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Engineering grad student’s work leads to award-winning paper

February 06, 2007

Three ASU researchers are among co-authors recently awarded a top international prize for outstanding science papers.

The Van Duzer prize is given annually by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), one of the world's leading associations supporting technological advancement. The award recognizes what the organization considers the best paper published in 2006 in its Transactions on Applied Superconductivity journal.

Work led by Lei Yu, a graduate student in a research group in ASU's School of Materials led by professor Nathan Newman, resulted in the paper “Incorporation of a Frequency-Dependent Dielectric Response for the Barrier Material in the Josephson Junction Circuit Model,” detailing discoveries that hold potential for a major impact on advances in electronics.

Yu's ASU co-writers include Newman, director of the Center for Solid State Science and research director for School of Materials , and John Rowell, a visiting professor and member of the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science.

The fourth author is Theodore Van Duzer, a longtime distinguished engineering researcher, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and faculty member at the University of California-Berkeley. The Van Duzer prize is named for him.

“Lei Yu was the driving force for the article,” Newman says. “It is a phenomenal achievement that his graduate work led to such a major award. That is extremely rare, so it's all the more impressive.”

The team's paper presents a mathematical model for a type of Josephson junction. As transistors are to semiconductor technology, Josephson junctions are the fundamental device of superconductive circuit technology – also called SC technology.

SC technology could enable the design and fabrication of a new class of digital electronics that operate at speeds 10 to 100 times faster than today's electronics. It promises a level of performance that can't be matched by semiconductor technology and could “revolutionize large-scale digital electronic applications,” such as high-performance microprocessors and communication systems, Newman says.