Nanotechnology Expert Fills Distinguished Chair in Engineering
Sept. 28, 2015
Dr. Reza Moheimani
Dr. Reza Moheimani, an expert in nanotechnology, has joined the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas this fall as the James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology and Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Moheimani will provide leadership to identify opportunities and challenges for micro- and nano-manufacturing research at a time of remarkable progress in nanotechnology.
“UT Dallas is a young and ambitious university with clear direction,” Moheimani said. “In a vibrant environment like this, more interesting things happen: People are more open to new ideas, and the desire to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries fuels growth and innovation.”
Moheimani comes to UT Dallas from the University of Newcastle, Australia, where he was a professor and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) and Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom.
“We are very excited to have Reza Moheimani join the Jonsson School,” said Dr. Mark W. Spong, dean of the Jonsson School and holder of both the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering and the Excellence in Education endowed chairs.
“Reza adds a new and important dimension to our already strong group of world-class researchers in systems and controls in the Jonsson School. He is the world leader in his field. The fact that he received a DARPA award with Zyvex even before arriving in Dallas is a testament to his collaborative skills and reputation. Mario Rotea and the faculty of mechanical engineering are to be commended for recruiting such an outstanding individual to UTD.”
While in Australia, Moheimani established and directed the Laboratory for Dynamics and Control of Nanosystems, a research facility dedicated to the advancement of nanotechnology through innovations in systems theory and control engineering.
“Reza adds a new and important dimension to our already strong group of world-class researchers in systems and controls in the Jonsson School. He is the world leader in his field.”
He is establishing a similar laboratory and research team at UT Dallas. His work is enabled in part by a recent DARPA award under the Atoms to Product Program, which is led by Zyvex Labs, a molecular nanotechnology company founded by Von Ehr and based in Richardson.
An important aspect of Moheimani’s research is concerned with microelectromechanical systems, also known as MEMS or micro-machines. Scientists are developing these micron-sized mechatronic devices, which are fabricated from silicon, for numerous high-tech applications.
In 2009, Moheimani collaborated with researchers from IBM Zurich Research Laboratory in Switzerland on a project that involved using a MEMS device to store digital information as tiny indentations on a polymer surface. The collaboration led to a control system for this device that achieved a controlled positioning accuracy of 0.25nm, comparable to the diameter of one atom. This accuracy enabled the team to achieve a data storage density that was considered a world record at the time.
The work earned Moheimani and his collaborators the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Control System Technology Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the field.
Last year, he was awarded the prestigious Nathaniel B. Nichols Medal in Cape Town, South Africa, during the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) World Congress. Moheimani was recognized for “fundamental contributions in systems science and control theory of direct relevance to engineering practice in high precision mechatronic systems.” He also was the recipient of the IFAC Mechatronic Systems Award in 2013 and the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award in 2007.
Moheimani received his doctorate and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia. After completing his dissertation, he was hired by the Australian Defence Force Academy to work on a project involving active noise and vibration control using piezoelectric transducers. Moheimani earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Shiraz University in Iran. He is the co-author of two books: Spatial Control of Vibration and Noise: Theory and Experiments and Piezoelectric Transducers for Vibration Control and Damping. He has also edited two books: Perspectives in Robust Control and Control Technologies for Emerging Micro and Nanoscale Systems.
“Reza Moheimani is an exciting addition to UT Dallas’ faculty,” said James Von Ehr MS’81, whose gift to UT Dallas established the endowed position in 2002. “He is a recognized leader in MEMS with a worldwide reputation. Our ability to attract Professor Moheimani to the University testifies to our credibility as a top-tier research institution. We look forward to collaborating with him, and his students, and expect to see even more excellent students and companies coming out of UT Dallas.”
About the Chair
Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2000), held the James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology during the last five years of his life. The chair was a gift from James Von Ehr, who received a master’s degree from the UT Dallas School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 1981. Von Ehr was honored by the University as a Distinguished Alumni in 2004. He has served on numerous UT Dallas boards, including the Development Board, where he was chairman from 2005 to 2010. Von Ehr was a member of the campaign council for the Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One and Beyond fundraising effort. He is founder and CEO of Zyvex Labs, and has been active in the business community in North Texas since starting his first business in 1984.