Kumar Receives DARPA Young Investigator Award

Dr. Satish Kumar, assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded with the 2014 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award (YFA). The objective of the DARPA YFA program is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) needs as well as DARPA’s program development process. The YFA program provides $500,000 funding, mentoring, and industry and DoD contacts to awardees early in their careers so they may develop their research ideas in the context of DoD needs.

Dr. Kumar has been selected for YFA under the topic of Modeling Phonon Generation and Transport in the Near Junction Region of Wide-Bandgap Transistors. His project entitled “Electron-Phonon Transport in High-Electron Mobility Transistors” will investigate hot spot formation and electron-phonon transport in GaN based High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMTs). These transistors have the potential to operate in the frequency range of 100s of GHz. They are strong candidates for the future high power amplifiers due to the very highpower densities. HEMTs are promising for a wide range of applications in the next generation cellular base stations, advanced military radars, and solid state light sources. The proposed research will provide a robust computational framework which will enable fast and accurate analysis of energy transport in HEMTs and establish guidelines to reduce device temperature and enhance output power/reliability.

Dr. Bill Wepfer, Chair of the Woodruff School, offers his congratulations by affirming, “Dr. Kumar's work has already had significant impact in advancing the understanding of energy transport in nanoscale structures and devices.”

DARPA has invited all recipients of 2014 YFA at Washington DC in October 2014 for a kick-off meeting with DARPA division directors and program managers, and to receive the award plaque.