Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Awarded more than $3 Million from the Department of Energy

Allen Ramsey

November 30, 2023


The grant is part of a $42 million push from the DOE to improve the reliability and resiliency of America’s power grid.

Texas Tech University professors Jingyu Lin and Hongxing Jiang were awarded $3,070,735 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a photoconductive semiconductor switching device.  
The DOE announced the Texas Tech team as one of 15 research groups across the country to receive funding as part of a $42 million commitment to improve the power grid and accelerate the development of clean energy resources.  
“Modernizing our nation's aging power grid is critical to strengthening our national and energy security, and absolutely essential to reaching President Biden's ambitious goal of a net-zero economy by 2050,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This new investment will support project teams across the country as they develop the innovative technologies we need to strengthen our grid security and bring reliable clean electricity to more families and businesses—all while combatting the climate crisis.” 
Managed by DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and funded by DOE's Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of power Semiconductor Technologies (ULTRAFAST) program, the projects are designed to enable a more secure and reliable grid while allowing it to utilize more solar, wind and other clean energy. 
Lin and Jiang, both Horn Distinguished Professors and co-directors of the Center for Nanophotonics in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, will use advanced ultrawide-bandgap (UWGB) materials to create the photoconductive semiconductor switching device, which will enable improved control of the grid. 
The new switching devices, made from novel UWBC semiconductors, will support higher voltage and current than legacy semiconductor materials.  
“The Center for Nanophotonics at Texas Tech focuses solely on the development of UWBG semiconductor materials and devices,” Lin said. “In fact, some of our unique capabilities are a result of ARPA-E's continued support.”   
“For this project,” Jiang explained, “we will focus on developing laser-triggered power switches made from UWBG semiconductors to support high-speed, high-voltage and high-power operation.”