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Like to Tweet, Juke, Surf, Game, Navigate, or Rally by Mobile Device? Thank the Clark School's Buno Pati

Engineer to Be Inducted into Innovation Hall of Fame for Technology Behind Today's Electronic Devices

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Those who enjoy -- or depend on -- using a powerful laptop computer, cell phone, game system, MP3 player or GPS system should thank Buno Pati, 2009 inductee in the Innovation Hall of Fame at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Pati earned his electrical engineering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at the Clark School in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the mid '90s he went on to develop a way to design and manufacture integrated circuits (or "chips") called phase-shift lithography, a process that uses light to etch patterns on materials such as silicon. As a result, companies that use Pati's process can design and build the tiny and amazing devices that are so prevalent today, and the "killer apps" that run on them.

"In an economy with few bright spots, American consumer electronics stands as an important success story," said Nathan Bluzer, chair of the Clark School's Innovation Hall of Fame selection committee. "Without Buno Pati's work, that industry might look very different today, and we might lack the incredible array of capabilities we obtain through mobile technologies, capabilities on which we have come to rely."

Pati's work was key to the continued evolution of the electronics industry toward more powerful and lower-cost devices. Manufacturers had reached a point at which the dimensions and intricacy of the patterns they wanted to etch on their chips could not be accomplished without deterioration of quality.

Pati's solution, the phase-shifting mask method, made the light used to etch the chips small and accurate enough to create the needed patterns. He did so by modifying the light as it passes through a mask, compensating for pattern deterioration and producing smaller, faster and more power-efficient chips than previously possible--all using available equipment.

In production Pati's process yielded .1 micron chips when the norm was .25 microns--a reduction of more than half. His work upheld Moore's Law, which states that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on a chip will double every two years.

Pati built a company called Numerical Technologies to productize his process, and sold the company after a few years to Synopsys, one of the world's leading chip design and production companies. It is estimated that his technology stands behind most of the chips manufactured today.

Pati will be inducted into the Clark School's Innovation Hall of Fame at 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 15. The ceremony will include University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr., Provost Nariman Farvardin and Clark School Dean Darryll Pines.

Following the ceremony, Pati will participate in the 2009 Charles and Helen White Symposium, "Connected 24/7: How Today's Electronics Influence the Way We Live." He will be joined by speakers who will show the application and impact of today's electronic devices in entertainment, scientific data gathering, healthcare, mass collaborations, and national political campaigns.

NOTE TO EDITORS: a high-res photo of Dr. Pati is available online here: http://www.eng.umd.edu/media/pressreleases/pr101209_pati-ihof.html

Innovation Hall of Fame Ceremony Details:

Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Innovation Hall of Fame

First Floor, Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building

University of Maryland, College Park


Clark School Innovation Hall of Fame: http://www.eng.umd.edu/ihof

Preview Pati's Innovation Hall of Fame panel online: http://www.eng.umd.edu/ihof/inductees/pati.html

More on Buno Pati: http://www.eng.umd.edu/media/coverstory/fall2009-pati.html

Charles and Helen White Symposium: http://www.eng.umd.edu/white/symposium09.htm

White Symposium homepage: http://www.eng.umd.edu/events/white.html

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering

The Clark School of Engineering, situated on the rolling, 1,500-acre University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md., is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S.

The Clark School's graduate programs are collectively the fastest rising in the nation. In U.S. News & World Report's annual rating of graduate programs, the school is 17th among public and private programs nationally, 9th among public programs nationally and first among public programs in the mid-Atlantic region. The School offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals.

The school is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. With major emphasis in key areas such as communications and networking, nanotechnology, bioengineering, reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and space robotics, as well as electronic packaging and smart small systems and materials, the Clark School is leading the way toward the next generations of engineering advances.

Visit the Clark School homepage at www.eng.umd.edu.

SOURCE A. James Clark School of Engineering

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