Two Nanotechnology Experts to Join UTD Faculty
Dr. Ray Baughman to Fill Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry; Three Other Noted International Researchers to Join Team

The University of Texas at Dallas announced today that two pioneers in the promising field of nanotechnology will join its faculty this fall and establish an interdisciplinary nanotechnology research institute on its campus, positioning UTD as a leader in a cutting-edge science with the potential to revolutionize such disparate fields as electronics, medicine, communications and manufacturing.

     The hiring of the pair — Dr. Ray Baughman, a corporate fellow at Honeywell International in Morristown, New Jersey, and his colleague, Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, a senior principal scientist at Honeywell – was lauded by the 2000 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Dr. Alan MacDiarmid.

     “The appointment of Drs. Ray Baughman and Anvar Zakhidov to The University of Texas at Dallas places UT Dallas squarely on the map as an international leader in the extremely important emerging field of nanoscience and nanotechnology,” said MacDiarmid, the Blanchard Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. “Dr. Baughman is one of the major figures in this field whose innovative collaborative work with Dr. Zakhidov is globally recognized and highly respected.”

     Three internationally known nanotechnology researchers have agreed to join Baughman and Zakhidov at UT Dallas. They are Dr. Alan Dalton of Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland, Dr. Igor Efimov of Russia from Leicester University in the U.K. and Dr. Edgar Munoz of the University of Saragossa in Spain.

     Nanotechnology is the fabrication of devices or structures on an atomic or molecular level. Using this new science, researchers believe that one day they may be able to construct microscopic medical devices, molecular computers and miniature robots. Other possible results include self-replicating manufacturing systems, able both to make copies of themselves and to manufacture useful products, all done at the molecular level.

     Baughman, who has 50 U.S. patents to his credit, will fill the prestigious Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, which is funded by a $1-million gift by the Welch Foundation, a Texas-based philanthropic organization that supports fundamental chemical research in Texas, and a $1-million grant from UT Dallas. He also will serve as director of the university’s new nanotechnology institute. 

     Zakhidov, a native of Uzbekistan who has also taught molecular science at universities in Japan and Italy, will assume a full professorship in the UT Dallas Department of Physics and work closely with Baughman in establishing and operating the nanotechnology institute.

     “The University of Texas at Dallas is indeed fortunate to have two distinguished scientists of the caliber of Dr. Baughman and Dr. Zakhidov join its faculty,” said university President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer. “The addition of two of the true ‘superstars’ in their field, coupled with the establishment of a nanotechnology center here, positions UT Dallas in the vanguard of universities that are researching and applying this new, promising and potentially powerful science.”

     “The ultimate strengths of a university, of course, are its faculty and students,” said Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, vice president for research and graduate education at UT Dallas, who took the lead in recruiting Baughman and Zakhidov. “The addition of these internationally renowned scientists to our ranks inevitably will enhance both the prestige of the former and the education of the latter.”

      “North Texas already has a world-famous ‘Telecom Corridor,'” said Baughman. “With the addition of this new concentration of research and educational resources, we believe that The University of Texas at Dallas can become the center of a new type of corridor – a ‘Nanotech Corridor,’ focused on the tremendous potential of nanotechnology. UT Dallas, a leader in engineering and the sciences, will be positioned to play a pivotal role in helping realize the potential of nanotechnology.”

     According to Zakhidov, the new research institute will bring together faculty, researchers and students from at least four academic areas – chemistry, physics, engineering and biological sciences. Moreover, the center will be truly international in its operations, bringing talented students and scientists from different countries and research grants from worldwide funding agencies.

     “This collaborative, interdisciplinary approach will bring to bear the requisite skill sets and perspectives that are absolutely critical to successful research in this exciting field,” he said.

     UT D’s hiring of Baughman and Zakhidov was also applauded by James Von Ehr, president and chief executive officer of Zyvex Corporation, a Richardson, Texas-based molecular manufacturing firm, and a founding member of a consortium called the Texas Nanotechnology Initiative. Zyvex currently funds related research at several universities, including UT Dallas.

     “The nanotechnology center at UT Dallas is vital to the future economic prosperity of the North Texas region,” Von Ehr said. “By attracting distinguished researchers and gifted students, UT Dallas is preparing to lead the next industrial revolution.

     “Drs. Baughman and Zakhidov bring an extraordinary range of talents to the center. The researchers at Zyvex are excited at the prospect of working with such well-known leaders in the field.”

     Baughman earned a B.S. degree in physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the materials science area from Harvard University. He originated the concepts of using carbon nanotubes for artificial “muscles” and energy harvesting, and led teams that demonstrated these potentially “game-changing” technologies. Among the strongest objects known, carbon nanotubes are expected to be a major focus of nanotechnology in the 21st Century.

     Zakhidov holds a master’s degree in physics from Tashkent Technical University and a Ph.D. degree in physics (optics) from the Institute of Spectroscopy of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He is well-known for his work on superconducting fullerrides and photoinduced charge transfer in fullerene-polymer systems. He recently developed the concept of tunable photonic crystals, which have potential applications in optoelectronics and telecommunications.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].