Tomás Palacios is the Director of Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) and is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California - Santa Barbara in 2006, and his undergraduate degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain). Being a fellow of IEEE his current research focuses on demonstrating new electronic devices and applications for novel semiconductor materials such as graphene and gallium nitride. Tomás is passionate about making an impact on modern society in Energy, Engineering, Nanoscale, Physics, Semiconductors; Nanotechnology, and Climate Change. His work has been recognized with multiple awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the 2012 and 2019 IEEE George Smith Awards, and the NSF, ONR, and DARPA Young Faculty Awards, among many others. Prof. Palacios is the founder and director of the MIT MTL Center for Graphene Devices and 2D Systems, as well as the Chief Advisor and co-founder of Finwave Semiconductor, Inc. From 2023, Tomas serves as Associate Director of the SUPeRior Energy-efficient Materials and dEvices (SUPREME) center, one of the seven 2023 JUMP 2.0 programs sponsored by Semiconductor Research Corporation. Read more about Tomas's advising philosophy here.
In 1997, Tomás joined the Institute for Systems based on Optoelectronics and Microtechnology (ISOM) in Spain. There, he did research on semiconductor fabrication technology, ultraviolet photodetectors, surface acoustic wave filters and high electron mobility transistors. In the summer of 2000, he worked in the Microelectronics Group of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN, Geneva) where he collaborated in the design of new Si transistors for radiation-hard and low-noise electronics. In 2002, he joined Prof. Umesh Mishra´s group at UCSB where he developed new transistors based on nitrides semiconductors for mm-wave applications and he established the state-of-the-art in high frequency and high power applications.
Creating Superpowers Out of Microelectronics
Tomás joined the faculty at MIT in 2006 and since then, his research interests include the design, processing and characterization of new electronic devices based on wide bandgap semiconductors for power amplification and digital applications beyond 100 GHz. He is also very interested in the development of new concepts for biosensors and bioactuators as well as in the use of the unique properties of nitrides semiconductors for power generation and conversion.
In addition to the work on GaN and other wide bandgap semiconductors, the Palacios group also works on electronics based on two-dimensional materials such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). We are now in the middle of the most exciting time for electronic systems in history, the intersection of new material systems with extreme properties (i.e. 2D materials and GaN), the mature nature of traditional silicon electronics, and the expectations and needs of a society used to 50 years of Moore’s law provides unique opportunities and challenges. The Palacios group is helping bridge the fields of material science, physics and engineering to contribute and lead this new wave of micro- and nano-systems.
In his leisure, Tomás enjoys starting companies, reading, listening to classical music, hiking, and attending plays and concerts.
Our group’s work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, and the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the Young Scientist Award of the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors (ISCS), the Young Researcher Award at the 6th International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors, the Best Student Paper Award at the 36th Device Research Conference, the Lancaster Dissertation award, and the European Prize Salva i Campillo to the “Most Promising European Newcomer to Engineering,” among other awards. In total, the group has author or coauthor of more than 200 scientific papers in international journals and conferences, five book chapter and multiple invited talks and patents.