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Materials Scientist Shriram Ramanathan wins prestigious NSF CAREER Award

$400k grant will support research on photon-oxide interactions

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - February 25, 2010 - Shriram Ramanathan, Assistant Professor of Materials Science in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has won a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The honor is considered one of the most prestigious for up-and-coming researchers in science and engineering.

The $400,000 CAREER Award will support Ramanathan's work on the understanding of photon-oxide interactions to explore how active point defects in oxides can be controlled through photo-excitation and how this may affect functional properties of relevance to energy conversion.

Research in Ramanathan's group is primarily focused on oxide thin films and nanostructures with emphasis on how processing affects properties.

Specific investigations include developing a mechanistic understanding of initial stages of oxidation and corrosion of metals and oxygen incorporation into oxides under photon irradiation.

Potential applications of the work include electronic devices, solar and hydrogen energy conversion, and sensors.

In addition, Ramanathan is one of the founders of SiEnergy Systems. The venture is a privately-held startup company formed by Allied Minds, Inc. to commercialize low-cost, low-temperature versatile SOFCs and is based on proprietary micro solid oxide fuel cell device technologies he originally developed.

Ramanathan received a B.Tech. in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras); an M.S. in Materials Engineering from the University of Houston; and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to coming to Harvard, he was a researcher at the Intel Corporation from 2002 to 2005.

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About the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

Topics: Materials, Environment, Awards