April 2010 Newsletter: Marvell Lab

Letter from the Directors

Dear Friends of CITRIS:

These are challenging times, to be sure. But they are also thrilling ones, full of opportunities for those who are willing and able to address the challenges. Here at CITRIS, that is what we do. First, there are the societal-scale challenges that are our raison d’etre: improving the lives of people who rely on healthcare, communication, and energy, which means all of us. Then there are the IT challenges that are our bread-and-butter: employing new materials and information technologies to new ends. The epicenter of CITRIS, the place where these big challenges are addressed in very small ways, is the new Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory in the CITRIS headquarters’ Sutardja Dai Hall.

The new lab has an impressive pedigree. Its earliest ancestor, the Berkeley Integrated Circuits Lab, was born in the late 1960s shortly after the invention of the transistor. It was the nursery for some of the 20th century’s most transformative technologies. By the 1990s though, that lab was ready for another boost, and it came, thanks to CITRIS, through the remarkable generosity of the Sutardja Dai and Banatao families.

The new lab expands our ability to work with important advanced materials such as germanium, indium arsenide, and gallium nitrate, and allows us to employ more advanced lithography tools that etch ever finer lines into those materials. These capabilities enable us to do much more than just keep up with Moore’s Law. In a lab once pretty much dedicated to ever-shrinking transistors, derivative technologies now carve out nanomachines central to all kinds of tiny devices, from accelerometers, ever shrinking and more powerful environmental sensors, biomechanical devices, RFID tags, and revolutionary new photovoltaics. And there is still more progress to be made on the basic logic switches that underlie our chips. Professor Eli Yablonovitch’s work dedicated to radically reducing the energy consumed by processors, just won a $25M grant to pursue that end, and much of his team’s research will occur in the lab.

The Berkeley lab’s accomplishments are already many, but we are on the cusp of whole new revolutions in medicine, energy production, conservation, information processing, and the use of micromachines and biosensors. With the help of CITRIS and its new Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory those revolutions will unfold right here in California, where they belong.

Ming Wu
Chief Scientist and Marvell Lab Faculty Director, CITRIS

Paul K. Wright,
Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute@CITRIS

Eric Brewer wins ACM-Infosys Foundation Award for scalable Web technology
CITRIS researcher Eric Brewer, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, is the 2009 recipient of the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences, a prestigious honor that comes with a $150,000 prize.

BCNM and U.S. State Department announce collaboration
Opinion Space is a visualization tool for world opinion developed by an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty at the UC Berkeley Center for New Media in collaboration with new media experts at the U.S. Department of State. 

Cal Day at CITRIS: April 17

As part of the UC Berkeley Cal Day activities, Professor Greg Niemeyer will present a talk on "Community Science: Approaching the Climate Change Issue One Hearth at a Time"  at 1:00 p.m. in the Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall.

Big Ideas poster competition and judging: April 22, 3pm

The top 10 finalists in this year's Big Ideas competition will present posters, and the winners will be announced. Kvamme Atrium, 3rd floor, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley