Dr. Robert Wolkow, University of Alberta physics professor and collaborator at the Nanotechnology Research Centre recently received the AVS Nanoscale Science and Technology Division's Nanotechnology Recognition Award. This international award recognizes ground-breaking work in both assembly and characterization of nanometer-scale ordered structures on semiconductor surfaces, which enables technology for atomic-scale computing circuits.
Wolkow's NRC career started at the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences in Ottawa. He eventually moved to Edmonton and became an NRC program leader for all nanoelectronics work where he assembled a team of experts that is still largely intact – including current microscopy researchers Mark Salomons, Jason Pitters, and Martin Cloutier.
Wolkow's award is the result of over 2 decades of joint effort and pioneering research born out of a strategic partnership between the NRC and the University of Alberta. He had nothing but praise for the team of experts at the Nanotechnology Research Centre that have enabled his success. "I still regard the NRC as my home – I left, but I never really left," he said. "I couldn't have done all I've done without the NRC partnership. It's very important to me and has been crucial to my growth and success, and I'm very appreciative of that."
"Dr. Wolkow's insatiable scientific curiosity is what drives him and it has been an exciting and rewarding challenge to provide the instrumentation that he needs to complete his work,"
Wolkow and the microscopy team have many future projects in the works including the challenge of constantly refining atomic circuitry. "We're making macro-scale to atom-scale interfaces," said Wolkow. "This will transition discoveries into practical, commercially-viable devices."
The team is also working with the Metrology Research Centre in Ottawa to develop an electrical current standard and create a standard thermometer that does not need calibration
"Our technology is generally faster and uses less power than others," said Wolkow. "Computer tech today has met a saturation point, which is a big problem commercially, so whoever forges this new path forward will define what computers will look like and how they will be made – that's our goal."