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Institute for Extreme Semiconductor Chips

  • A hand in a blue latex glove near laboratory equipment

Research Step 1: Materials and Testing in Harsh Environments

The first step in the development of extreme semiconductor chips is the growth and characterization of semiconductor materials that can be used in chip fabrication. These materials are meticulously synthesized and characterized to ensure they can perform in a variety of extreme conditions.

Growing and Testing Chip Materials

In this research step, we synthesize the materials to be used in the extreme semiconductor chips, starting with growing those materials in our lab. During this process, we also use high temperatures and harsh environments to characterize the materials.

Once the materials have been grown, an advanced materials characterization effort will take place. Properties of the materials, such as magnetism, will be identified using cutting-edge characterization techniques.

Project Significance

  • Synthesizing materials that can withstand extreme environments is the cornerstone of developing the next generation of extreme semiconductor chips.

  • The characterization of these materials' properties will inform the researchers how and if they will withstand the extreme conditions they will be used in.

Research Innovation 

An innovative pulsed atomic layer epitaxy (PALE) technique will be used for the growth of the materials for electronic and optical devices.

In-situ, high-temperature monitoring will be developed and implemented to enable the researchers to watch the materials' reaction to extreme conditions in real time, something that is currently lacking in other extreme semiconductor material characterization efforts. 

Research Aims

  1. Synthesize/grow materials that can perform in extreme environments to be used in the chips

  2. Characterize the properties of the synthesized materials to determine how they will react in extreme conditions

Purpose: To synthesize and characterize materials that can can withstand extreme environments 

Hypothesis: The compound semiconductor AlxGa1-xN (Aluminum gallium nitride, a mixture of AlN and GaN) is an ideal material choice

Goal: Grow and characterize materials that can be used in extreme semiconductor components

Vision: Creation and complete characterization of materials that will be used in the development of the next generation of extreme semiconductor chips

Techniques used: Metalorganic chemical deposition (MOCVD) systems, pulsed atomic layer epitaxy (PALE), neutron-diffraction, transmission electron microscopy

SC Impact

The extreme semiconductors developed by our research team will lead to unprecedented energy performance and efficiency across South Carolina. While this is a state-wide research focus, certain areas of public interest will benefit greatly from this institute's work. 

Leadership in Innovative Technology

Our work and research puts South Carolina on the map in innumerable areas of rapidly advancing technology. Our state will receive new opportunities and recognition by having this world-changing technology right here at the university. 

Economic Development and Engagement

A stronger reputation for technology and innovation will draw and retain more top talent in South Carolina, creating more opportunities in multiple fields throughout the state.

Public Health Advancements

We are changing the future of public health technology with extreme semiconductor chips to support medical devices and products that create a better standard of care across the state, the nation and the world—and it all starts here in South Carolina.

Notable Awards, Outcomes, and Practical Uses for this Research 

  • Comfortable Medical Wearables: With novel packaging, the extreme chips can be integrated with wearable biometric platforms, where sensor flexibility is a key requirement for participant comfort.
  • Heat-Tolerant Power Electronics: By using integrated circuits that can deal with heat and electromagnetic interference, power electronics can withstand higher temperatures.
  • Optical Electronics: The integration of different type of chips together will allow for extreme semiconductor chip use in optical electronics.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.