Engineering Professor Receives Research Honor for Lifetime of Work
Dr. Kenneth O (center), shown with some of his students, credits his current and former students for his latest honor from the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, has received a 2014 University Research Award from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in recognition of lifetime contributions to U.S. semiconductor design research.
Dr. O, Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair, has been working in the field of analog electronics for almost 30 years and is the director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE), the largest University-based analog center in the world. SIA is the voice of the U.S. semiconductor industry, one of the country’s top export industries.
Dr. James Coleman, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering, said the meaning of the award is defined by its previous recipients. He said that the list of 30 recipients is a “staggering group of individuals.”
“These are all people that you learn and study from,” said Coleman, holder of the Erik Jonsson Distinguished Chair and Chair in Electrical Engineering. “This tells us that Ken O’s work is clearly valued by his peers. I think he is an appropriate person to be included in this list of people.”
Analog technology is the basis of electronics used in everyday life for a variety of purposes, including communication, power generation and management, safety, security, medical diagnostics and treatment, and entertainment.
“The award is not really about me, but it is about the accomplishments of my current and former students who I have been privileged to work with.”
Dr. O’s research group was one of the first to show that Radio Frequency CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) technology — which is used to fabricate radio circuits in almost every cellphone — is viable. CMOS technology is used to fabricate the bulk of integrated circuits including microprocessors, memory chips and imagers. Dr. O’s group set records for the highest operating frequency for transistor circuits in 2008 and continues to expand the application of CMOS technology.
His current research involves the fabrication of devices, circuits and systems in CMOS technology for sub-millimeter wave and terahertz applications.
Dr. O, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, was recruited to the University in 2009 to direct TxACE, which is funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the state through its Texas Emerging Technology Fund, Texas Instruments, the UT System and UT Dallas.
At the annual TxACE symposium in October, attendees and University staff members congratulated him on the award. He officially received the award Nov. 13 at the SIA board meeting.
“The award is not really about me, but it is about the accomplishments of my current and former students who I have been privileged to work with,” Dr. O said before asking the audience to applaud his students.
Dr. O also spoke of the support he has received from industry partners such as Texas Instruments and SRC, research collaborators from all over the world — many of them who were at the symposium — and for the UT Dallas administrators who entrusted him with TxACE.
“When you have this kind of support from every side, it is difficult not to do well,” he said. “I would like to thank all of you for helping make TxACE a success, and I hope we continue to support the research, faculty and students involved in TxACE for many more years.”
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