UTD Professor Wins $350,000 Grant from Zyvex Corp. For Research into Micro- and Nano-Scale Assembly
'High-Risk, High-Reward' Studies May Have Many, Varied Applications

Dr. Jeong-Bong Lee

Dr. Jeong-Bong Lee

An electrical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has received a $350,000 grant from Richardson-based molecular manufacturing firm Zyvex Corporation for research into assembling micro- and nano-scale devices.

Dr. Jeong-Bong Lee, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, won a five-year contract from Zyvex to conduct the pioneering studies in his Micro/Nano Devices and Systems (MINDS) Laboratory at UTD.

The grant is part of a $25-million research award that Zyvex received last fall from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Advanced Technology Program, which seeks to accelerate the development of innovative, emerging technology for broad national benefit through partnerships with the private sector.

A team lead by Zyvex will develop miniature assemblers using micro mechanical systems capable of manufacturing micro- and nano-scale components and subsystems, which have widespread potential applications including vastly smaller robotics than can currently be fabricated. Micro-scale denotes objects larger than, and nano-scale objects smaller than, a micron, which is one millionth of a meter.

Lee’s task will be to develop electrical connections to the miniature parts. He will also contribute to the design and fabrication of a demonstration subsystem utilizing a prototype assembler.

“This is ‘high-risk, high-reward’ research that has terrific potential in many fields, including bio-medicine, electronics and optics,” said Lee. “Many micro- and nano-scale components already exist. This research attempts the next leap — assembling those components into products that can become commercially viable.”

“Dr. Lee’s unique expertise in the field of electrical engineering is a key component in accomplishing the objectives for our NIST ATP program,” said James R. Von Ehr, President and CEO of Zyvex. “We are extremely pleased to add Dr. Lee to our team.”

Before joining UTD a year ago, Lee was a member of the faculty of Louisiana State University. Last year, he won the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Career Award, given to exceptionally promising college and university junior faculty who are committed to the integration of research and education.

Lee earned an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a B.S. degree in Electronics Engineering from Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea.

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