JAMES D. MEINDL
Dr. James D. "Jim" Meindl, director of the Georgia Tech Microelectronics Research Center (MiRC), is a distinguished pioneer in the microelectronics industry who has the vision to lead his colleagues into the next generation of nanoelectronics, and moreover to lead the development of the wide-ranging field of nanotechnology. MiRC is a main force in the two-year-old National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), sponsored and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the premier vehicle to disseminate knowledge and foster research of nanotechnology through a thirteen-university network. Since acquiring the NNIN network support, Meindl has led impressive cleanroom user growth and vastly increased visibility of Georgia Tech's leadership in the Southeast's technology growth.
As the director of the largest cleanroom facility on the Georgia Tech campus, an average day for Jim Meindl is full and exciting. Daily activities include gleaning the latest in cutting-edge research while meeting with his students, advising leading technology industry executives, inquiring about results from MiRC research engineers of the latest nanometer-scale accomplishments of the cleanroom tools, counseling Tech researchers from across disciplines with efforts in the field of nanotechnology research, and reporting to industry and NSF sponsors on the latest discoveries.
His keen sense of ordering priorities allows him to consistently focus on connecting the latest findings with researchers and industry as quickly as possible. As the ultimate motivator, examples of the research he encourages through the MiRC cleanroom include: reduction of line resolution in e-beam resist, advanced copper low-k interconnection networks, and graphite nanoconductors to replace metal wires.
Promoting nanotechnology research at the direction of NNIN support also includes using cleanroom support to promote bioengineering or biomedical applications directly through MiRC resident professors. The CardioMems Endosensor monitors blood pressure in an abdominal aortic aneurysm after the implant of a stent graft. This RF-MEMS device monitors the stent implant in hopes of preventing the thirteenth leading cause of death. EBL fabrication of surface acoustic wave sensors for early cancer detection is another example of MiRC cleanroom research underway by a professor using the MiRC.
After years of nurturing the reduction in size of all of the components of the silicon chip, the limits of this technology are expected to impose drastically reduced rates of performance and cost improvements within the next decade. Therefore it is necessary to begin now to combine the efforts of both the top-down (scaling-down) and bottom-up (self-assembly) approaches of scientific research across disciplines to continue to produce the effective information technology necessary to enhance the quality of life for all people of the world. Keenly aware of the International Roadmap for Semiconductors needs and challenges, Meindl's students are actively pursuing the designs of carbon nanotubes for interconnect applications as one of the new paradigms for future interconnect technology.
Most recently, Meindl has been instrumental in the planning phase of the new Nanotechnology Research Cleanroom Building, which will provide a much-needed 30,000-square-foot cleanroom, accommodating 20,000 square feet of physical and inorganic research and 10,000 square feet of bioscience and organic research. An additional 20,000 square feet of this building will support lab space for researchers.
In February 2006, Meindl was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), receiving the 2006 Medal of Honor for his "pioneering contributions to microelectronics, including low-power, biomedical, physical limits and on-chip interconnect networks." The professional association's highest award is given to individuals who have demonstrated technological preeminence in the field. "Dr. Meindl is a giant in the field of microelectronics who has been a leader in the semiconductor field for over forty years," said IEEE President Michael Lightner. "His pioneering research in the area of gigascale silicon technology integration and his leadership in developing low-power integrated circuits and sensors are only two of his invaluable contributions to the field of microelectronics."