More State of the Art Research at Lakehead University


THUNDER BAY – Lakehead University in Thunder Bay is gaining more state of the art research facilities. A state-of-the-art semiconductor research laboratory is officially opening today, June 10. A joint project between Lakehead University and MEAGlow Ltd. – an Ontario-based company established to help commercialize MEAGlow technology – the lab houses a Canadian-designed MEAGlow chemical film growth reactor, built in Thunder Bay, that grows very thin crystal layers of nitride semiconductors on micro, nano, and sub-atomic scales, including two dimensional (2-D) structures.

The lab was established with funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) Emerging Technology Program, FedNor’s Economic Development Initiative, Lakehead University, and MEAGlow Ltd. Dr. Dimiter Alexandrov, MEAGlow University partner, is working to develop technology that will have many applications in the design of semiconductor devices such as energy efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs), higher efficiency solar cells, high speed transistor (field effect) devices, and semiconductor lasers based on quantum wells.

Dr. Alexandrov, a professor in Lakehead’s Electrical Engineering Department, is a world expert in nitride semiconductors. He says “These advanced materials, combined with a new locally developed technology called MEAGlow (migration-enhanced afterglow), can overcome the limitations of current nitride semiconductor technologies, including a reliance on relatively high temperatures and large flows of pure ammonia, hydrogen, and other gases. MEAGlow technology is low-temperature, non-toxic, and hydrogen-free. Eliminating these materials means that production costs of devices can be cut dramatically and, in addition, novel electronic devices can be designed and produced.”

“I am thrilled to see how our government’s over half a million dollar investment in the MEAGlow project has created employment in the North and diversified the northern economy, as well as contributing to a cleaner environment,” says Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, and chair of the NOHFC. “The work MEAGlow is doing is crucial to advancing environmentally friendly production options for semiconductor research around the globe.”

The MEAGlow project is creating several jobs in Thunder Bay. Currently, the MEAGlow project employs seven engineers and physicists, all under the age of 30. In addition, MEAGlow Ltd. plans to add another 10-15 staff over the next few years as it exports MEAGlow technology by building custom chemical reactors for specific clients.

“This Canadian technology provides a unique opportunity for a very wide spectrum of applications in the field of electronics,” says Dr. Alexandrov. “The MEAGlow reactor, with Lakehead University’s new PhD programs, puts Thunder Bay on the map as a leader in the fields of semiconductor technology and electronic devices. The word is getting out – nine abstracts for scientific conferences have been written about our work and all of them have been accepted to date.”

FedNor Minister Tony Clement says, “This project is a fine example of what can be accomplished when the public sector partners with industry. Our government believes that science and technology are crucial elements for stimulating our nation’s productivity, competitiveness and growth. FedNor’s contribution of more than $266,000 to purchase specialized equipment will not only assist with the development of innovative products, it will help revitalize the economy of Northern Ontario by creating a knowledge advantage and jobs right here in the region.”

Lakehead President Brian Stevenson said, “Lakehead University is engaging in innovative research that not only supports local and regional socio-economic needs, but has the potential to affect research and outcomes on a global scale. The MEAGlow project demonstrates how powerful the results can be when business, academia, and government come together to nurture ideas. Best of all, this project employs young people and offers meaningful opportunities for our students to become engaged in commercialized research.”

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