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 two awards from the ARPA-E of the U.S. Department of Energy for high-power wind generators and superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) system. 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. An elaborate sponsored research program with SuperPower, wholly-owned subsidiary of Philips Electronics, is focused on superconductor technology development. Five SuperPower scientists and engineers are working alongside University researchers in our group as a part of this collaboration. Students benefit from mentorship and training by the company and University researchers. The first two students that graduated from the group are now employed at SuperPower.
Our research is now extending beyond the UH campus into the University’s Energy Research Park where a 13,000 sq.ft. building is being established for an Energy Devices Fabrication Laboratory. The Laboratory will consist of multiple clean room process areas, 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 MOCVD tool for compound semiconductors with dual reactors for roll-to-roll as well as wafer processing is being constructed. The Energy Devices Fabrication Laboratory is expected to be ready for operation in summer 2012. Photovoltaics (PV), solid-state-lighting, thermoelectrics and other energy applications will be pursued in this Laboratory using our unique substrate technologies.
We have already demonstrated single-crystalline-like GaAs, germanium, and silicon on flexible metal as well as on glass substrates. The objective of this program is to achieve high efficiency PV and other energy semiconductor devices at a low cost. 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 of 25 members (11 Graduate Students, one Research Professor, seven Research Scientists, one Researcher, two Engineers, one Facility Director and two Undergraduate students). 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.