Deji Akinwande, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, is one Nigerian scaling hurdles, pushing boundaries and breaking stereotypes.
Akinwande has been identified by US President Barack Obama as one of the recipients of “the highest honours to be bestowed by the US government for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers”.
Alongside 104 researchers, he will receive the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers in Washington DC later in the year, according to online news website, The Cable.
“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” Obama said while announcing the winners.
“We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.”
Akinwande is an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering and a Jack Kilby/Texas instruments endowed faculty fellow in computer engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
He graduated from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, bagging a double degree (B.S/M.S) in electrical engineering and applied physics. His master’s research in applied physics pioneered the design and development of near-field microwave probe tips for non-destructive imaging and studies of materials.
He obtained his PhD degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 2009, conducting research on the synthesis, device physics, and circuit applications of carbon nanotubes and graphene.
According to the Akinwande Nano Research Group, the professor is known for his groundbreaking research on nanomaterials, sensors, devices and flexible technology. He is considered one of the top researchers in the world in the areas of graphene, silicon electronics and 2-D nanomaterials for use in flexible electronics.
In 2015, Akinwande created the first transistor out of silicene – the world’s thinnest silicon material – and he is continuing to advance the capabilities of computer chips and other electronics.
He is the co-inventor of a high frequency chip-to-chip interconnect and an electrically small antenna for bio-electronics.
Prior to his selection for the presidential award, Akinwande had won several other awards in the US.