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“The partnerships provided motivation for initial work and funding that could support graduate students, data for publication and proof-of-concept experiments that were vital to pursue larger funding from the federal and state governments,” he said. “Without this, it could have been much tougher to get into this research area.”

Sammakia said the regular research status reports also allow work that turns out to be especially promising to be fast tracked with additional funding and staff. That happened recently with a project focused on process development for packaging. “In the middle of the meeting, the partner turned to me and said, ‘This has to be a top priority. We want you to increase the funding for this project and here are some additional questions we want answered.’ We upgraded the project, a lot more work was done and, of course, when you do that you get more research and more surprises,” Sammakia said. “It led to solving some fundamental materials problems.”

Message from Mary Beth Curtin

Traditionally, sponsoring companies or agencies do not have much contact with researchers for a year at a time. “By that time, if you get misdirected, you may end up not meeting the requirements of your proposal,” Sammakia said. “The chances of success are low. You end up doing something interesting and maybe useful but it’s not what the sponsor had in mind. We want the work to be not only relevant and important but exactly what the company needs.”

Sammakia said the regular industry-faculty meetings have been so successful at the IEEC that they were introduced to the CAMM at its founding several years ago. He anticipates the process working across the Center of Excellence, including in the new Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP), which last year was founded with $4 million in federal funding.

With the addition of CASP, the Center of Excellence is building a unique operation with capabilities unmatched by any other facility in the world. The CAMM , which opened its roll-to-roll electronics prototype manufacturing facility in 2008, has tremendous potential in terms of new products as well as economic development, Sammakia said. The first prototype products created at the University’s facility at Endicott Interconnect Technologies will be ready this year.

Mary Beth Curtin, associate director of S3IP, said Endicott Interconnect is already using some of the CAMM ’s tools to investigate future products and try to commercialize new technologies. She noted that member companies will continue to be an integral part of decisions regarding the CAMM ’s facilities and its processes.

“The companies are helping us build a technology road map for the CAMM,” Curtin said. “As we go forward, they will help us answer questions like: What gaps in tools and infrastructure should we be addressing? How should we be building the center to be of use to our partners? What research questions should we tackle?”

— Rachel Coker

S3IP Image

“Green” technologies are central to many initiatives of the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP), from solar power to lead-free electronics.

  • In 2008, the Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP) was established with $4 million in federal funding. CASP will focus on tapping into the sun’s immense supply of renewable energy and make it easily accessible as a flexible, large-area and low-cost power source. The multidisciplinary center, led by Director Seshu Desu, will focus on areas such as solar conversion efficiency, storage capabilities, solar module stability and power system cost reduction. CASP will enable people to use solar power in ways and places they never have before.

  • Faculty member Howard Wang and his colleagues continue to explore the possibilities of printed electronics, which may reduce the materials wasted and energy used in production. The key there is using an additive process, rather than a traditional subtractive process, which involves heavy-duty chemicals and wastes a tremendous amount of copper.

  • S3IP offered two summer programs in 2008, one for science teachers and another for promising students. The Go Green Institute brought together about 50 seventh-graders for an intensive 10-day, hands-on learning experience centered on the theme of a greener living environment.

  • The center assists with graduate-level classes in electronics packaging and flexible electronics via distance-education technology and often relies on video conferencing technology rather than having in-person meetings that would require people to travel from around the country.

  • Ongoing S3IP projects also include initiatives related to low-power computing, data center thermal management and lead-free electronics.

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