ME Assistant Professor Kevin Pipe has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to receive a Young Faculty Award (YFA). Through this grant, Pipe will study heat transfer in high power/high speed transistors that are used as amplifiers in advanced military and commercial communications systems. Efficient heat removal is critical in these devices, in most cases determining their maximum performance and reliability.
“Thermal management of a high-power device is complicated by the fact that heat energy is transported from the device by a number of different electronic and vibrational channels that are typically very far out of equilibrium with each other,” Pipe said. In particular, he will examine methods to efficiently remove the heat carried by vibrational modes very near to the transistor itself.
As this research progresses during the next two years, the YFA program will facilitate significant interactions between Pipe and the Department of Defense (DoD) in the form of military lab tours and communication with military personnel regarding DoD needs.
Pipe, who is also a professor in the EECS department and the Applied Physics program, received S.B. and M. Eng. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 2004. His research interests include microscale heat transfer in electronic and optoelectronic devices, thermoelectric energy conversion, scanning probe techniques, photovoltaic energy conversion, and organic and hybrid organic/inorganic devices. His previous interactions with DARPA have included serving as principal investigator on a grant focused on developing quantum dot lasers on silicon under the Electronic and Photonic Integrated Circuits (EPIC) program.
About the DARPA YFA Program
DARPA, the research and development arm of the DoD, designed the YFA program to identify talented, non-tenured faculty who represent rising stars in the areas of the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics of interest to DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO) and Microsystems Technology Office (MTO). The goal of the YFA program is to develop the next generation of academic leaders in key disciplines who will focus a significant portion of their career on DoD and national security issues. For the 2009 competition, 33 YFA awards were made out of nearly 300 proposals on the topics of quantum science and technology, bio-info-micro, mathematics, structural materials, functional materials, power and energy, micro-/nano-electronics, MEMS/NEMS, photonics, lasers, manufacturing science and technology, and neuroscience. Researchers who receive the award are provided with funding, mentoring, and contacts in industry and in the DoD to help them develop innovative and high-risk ideas.