The Frank M. Freimann Director of the Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND)
Dr. Seabaugh is a professor of electrical engineering and the director of MIND at Notre Dame, where he and his colleagues are leading research in nanoscale electronic devices and circuits. In particular, MIND researchers are developing new embodiments for the transistor that leverage the quirky behavior of electrons at the quantum level.
Much of the growth in computing power over the past 40 years is due to increases in the number of transistors that can be packed onto silicon chips. The problem now, however, is the excessive heat generated by billions of transistors in close proximity. Recent advances in MIND research show that a new kind of transistor called the tunnel field-effect transistor (TFET) is on track to solve these problems by delivering comparable performance to today's transistors but with much greater energy efficiency.
“TFETs take advantage of the ability of electrons to 'tunnel' through solids,” Seabaugh explained. “A transistor today acts much like a dam with a moveable gate. The current depends on the height of the gate. With TFETs, we have a new kind of gate – one where the current flows through the gate and the thickness of the gate can be controlled electrically.”
Dr. Seabaugh is also associate director of the Notre Dame Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano). Before joining the Notre Dame faculty in 1999, Seabaugh worked for Raytheon Systems Company, Texas Instruments, and the National Bureau of Standards. His leadership and contributions in semiconductor devices and circuits based on quantum mechanical tunneling earned him the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductor Quantum Devices Award in 2011.
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The Frank M. Freimann Director of the Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND) was established in 2010 with earnings from a gift of the Freimann Charitable Trust, made in honor of Frank Freimann, a pioneer of the electronics industry and former chief executive officer of Magnavox. There are now 11 Freimann chairs at Notre Dame, all in engineering and physics.