Meet Anthony Rice
In this year's Graduate Student Research Symposium, Anthony Rice earned the second-place award in the Engineering category. Rice, a doctoral student in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), won with his poster presentation entitled, "Homoeopitaxial deposition of AIN on (0001)-oriented AIN substrates by MOCVD."
Rice received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from NC State in 2006. As an undergraduate, he worked as a laboratory assistant where he was ". . .first exposed to graduate level research." But it was during the MSE senior design project that Rice became interested in electronic materials.
Rice says that he enjoyed both MSE research groups that he had worked with during his undergraduate years at NC State. So, when he was offered positions in each group as a Ph.D. student, he jumped at the chance. Currently, he is conducting research on semiconductor materials under the supervision of Professor Zlatko Sitar.
The focus of the research is on the deposition of aluminum nitride (AIN), gallium nitride, and their alloys. These semiconductor materials can be used in the manufacture of ultraviolet light-emitting and detecting devices, as well as high-power and high-temperature electronics. However, the structural defects that form when they are deposited on conventional silicon or aluminum oxide wafers poses a significant problem. Rice's group is researching ways to greatly reduce concentrations of defects through the use of AIN wafers.
Rice says that their work is unique ". . . principally from the use of AIN wafers. There are few research groups or companies currently producing single crystalline AlN wafers and even fewer that have also demonstrated the ability to deposit homoepitaxial AlN on such wafers." And he further says that finding how the nitrides do and do not behave like other semiconductor systems allows them to predict which problems can be solved using conventional approaches and which ones require innovation.
The symposium was not the first poster that Rice had created for his research. But he learned that it was important to have a story to tell. He also included only the necessary details of his research ". . . because few people will have a strong enough background in your field to appreciate all that you have done."
When he is not engineering semiconductors, Rice can be found reading military and natural histories or building model vehicles – two of his favorite pastimes.
Advice for his fellow students? "Anything can be improved. Simplification and adaptation of existing knowledge are as important to research as innovation."
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