor to work on an individual project, which is communicated in a final closing ceremony. The program perpetually evaluates the student experience including outcomes beyond the 10 week period so that the long-term goals of the program are tracked.
Week 1: Intro to the Crystalline State of Solids (Visit Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
Weeks 2-4: Examining the Structure of Solids (CMU Materials Characterization Facility)
Week 5: How Crystalline Semiconductors Are Made (Visit Coherent Corp. - formerly II-VI)
Weeks 6 -8: Device Fabrication & Processing (CMU Nanofabrication Facility)
Week 9: Vacuum Technology for Nanofabrication Tools (Visit Kurt J. Lesker Company)
Week 10: Students project presentations
- December 2023: Applications open
- March 1, 2024: Applications close and selection committee begins evaluation
- Week of March 18, 2024: Offers made to selected applicants
- May 28, 2024 - August 2, 2024: Research Experience Program