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Xia Awarded CVIP Grant

Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was one of five researchers from UMass Amherst who are sharing $100,000 in technology grants from the university system’s Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Fund to assist in accelerating the commercialization of their inventions. Eight $25,000 grants to faculty at the Amherst, Lowell, and Worcester campuses were announced by President Robert L. Caret. “Every year, we identify game-changing research with commercial promise in laboratories on UMass campuses that speak to the major role that the university plays in advancing scientific discovery and improving and saving lives in the Commonwealth and around the world,” Caret said. See News Office article:

President Claret added that “It is critically important that the university help advance these projects so that they can enter the marketplace and contribute to increasing our entrepreneurial activities, contribute to the rate of commercialization of early stage technologies, and contribute to the Commonwealth’s overall economic development efforts.”

Xia was awarded CVIP support for his project, “All-silicon-based Resistance Switch Arrays with In-Situ Diodes as Selectors.” Xia’s group focuses on developing emerging nanodevices for the next generation data storage and unconventional computing. The technology addresses the compatibility of materials selection, fabrication process, and operational parameters of such devices with the state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure in the integrated circuits industry. The CVIP fund will be used to solve issues pertaining to devices in an array and to develop a prototype of this technology.

In 2013 Xia received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program to develop emerging nanoelectronic devices, which can be used as alternatives to transistors. The title of his project was “CAREER: Scaling of Memristive Nanodevices and Arrays.” Xia’s NSF research addresses the biggest obstacle for the continued operation of Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. The law is named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, who first predicted the trend in his 1965 paper.

“Moore’s Law worked perfectly for more than 40 years, but now we’re reaching its fundamental limit, due to the quantum effects related to electron flow,” said Xia. “So we absolutely need new devices that can do a better job than transistors.”

In 2012 Xia received a Young Faculty Award of approximately $300,000 from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The objective of the program is “to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) needs as well as DARPA’s program development process.” Xia’s DARPA project was entitled “3D All-silicon-based Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM).”

Established in 2004, the CVIP fund was created and is maintained through licensing revenues supplemented by a contribution from the President's Office. The awards are given annually to faculty members across all five campuses to accelerate commercialization of their early-stage technologies in a wide range of disciplines, including the life sciences, chemistry, and engineering.

UMass is a national leader in technology licensing income, consistently ranking among the top 15 U.S. universities. It ranked 11th on a recent list of U.S. universities with the highest licensing revenue for every $1 million it spent on research. (April 2014)