Skip to content

How UW ECE is ready for the CHIPS and Science Act

Semiconductors, also known as integrated circuits or microchips, have become a necessity for modern life. Long considered to be the brains of modern electronics, these tiny chips can be found in almost every electronic device in use today. And their impact is vast, supporting every sector of the U.S. economy, as well as national security. Currently, all major U.S. defense systems and platforms rely on microchips for their performance, and in many cases, simply to operate.

Researchers put a new twist on graphite

In a new Nature paper, a team led by UW researchers reports that it is possible to imbue graphite — the bulk, 3D material found in No. 2 pencils — with physical properties similar to graphite’s 2D counterpart, graphene. Not only was this breakthrough unexpected, the team also believes its approach could be used to test whether similar types of bulk materials can also take on 2D-like properties. If so, 2D sheets won’t be the only source for scientists to fuel technological revolutions. Bulk, 3D materials could be just as useful.

Reimagining optics for smartphones and other devices

UW ECE and Physics Associate Professor Arka Majumdar and UW ECE postdoctoral scholar Johannes Fröch are part of an international research team helping to make high-quality, color cameras smaller and lighter for mobile platforms, such as next-generation smartphones, drones, and point-of-care medical devices. The team recently developed a miniature camera that uses an innovative hybrid optical system over 100 times smaller than its commercial counterpart.

A tiny break into toughness

A beetle shell might look like solid armor to us, but it’s actually composed of tiny fibers woven together in complex structures. These nanofibers that comprise many natural materials from shell to skin to cartilage are surprisingly tough and are able to handle force without fracturing.