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June 7, 2021

Ma awarded two major grants from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Written By: Jason Daley


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded two grants to Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, Lynn H. Matthias Professor and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The first is a $1 million grant to develop novel diamond heterostructures based on the quantum tunneling effect. The goal of the project is to demonstrate two-dimensional electron gases and show the quantum anomalous Hall effect in diamond. This could pave the way toward the development of next-generation radio-frequency devices. Two-dimensional electron gases and the quantum anomalous Hall effect have previously been found in silicon, gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, and other materials, all important semiconductors. However, finding them in diamond, an ultrawide-bandgap semiconductor, would be an important advance.

In the second grant, also for $1 million, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is co-principal investigator with the firm Northrop Grumman. The focus is the development of vertical aluminum gallium arsenide and aluminum scandium nitride quantum tunneling heterostructures using a semiconductor grafting approach first developed by Ma’s group. The research will pave the way toward development of next-generation radio-frequency bipolar transistors.