ENGINEERING NEWS

Mark Hersam, Nanotech Research Profiled in Crain’s

The 2014 MacArthur Fellow is working to create a replacement for silicon

Silicon is the dominating material comprising the microchips that power our computers and smartphones, but increasing production costs and design limits places its long-term prospects in doubt. Northwestern engineer Mark Hersam is working to create its replacement.

Mark HersamHersam, professor of materials science and engineering and the Bette and Neison Harris Chair of Teaching Excellence at the McCormick School of Engineering, has been profiled in Crain’s Chicago Business for his pioneering research in nanotechnology that may one day lead to a new kind of computer microchip.

Hersam hopes a suite of nanomaterials at the center of his research, including carbon, black phosphorous, and molybdenum disulfide, can emerge as more efficient and cost-effective replacements to silicon. His company, NanoIntegris Technologies, has already begun crafting metallic versions of carbon-based nanotubes, which could impact the future construction of numerous electronics and equipment, from wearable technology to solar panels.

According to Hersam’s former colleague Daniel Leven, the 2014 MacArthur Fellow is one to follow in the years to come. “You want to hitch your wagon to him if you can because he’s going places,” he said. 

Read the full profile at Crain’s Chicago Business.