Barlage Makes Top 100
DepartmentHistoryFacilitiesInclusionSpotlightEmploymentFaculty in PrintFaculty AwardsStaff AwardsGraduation NEWSROOM Barlage Makes Top 100Sep 18, 2002 From college-age wunderkinds to seasoned entrepreneurs, Technology Review, MIT’s “Magazine of Innovat …
September 18, 2002 By NC State ECE
Barlage Makes Top 100
From college-age wunderkinds to seasoned entrepreneurs, Technology Review, MIT‘s “Magazine of Innovation” has chosen 100 innovators under 35 whose work and ideas will change the world and newly appointed ECE Assistant Professor Douglas Barlage is among these select few.
These 100 brilliant young innovators—all under 35 as of Jan. 1, 2002—are visitors from the future, living among us here and now. Their innovations will have a deep impact on how we live, work and think in the century to come. Nominees are recognized for their contribution in transforming the nature of technology in industries such as biotechnology, computing, energy, manufacturing, medicine, nanotechnology, telecommunications, and transportation.
Barlage (MSEE ’94, PhD ’97), was a senior device engineer at Intel in Hillsboro, OR, where he developed a measurement technique that has enabled Intel to create the world’s smallest and fastest transistors. Barlage’s transmission line model accurately measures the properties of the gate oxide for these record-breaking devices. The gate oxide is a thin layer that prevents transistors from leaking current, but it also limits their size and speed.
“We didn’t really know how to do this correctly,” said Barlage, describing the state of characterization technology before his discovery. “We couldn’t tell a good oxide from a bad oxide. This took out all the ambiguity in all the experiments that we were running, and it has allowed us to pick the right things to do and go in the right direction.”
The right direction has resulted in Intel creating transistors as small as 10 nanometers with gate oxides that are eight angstroms-or just three atoms-thick . A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Devices this small, though, are at least several years from production because of problems with current leaking from the oxide. Barlage and his colleagues are among the industry researchers trying to find a new insulating material (high-k dielectrics) to replace the workhorse silicon dioxide, which has been used as a gate dielectric for more than 30 years.
“Researchers have been able to shrink this thing continually since the late ’60s and they’ve gotten higher and higher performance,” said Barlage. “Now, to get the higher performance you have to change the material. It’s really challenging to try to do that but it also makes the work a lot more exciting. I’m learning more about material science than I ever thought I would.”
Barlage was honored May 23 during a conference and awards ceremony at MIT. This is the second time Technology Review has recognized young scientists and engineers for their innovative work.