Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering, Director of the Center for Low Energy Systems Technology (LEAST)
For many, the transistor is a device that brings to mind the transistor radio and the computer, now relatively old technologies. With almost 70 years of continuous development, one would think there is nothing more to be invented.
However, research on the transistor is now undergoing a renaissance thanks to the identification of new ways to improve energy efficiency. Our faculty and students are making valuable contributions to this research through the Center for Low Energy Systems Technology (LEAST), a multi-university national center led by Notre Dame and funded by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) and the semiconductor industry.
The reasons why Notre Dame has become a hub for this type of research are numerous and some two decades in the making. They range from the vision of department chairs to hire faculty in nanoelectronics and the hard work of deans to provide a world-class cleanroom facility to the close relationships engineering faculty have developed with industry. Equally critical has been the commitment of the University’s leadership to funding strategic investments in infrastructure while building partnerships with South Bend and the State of Indiana.
When I made the decision to leave private industry and join the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1999, I thought we could build something special here but did not foresee all the successes that were awaiting us in nanoelectronics at Notre Dame. What I did see, though, was a place that cares deeply about its students, that supports its faculty, and that is serious about following Father Sorin’s vision to make Notre Dame a force for good in the world.
As engineers, we get to solve problems that can improve the lives of others. As engineering faculty, we are privileged to mentor the leaders and problem-solvers of the next generation. Seeing students move on and become happy and productive in their careers is by far the most rewarding aspect of the Notre Dame experience.