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Nanoparticle research earns research team numerous awards

A man stands with his arms crossed in front of a building.

Balavinayagam “Bala” Ramalingam received one of two Electrochemical Society’s (ECS) Norman Hackermann Young Author Award for 2012 for his contributions to a paper that examines how nanoparticles can be used in memory storage devices.

For the last four years, Balavinayagam “Bala” Ramalingam has worked on creating a way to store terabytes of data on pocket-sized memory devices. His work with nanoparticles led to a 2012 paper published in a peer-reviewed journal and, later, an award recognizing his research contributions. Additionally, the work from multiple members of the Gangopadhyay Research Group has garnered more recognition.

Ramalingam, who works in the Center for Nano/Micro Systems and Nanotechnology for Shubhra Gangopadhyay, the C.W. LaPierre Chair Endowed Chair Professor of electrical and computer engineering, was one of the recipients of the Electrochemical Society’s (ECS) Norman Hackermann Young Author Award for 2012. His award-winning paper was on multi-layer, nanoparticle-embedded memory devices.

“We had just published the paper, and the award committee selected it for the award,” he said. “I thought getting the work published was a major accomplishment for our research.”

Each year, the Norman Hackermann Young Author Award recognizes two papers published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society and awards authors 30 years old or younger a $1,500 cash prize. Recipients also are recognized for their achievement at a future ECS meeting. Ramalingam co-authored the paper, “Multi-Layer Pt Nanoparticle Embedded High Density Non-Volatile Memory Devices,” with post-doctoral researcher Minseong Yun and Gangopadhyay. He was the winner in the solid state science and technology category.

The paper concluded that a high-density non-volatile memory devices could be fabricated by layering multiple 1 nm platinum nanoparticles and can reduce loss of charge when layered asymmetrically.

“Now people use silicon nitride, and as you shrink capacitors’ size, you lose power,” Ramalingam said. “We’re trying to replace that silicon nitride with nanoparticles.”

“There are numerous applications for this technology,” he added. “People are always looking for larger storage in smaller capacities.”

The paper wasn’t the only recognition Ramalingam and other members of the Gangopadhyay Research Group have received for their work. Ramalingam and Steven Hamm, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, each featured his research on posters that were two of 30 from more than 2,000 submissions nominated for “Best Poster” at the 2013 Material Research Society’s spring meeting in San Francisco. Both authors were invited to record a short presentation describing their posters, which can be found on the MRS PROlibraries website. In addition, Ramalingam’s research poster had previously won second place in the 2013 Nanofrontiers Symposium in Columbia last spring.

Three other members of the Gangopadhyay Research Group received awards for their posters at the same symposium. ECE doctoral student Clay Staley bioengineering doctoral student Roli Kargupta and ECE doctoral student Somik Mukherjee won the engineering category first place, the life science category third place and the energy category honorable mention, respectively.

A first-place poster presentation was given at the NanoTechnology For Defense (NT4D) conference. The poster’s research team was headed by Gangopadhyay, and included work from Research Professor Keshab Gangopadhyay, who is also the president of Nems/Mems Works, LLC., Rajagopalan Thiruvengadathan, research assistant professor, Steven Chung, post doctoral research associate, Kristofer Raymond, research scientist at NEMS/MEMS, LLC,  and Staley.

In addition to the recognition he received for his research, Ramalingam also was nominated for one of MU’s International Engagement Awards last spring for his involvement in MU Engineering’s International Student Programs Office and Peer Mentoring Program.