PhD Student Rui Xu Awarded NASA NSTGRO Fellowship

May 04, 2022

Rui ("Ray") Xu is a PhD candidate in electrical engineering studying under Prof. Peter Kinget in the Columbia Integrated Systems Laboratory (CISL)

The award provides up to 4-years of funding, up to $80k per year. This supports the research project, tuition costs, living stipend, and the opportunity to be a visiting scientist at a non-commercial facility such as any NASA laboratory.

“Being selected as a NASA Space Technology Graduate Researcher is a real mark of distinction. Because of your exceptional background and potential for research, you have been chosen to develop groundbreaking, high-risk/high-payoff, early stage space technology. Your contributions will help make science and space exploration more effective, affordable, and sustainable,” Jenn Gustetic, Selection Official stated in the acceptance letter.

The proposed project will focus on the use of SONOS transistors, typically used in flash memory devices, as integrated radiation detectors. The project seeks to optimize this technology for various purposes such as neutron detection, single-particle detection, and dosimetry, then applying these techniques to space instrumentation applications.

The project will commence by designing a microchip with an array of SONOS transistors, such as those found on commercial flash memory chips, but with an analog readout instead of a digital output. The analog readout provides more information and hence this prototype chip will be used as a way to characterize how radiation impacts the electrical properties of SONOS transistors.