Islam, Saif

M. Saif Islam

Director, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute, UC Davis

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Lead PI: Integrated Nanodevices and Nanosystems Research Lab

University of California – Davis
One Shields Avenue, 3135 Kemper Hall
Davis, CA 95616-5270

Research Background

Professor Islam’s work has covered a broad variety of topics: ultra-fast semiconductor optoelectronics,  synthesis of low-dimensional semiconductor and oxide nanostructures, and their applications in devices, ultra-sensitive novel sensors, detectors, circuits and systems; fiber optical and RF photonic communication links, and materials and devices for harsh environments. His group was the first to demonstrate light-bending and photon-trapping slow light silicon and germanium photodetectors that capitalize on the enhanced photon-semiconductor interactions to dramatically increase the light absorption capabilities of ultra-fast semiconductor devices that are weak in absorption characteristics (US patent). This demonstration has a far-reaching impact on ultra-fast integrated optoelectronic, silicon photonics, data communication, CMOS imagers, quantum sensing, computing, energy harvesting, and disease sensing and prevention.  

Dr. Islam was the first to demonstrate a semiconductor (silicon and III-V) nanowire bridging technique that effectively addresses the challenges of interfacing and integrating one-dimensional semiconductor and oxide nanomaterials in nanoelectronic and nanophotonic devices (US and International Patents). His group contributed to the progress of ultrawide-bandgap semiconductors (GaN and Ga2O3) for applications in electronics, as well as in deep-UV (solar blind) optoelectronics, charged particles-based devices for several extreme-environment applications. He demonstrated the first velocity-matched distributed balanced photodetectors with a record high linear photocurrents and ultra-fast response. He also developed the technique for generating ultra-smooth metal surfaces for interfacing molecular electronic devices that improved the yield of molecular switching devices fabricated with self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of molecules. Such metal films contributed to the smoothest superlens ever reported. His group also developed a technique for dynamically switching between positive and negative permeability of metamaterials by photoconductive coupling.


Research Interests

  • CMOS compatible silicon and III-V semiconductor-based sensors and detectors for high bit rate data communication, telecommunication, and quantum communication;
  • Imaging and sensing of faint and ultrafast signals of light, chemicals, bio-agents, pathogens, and disease;
  • Novel transistors, memory, and storage devices based on group IV and wide bandgap semiconductors for standard and extreme environments;
  • Cost-effective energy harvesting technologies with ultra-high efficiency.
Broader Areas of Research
  • Theory and simulations for strengthening light-matter interactions through nanophotonic techniques for enhanced efficiency, speed, and gain in CMOS optoelectronics, imaging and sensing
  • Combining photon sensing, CMOS electronics, and machine learning to enable real-time decision-making in several interdisciplinary areas of imaging, sensing and diagnostics.
  • Synthesis and engineering of semiconductors and oxides for enhanced sensitivity and extraordinary durability in extreme conditions  
  • Understanding nanoscale and quantum phenomenon in nanodevices