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

Integrated NANO devices and Systems Research

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