Chip Hogg receives McWilliams Fellowship-Dept of Physics - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chip Hogg receives McWilliams Fellowship

Bruce McWilliams (center) congratulates Chip Hogg (right) and Renaud Nicola├┐ (left).
Bruce McWilliams (center) congratulates Chip Hogg (right) and Renaud Nicola├┐ (left).

The new Astrid and Bruce McWilliams Fellows are changing the status quo. From refining procedures for preparing magnetic storage material to creating techniques for developing new polymers, graduate students Chip Hogg and Renaud Nicolaÿ exemplify the purpose of the fellowship — to support graduate students conducting leading-edge research in emerging fields such as nanotechnology, biophysics and cosmology.

“Our students continue to develop the knowledge from which transformative new technologies flow,” said Fred Gilman, Dean of the Mellon College of Science. “Our most recent McWilliams Fellows, Chip and Renaud, are poised to be future scientific leaders.”

Chip Hogg, a fourth year Physics doctoral student, is developing techniques that could lead to the next generation of data storage technology. Hogg is working with Physics Professor Sara Majetich to improve the process of creating bit patterned media, a novel, nanoscale way of storing data in increasingly tiny spaces. Specifically, he has developed a technique that allows him to etch a highly consistent, nanoscale pattern formed by magnetic nanoparticles onto a magnetic storage layer. Previous attempts to do this were unsuccessful because the nanoparticles have to be stabilized by surfactant, which gets in the way of etching the pattern. By literally turning things upside down, Hogg figured out a way to expose the nanoparticle pattern so that it can be etched onto a silicon film using a gentle reactive ion etching process. After the etching is complete, he removes the nanoparticle mask using a wet-acid etch treatment he developed, revealing the pattern on the underlying silicon layer. The pattern that remains is vital to determining the amount of information that can be stored in a small space.

Hogg earned an MS degree in Physics from Carnegie Mellon in 2007, and a BSc in Physics and Computer Science from Brock University in Ontario, Canada in 2005.

The Astrid and Bruce McWilliams Fellowship in the Mellon College of Science was established in 2007 by alumnus Bruce McWilliams, chairman of Tessera Technologies’ board of directors and the company’s chief strategy officer; and his wife, Astrid McWilliams. It provides tuition, stipend and fees for up to one year of graduate study, as well as $1000 for conference travel or other research expenses.