College of Engineering Receives Combined $9 Million for Nanophotonics Research
April 2, 2008
The College of Engineering has received a $9 million package--$2 million from the
Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF), $5.35 million from AT&T and a $2 million commitment
from the university--to attract a team of world-class faculty researchers in the field
These researchers will be part of the university’s Nano Tech Center, co-directed
by Henryk Temkin and Mark Holtz. The collaborative funding will be used to enhance
nanophotonics research, and supports the development of new technologies, including
those that will impact tomorrow’s communications industry.
"Continuing excellence in research is one of the strategic aims of the Texas Tech
University System," said Chancellor Kent Hance. "The funding received from the TETF
and the gift received from AT&T firmly establishes Texas Tech as an innovator in nanophotonics,
enabling the university to educate students in the critical areas of computer and
"The Emerging Technology Fund continues to draw the brightest minds in research and
innovation to our state, spurring the commercialization of university research, and
ultimately positioning Texas as a strong competitor in the global marketplace," said
Gov. Rick Perry. "Continued expansion of our research and development capabilities
will create more jobs and generate substantial capital investments, further diversifying
and enriching our economy."
The $5.35 million from AT&T will establish two endowed chairs, the Edward E. Whitacre,
Jr. Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Linda F. Whitacre Chair in
Electrical and Computer Engineering. The positions will be filled by Hongxing Jiang
and Jingyu Lin, respectively, currently professors at Kansas State University. The
contribution will also create the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. Endowed Scholarship, to recruit
outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to major in engineering at Texas Tech.
Recipients will be chosen based on achievement in academics and leadership. Finally,
a portion of the AT&T funds will be used to expand the engineering school’s nanophotonics
lab and purchase equipment.
Additionally, Jiang and Lin, who will arrive in May, will move the headquarters of
their corporation, III-N Technology Inc., to Lubbock. The third member of the research
team, Zhaoyang Fan, arrived in January. Lin and Jiang have collaborated on research
for more than 20 years, developing products in solid-state lighting, biological and
chemical agent sensing and the harvesting of energy. These researchers have more than
185 publications, eight U.S. patents, 14 patents pending and receive an average of
$1.5 million in competitive funding annually related to the study of nanophotonic
III-N Technology Inc. was founded in 2001 to commercialize the research team’s innovations,
including light-emitting diode (LED)-based residential and commercial lighting products
that can be plugged directly into standard power outlets.
"This research provides immeasurable benefits to our state and nation, and the funding
provides tremendous opportunities for the students and faculty," said John Montford,
AT&T senior vice president-Western Region Legislative and Regulatory Affairs. "We’re
pleased to be a part of this unprecedented announcement for the College of Engineering,
and we look forward to continuing our deep commitment to this city and this great
Nanophotonics involves the creation and manipulation of advanced materials at the
nanoscale that can produce and sense light. The research has significant implications
for defense applications, telecommunications, homeland security and the future of
commercial and residential lighting. Nanophotonic devices have the potential to revolutionize
light sources, resulting in enormous energy savings to the nation.
At Gov. Perry’s request, the TETF was established by the Texas Legislature in 2005
to enhance the research and commercialization of emerging technologies in Texas. TETF
will help Texas Tech establish a first-class research team in the highly competitive
area of nanoscale opto-electronics. Opto-electronics is the science and engineering
of converting light energy into electrical energy, and vice versa. Holtz said the
Texas Tech research will lead to "new discoveries which will find immediate use in
miniature, efficient and bright light sources, as well as extremely sensitive light
detectors." Each of these has applications that are important to the nation’s wellbeing
and the state’s economic development in the high tech area.
"Texas Tech already conducts groundbreaking research in nanoscale opto-electronic
materials," said Pamela Eibeck, dean of Texas Tech’s College of Engineering. "Yet
bringing these new professors to Texas Tech, along with their research teams, and
dramatically growing our university capabilities through the combined efforts of the
TETF, AT&T and the university, will firmly place us at the head of the pack in this
Leslie Cranford, Communications and Marketing, Texas Tech University
(806) 742-2136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.