Today we went to the University of California, also known as Berkeley. In the morning we were invited by the people from the E3S institute. Later this day we got a tour of the Berkeley campus.

Berkeley itself is, in contrast to Stanford, a public University. This means that it is goverment funded, although they also take big private fundings to build their facilities. The Berkeley campus is a typical American style university campus, which combines university buildings and housing (like we have at the UT). Their campus is much bigger though, covering 500 hectares and educating 40.000 students. The buildings on campus are differently styled, but all are inspired by classic European Roman style. The oldest building was created around 1900. The University is located in a unique micro climate, which causes mild summer temperatures compared to the rest of the bay area.  Also, if you look well you might even spot a wild turkey on campus.

We arrived early on campus and were greeted by Kedrick Perry, who is the director of diversity at E3S and gave us a quick tour around the Physics building. After that we got seated and the executive director Michael Bartl told us more about the center for energy efficient electronic science (E3S). Their main focus is to drastically reduce the energy cost of transistor switching, from around 1V to the theoretical limit of 10mV. They are working on four different solutions to this problem. First of all they  try to use tunneling electrons in graphene nanoribbons as switches. The second method is by using nanomechanical switches, which uses gold plates seperated by a specifically designed molecule, which can be brought close together to enable tunneling. This method works fairly well, with the only drawback being the switching speed. However a proof of concept was created with around a thousand of these transisitors on a chip, so it is now in further development by the tech industry. The third method is based on nanomagnetics, which has the lowest switching energy of the four options, but is also has the lowest switching speed. They can make an ultra fast electric pulse to switch the magnet, but this would make the transistor too large to be applicable. The last method focusses more on data transfer through nanophotonics. It uses a pumped LED as an emitter because lasers are too large. This method seems promising but it currently seems too unstable.

After the amazing lunch they provided we were educated about the Marvell nanolab by Allison Dove. The first version of the nanolab was build in 1962, when they used it to build integrated circuits. The current NanoLab in Berkeley is very similar to the NanoLab at the UT, just much bigger. The lab is mostly used and operated by graduate students but it is also a starting ground for many local startups that do not have their own lab. There are currently about 350 active researches working in the lab. Lastly Berkeley is very active in reaching out to top students in remote locations. They do this in a similar way as Science on Tour at the UT.

Categories: San Francisco

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