Yaqing Shen receives 2023 IEEE Electron Devices Society Ph.D. Student Fellowship

28 November, 2023

By David Murphy

KAUST Ph.D. candidate Yaqing Shen has been selected as a 2023 IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) Ph.D. Student Fellowship recipient. The Material Science and Engineering (MSE) Program student will formally receive her award at the IEEE EDS Awards Ceremony. The event will take place on Sunday, December 10, 2023, in San Francisco, U.S.

The Ph.D. Fellowship Program was established to promote, recognize and support graduate study and research within EDS’s field of interest. It is the first time a KAUST student has received the one-year fellowship, widely considered the most prestigious for students working in electron devices. The Fellowship consists of a plaque and a check for $5,000.

As a passionate advocate for materials science and engineering, Shen’s award marks a significant early career milestone: “The Fellowship validates the hard work and contributions I have made in the field of 2D material-based electronic devices. It is an incredibly meaningful accolade.”
“I am excited and honored to be the first KAUST recipient. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to my adviser, Professor Mario Lanza, for his unwavering support and invaluable insights throughout my Ph.D. studies. His guidance has been instrumental in my journey,” she added.

An aspiration for innovation

Shen’s research at KAUST has evolved to focus on ultra-low leakage currents in 2D materials-based gate dielectrics of 2D field-effect transistors (FETs). This research is vital in addressing the prevalent challenge of high native defects in commercial chemical vapour deposition (CVD)-grown 2D layered hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN).
Preliminary findings indicate that utilizing metal electrodes with high cohesive energy, such as platinum and tungsten, substantially mitigates leakage current and enhances the dielectric strength of h-BN in these transistors.

“This advancement holds immense promise for scaling down complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies, potentially accelerating the integration of 2D materials in next-generation microelectronics,” she noted. “My current focus is on compiling and analyzing data for a comprehensive research paper on this topic.”

The prospect of integrating 2D materials into commercial microelectronics, especially in enhancing efficiency and reducing the size of electronic components, is a driving force behind her research. Ultimately, Shen’s goal is to contribute to and bridge the theoretical and practical research gaps in material science.
“As I look to the future, I am particularly excited about furthering research in ultra-small 2D materials-based field-effect transistors. I aspire to innovate in ways that not only push the boundaries of scientific knowledge but also lead to tangible technological advancements. Through my efforts, I aim to add value to our field and hopefully provide a useful foundation for future researchers in this dynamic area.”