Ahn receives a 2024 Roberts Innovation Fund Award

Pictured L-R, Front row: Amin Karbasi, Ruzica Piskac. Middle row: Kidae Shin, Fengnian Xia Back row: Fred Walker, John Fortner, Yongshan Ding, Dean Jeffrey Brock, Jaehong Kim, Mark Saltzman, Fund Director Claudia Reuter, Jung Han. Not pictured: Charles Ahn, Ben Fisch.
March 22, 2024

Charles Ahn, the John C. Malone Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Physics, along with Fred Walker, senior research scientist in Applied Physics, and Kidae Shin, graduate student in  Physics, has received one of ten awards from the Roberts Innovation Fund, which will help support his research.

The Roberts Innovation Fund, an accelerator fund created in 2022 and managed by Yale Ventures, focuses on supporting technologies with significant potential to benefit a wide-ranging number of fields. In addition to funding, awardees receive world-class support and mentorship, access to industry experts and other perks as well as an opportunity to present at the upcoming Yale Innovation Summit.

Yale Engineering Dean Jeffrey Brock said the large number of excellent proposals this year demonstrates the continued need for the kind of opportunities that the Roberts Fund provides.

“Our faculty have long been producing groundbreaking research, and once again, the Roberts Innovation Fund is helping to get these inspired ideas out of the laboratories and to the market, and ultimately to the people and industries that will benefit the most from them,” Brock said. “The areas of research in this year’s selected projects emphasize Yale’s priorities in quantum, artificial intelligence, and planetary solutions, demonstrating how Yale Engineering’s goals and our Strategic Vision are advancing the goals of the University.”

In its second year, the Roberts Innovation Fund has significantly expanded its reach and resources, setting the stage for a transformative impact on how Yale Engineering’s innovations make the leap from research to real-world applications.

“This year has been about expansion for the Roberts Innovation Fund,” said the Fund’s director, Claudia Reuter. “As we considered more ways to support the innovative work happening within Yale Engineering advance from ‘lab to market,’ we broadened the aperture of potential domains for consideration, added new members to our external advisory board with additional industry experience, and thanks to the leadership of Yale Engineering we were able to allocate more capital. We’re now in the process of refining the types of support we provide to awardees and look forward to helping each project advance to their greatest potential impact.”

The Roberts Innovation Fund is open to Yale faculty with a primary or secondary appointment in the School of Engineering & Applied Science with a novel innovation that solves a significant problem with the potential for scale. Applicants must demonstrate a proof of concept and a clear articulation for the use of the awarded funds.

A manufacturable process for a material to combine logic and memory in semiconductor devices

Prof. Charles Ahn with Fred Walker, Kidae Shin
Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Materials technology for current microelectronics, based on conventional silicon and insulating oxides, is approaching its physical limits. At the same time, demands for electronic devices with superior processing capabilities and lower power consumption are ever increasing. Charles Ahn’s research group is developing materials technologies capable of being manufactured on a large-scale that would address current limitations of today’s logic and memory devices. With such functionalities as non-volatility, extremely low energy consumption, and neuromorphic computing capabilities for AI applications, the approach has the potential to advance semiconductor technology, attracting the interest of semiconductor companies that are actively pursuing new materials systems.

This story was adapted from the Yale Engineering News Item from March 19, 2024.  See below for the original story  and related links.

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