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New laboratory and clean room to expand COT research horizons

Lehigh's Center for Optical Technologies (COT) is building a laboratory complex that will give researchers the ability to transform new materials into new optoelectronic devices.

The three-story facility will adjoin the north side of Sinclair Laboratory, home of the COT, and face onto a courtyard and sculpture garden.

Construction on the addition began July 20 and is expected to be completed by early next summer, allowing faculty and students to begin working on research projects.

Equipment will be moved into the new addition beginning as early as January, said Kimberly Trapp, industry liaison officer for the COT.

Daniel E. Smith Jr. '71, president and CEO of Sycamore Networks Inc. and a member of the university's board of trustees, has provided a gift to cover a substantial amount of the cost of the new addition.

Smith endowed the directorship of the COT, held by Tom Koch, professor of electrical and computer engineering, which is named for Smith's parents, Daniel E. Smith '39 and Patricia M. Smith.

Centerpiece of the new addition will be a 3,000-square-foot clean room and epitaxial growth facility. Epitaxy is the process by which a thin layer of single-crystal material is deposited on a single-crystal substrate so that the crystal structure and crystalline defects of the substrate are reproduced in the growing material.

The clean room will give researchers the capability to develop Group III-V (on the Periodic Table) and wide band-gap semiconductor materials.

The COT is a partnership consisting of Lehigh, Pennsylvania State University, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The center has also established joint research programs with local and national companies and government agencies.

More than 30 Lehigh faculty members and an additional 20 from Penn State are affiliated with the COT.

Launched in January 2001, the COT has received more than $40 million in support, including grants from the U.S. Army and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as well as matching funds from Lehigh.


Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004

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