Prof. Venkat Selvamanickam  

Welcome to Dr. Venkat Selvamanickam’s research group at the University of Houston!
Our group’s research spans a wide range of advanced processing techniques for high-performance materials for energy applications such as high temperature superconducting thin film tapes, photovoltaics, and thermoelectrics. A key capability of our group is single-crystalline-like thin films of various materials on inexpensive, flexible substrates by reel-to-reel processing. Epitaxial growth of oxides, nitrides, germanium, silicon and compound semiconductors on lattice mismatched, practical substrates is large emphasis of our research. A variety of thin film process technologies such as metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD), magnetron sputtering, e-beam evaporation, inkjet printing and solution coating are being employed.

Unique, state-of-the-art equipment for thin film and bulk materials processing, electromagnetic characterization at high magnetic fields and low temperatures, as well as semiconductor property measurements are available in our laboratories.

An area of our expertise is high-temperature superconducting materials for energy applications. This project is funded by three awards from the ARPA-E of the U.S. Department of Energy for high-power wind generators and superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) system and projects funded by the DOE Smart Grid program on Fault Current Limiting Transformer and by the Army Research Laboratory on SMES. An NSF-funded project is being conducted on integrating prefabricated nanowires on flexible substrate with epitaxial superconducting film growth.

Strong industrial partnership is a hallmark of our program. We are working on superconductor technology development with SuperPower Inc in four federally-funded projects. Bruker, Tai-Yang Research, TECO-Westinghouse, ABB and SPX are few of our other industrial collaborators.

Our research is now extending beyond the UH campus into the University’s Energy Research Park where a 13,000 sq.ft. building has been established for an Energy Devices Fabrication Laboratory. The Laboratory consists of clean room process area, device fabrication and metrology areas as well as a toxic gas room to safely handle several types of exotic gases to process several advanced materials. A unique metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) tool for compound semiconductors with dual reactors for roll-to-roll as well as wafer processing is present. Photovoltaics (PV), Flexible Electronics solid-state-lighting and other energy and electronics applications will be pursued in this Laboratory using our unique substrate and roll-to-roll manufacturing technologies.

We have already demonstrated single-crystalline-like GaAs, germanium, and silicon on flexible metal as well as on glass substrates. These unique structures are being developed for high-efficiency, low-cost III-V thin film photovoltaics, high-performance flexible electronics and large area, flexible inorganic light emitting diodes (LED). This program is supported by the state of Texas through the formation of the Applied Research Hub (ARH) of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at University of Houston (TCSUH). The Applied Research Hub was established in February 2010 with a $ 3.5M award from the state of Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund (ETF).
Our group currently consists of 24 members (11 Graduate Students, two Research Faculty, five Research Scientists, one post-doc, three Engineers, one Safety Manager and one Facility/Business Director). We are seeking more graduate research assistants, research scientists and research faculty with compatible expertise and interest to join our group and experience the stimulating research environment and world-class facilities.