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Li named Interim Director of the University Of Illinois Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab
Xiuling Li 

Xiuling Li was named Interim Director of the Nick Holonyak Jr. Micro & Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL), effective January 20. Li, a Willett Faculty Scholar, is an internationally-recognized expert and leader in the field of semiconductor nanotechnology who joined the University of Illinois in 2007. She holds a B.S. degree from Peking University and Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. Read more


Researchers at Holonyak Lab are developing a lab-on-a-smartphone system that will enable healthcare professionals to detect disease at the point of care. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the 4-year grant will enable the team to develop a handheld instrument that can detect and report the presence of pathogens in less than 30 minutes using a single drop of blood – all with a smartphone clip-on instrument that costs less than $10. Read more

An artist rendering of the MacEtch-produced fin array structures in a beta-gallium oxide semiconductor substrate from professor Xiuling Li's latest project. 

A team of University of Illinois electrical engineers led by Holonyak Lab Professor Xiuling Li, Donald Biggar Willett Scholar, have cleared another hurdle in high-power semiconductor fabrication by adding the field’s hottest material – beta-gallium oxide – to their arsenal. Beta-gallium oxide is readily available and promises to convert power faster and more efficiently than today’s leading semiconductor materials – gallium nitride and silicon, the researchers said. Read more

First author, Gelson Pagan-Diaz, second from right, joins his interdisciplinary team, from left, Dean Rashid Bashir, Karla Ramos-Cruz, Onur Aydin, Gabriel Popescu, and Mikhail Kandel, far right. Not pictured are Taher Saif and Richard Sam. 

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have successfully used stem cells to engineer living biohybrid nerve tissue to develop 3D models of neural networks with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of how the brain and these networks work. Read more

A scanning electron microscope micrograph of a rolled microinductor architecture, approximatley 80 micrometers in diameter and viewed from one end looking inward. 

Smaller is better when it comes to microchips, and by using 3D components on a standardized 2D microchip manufacturing platform, developers can use up to 100 times less chip space. A team of engineers has boosted the performance of its previously developed 3D inductor technology by adding as much as three orders of magnitudes more induction to meet the performance demands of modern electronic devices. Read more

Brian Cunningham 

A fast, inexpensive yet sensitive technique to detect cancer markers is bringing researchers closer to a “liquid biopsy” — a test using a small sample of blood or serum to detect cancer, rather than the invasive tissue sampling routinely used for diagnosis. Read more

Electrical and computer engineering professor Can Bayram, left, and graduate student Kihoon Park led a study that redefines the thermal properties of gallium nitride semiconductors. 

A University of Illinois-based team of engineers has found that the model currently used to predict heat loss in a common semiconductor material does not apply in all situations. By testing the thermal properties of gallium nitride semiconductors fabricated using four popular methods, the team discovered that some techniques produce materials that perform better than others. This new understanding can help chip manufacturers find ways to better diffuse the heat that leads to device damage and decreased device lifespans. Read more

An nanoantenna absorbing light. 

Harnessing light’s energy into nanoscale volumes requires novel engineering approaches to overcome a fundamental barrier known as the “diffraction limit.”  However, Holonyak Lab researchers have breached this barrier by developing nanoantennas that pack the energy captured from light sources, such as LEDs, into particles with nanometer-scale diameters. Read more

Shizhao Fan 

To the average person, solar energy may still seem like the technology of the future, but the most common solar panels are reaching the limits of what they can do. Striving for improvements in efficiency, Associate Professor Minjoo Larry Lee of Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab is advancing solar technology with an approach described in a new paper recently published in the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. Read more

Awards and Recognition

The faculty and students of Holonyak Lab received many honors and awards over the last six months. Here are some of the highlights.

Around Campus
Nick Holonyak, Jr. being honored as the Grand Marshall for the local Parade of Lights.

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, downtown Champaign glows as the Parade of Lights comes to its end. It was only fitting that a parade illuminated by LEDs would have the inventor of the red LED as its grand marshal, our namesake, Nick Holonyak, Jr.

Brian Cunningham 

The Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL), one of the recently established, campus-level “Convergence Institutes” brings together experts in science, technology, engineering, and health to fight the deadly disease. More than 150 Illinois faculty, research, postdocs, and students – including researchers at the Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Laboratory -- have committed to developing new tools and research programs that allow for more advanced and precise diagnostic methods and treatments for all types of cancer. Read more