Professor Roberto Paiella Receives Ignition Award


ECE Professor Roberto Paiella has been named the recipient of a Boston University Office of Technology Development (OTD) Ignition Award. These awards are designed to bridge the gap between government funded research in basic science and product development work performed by commercial entities. By enabling researchers to generate commercially relevant data, reach key milestones, or develop a prototype, the Ignition Awards help bring raw technology to a mature enough state where it can be either licensed or form the basis of a new company.

Prof. Paiella’s award winning research (Prof. Theodore Moustakas, co-PI) is aimed at the demonstration of semiconductor light sources tunable by design across the THz spectra region, and capable of operation at or near room temperature. These devices are currently the key missing ingredient for a wide range of applications in the emerging field of THz photonics, such as security screening (e.g., for hazardous chemical and biological sensing, explosives detection, and concealed weapon identification), noninvasive medical diagnostics, and manufacturing quality control. The activities funded by this grant will focus on a novel approach for THz light emission, based on intersubband transitions in AlGaN quantum structures.

The Ignition Awards are not prizes, but are funds to accomplish specific applied research tasks. Awards are made on a rolling quarterly basis based on commercial potential. OTD, working with a committee of senior venture capitalists, select award recipients based on a thorough review that judges the technical feasibility of the program, and the commercial impact that the technology is likely to make.