(NewsWise) Oklahoma University’s Thirumalai “Venky” Venkatesan is Director for the Center for Quantum Research and Technology, he praises Oklahoma for making a commitment to new technology that advances the state’s competitiveness.”
“Oklahoma has developed a completely new frontier in terms of economic growth. We are investing in people who can transform both our technology and economic landscape,” he said.
The investment includes state funding for new faculty in the OU Gallogly College of Engineering. Venkatesan is one of 20 faculty hired in 2021, with plans to hire an additional 48 in the next four years. The funding puts Oklahoma in line with other states that have realized the need for engineering support.
The goal of the center is to bring together faculty and students interested in quantum materials, sensors, quantum communications and computing.Venkatesan’s rare skillset combining fundamental science, applied research and technology transfer in a variety of fields makes him ideal to lead the effort.
Venkatesan’s research, however, is much more complex than a goal statement. His life’s work is to find a way for technology to emulate the brain – and that work continues to garner international attention.
At the end of the day, Venkatesan considers himself a teacher first and foremost. In addition to overseeing OU’s quantum research and technology efforts, he is also a professor in both electrical and computer engineering, and physics and astronomy.
Venkatesan is currently searching for his next crop of superstars. The student researchers will focus on quantum materials, sensors, metrology, secure communications and computing.
Venkatesan keeps his mission constant: Help launch students into the world of industry and education and grow and encourage entrepreneurial mindsets. “We all can make an enormous difference in this world – especially as an educator. My goal is to produce a professional out of a student.”
Venkatesan latest research comes in the development of molecular device will design next-generation processing chips with enhanced computational power and speed – all using significantly reduced energy.
“Silicon circuits are not optimally designed to emulate the human brain,” he said. “That’s where the action begins – researchers asking what circuitry will mimic the human brain and its actions. The challenge is that researchers cannot bring down the power required to that of brain level.”
Venkatesan and his team are closer to finding those answers. Their findings have been published several times in Nature, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journals. Two team members started the molecular device project under Venkatesan’s guidance: Sreetosh Goswami, a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Science India, and Sreebrata Goswami, a scientist at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Sciences.
“The key to the entire project was the wonder molecule discovered by Sreebrata. His discovery is making current state-of-the-art technology look like something out of the Stone Age,” Venkatesan said. Meanwhile, Sreetosh had created a tiny electrical circuit consisting of a 40-nanometer layer of molecular film sandwiched between a layer of gold on top and gold-infused nanodisc and indium tin oxide at the bottom. On applying a negative voltage on the device, Sreetosh witnessed a current-voltage profile that was nothing like he had seen before.