M. Saif Islam

M. Saif Islam


(530) 754-6732


  • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 2001
  • M.S. in Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 1999
  • M.Sc. in Physics, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, 1996
  • B.Sc. in Physics with High Honors, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, 1994

Professional Experience

  • Professor, University of California, Davis, Electrical & Computer Engineering 2011-Present
  • Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, Electrical & Computer Engineering 2008-2011
  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, Electrical & Computer Engineering 2004-2008
  • Postdoc Research Fellow, Hewlett-Packard Labs, Quantum Science Research Lab, 2002-2004
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, San Jose State University, Electrical & Computer Engineering, 2002-2003
  • Senior Scientist, Gazilllion Bits, Inc., San Jose, CA 2001-2002
  • Staff Scientist, Optical Networking Research, JDS Uniphase Corporation/SDL Inc., 2000-2001


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Group
  • Chemical Engineering and Material Science Graduate Group
  • Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology (NEAT), UC Davis
  • Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Univ. of California
  • Berkeley Sensors & Actuator Center (BSAC), University of California, Berkeley
  • National Institute for Nano Engineering (NINE), Sandia National Laboratories

Research Interests

Nanomanufacturing, Nanoepitaxy, nano-integrations. Synthesis and device applications of semiconductor and oxide nanostructures for electronics, photonics, energy conversion, energy storage, nano-bio systems, bio-chemical sensors, sensor networks, memory, logic, MEMS/NEMS devices. 3D device/chip integration, substrate-less devices and circuit fabrication. Inorganic-bio interfaces. Self-assembly, molecular electronic devices. Fundamental forces in nanodevices. Ultra-fast nano-optoelectronics. Metamaterials based photonics.

Research Activities

Saif Islam's nanotechnology research focuses on the incorporation of low-dimensional nanostructured materials and devices with conventional IC elements, employing processes compatible with mass-manufacturing. Unlike the research-based approach of sequentially connecting electrodes to individual nano-structures for device physics studies, massively parallel and manufacturable interfacing techniques are crucial for reproducible fabrication and incorporation of dense, low-cost nanodevice arrays in highly integrated material systems. He has developed two novel nano-device integration and mass-production techniques termed 'nano-bridges' and 'nano-colonnades' that are compatible with existing microelectronics fabrication processes. His group's (Inano) current research objectives include the development of massively parallel synthesis and integration processes for 0D and 1D nano-structures (semiconductors, metals, oxides, molecules) for potential applications in the areas of nanoscale electronics and photonics described in the Research Interest (above). A major focus of Inano is nanoepitaxy for homo and heterogeneous nanomaterial synthesis, characterization and device integration.

In order to manipulate the propagation of light, a study is underway on a new class of materials, called "negative index metamaterials (NIM)" that demonstrate unusual electric and magnetic properties not found in nature and offer opportunities for unprecedented functionalities in virtually every area of classical optics and photonics. His group is involved in developing new methods and tools for constructing 3D NIMs using manufacturable nanofabrication techniques and studying nano-structure integrated NIM based theoretical and experimental schemes. Besides device integration, the group is also actively involved in minimizing the losses that are inherent in NIM by exploring various thin film nucleation methods. The overall research activities in NIM are based on exploiting the synergy of nanoepitaxy for eventual monolithic realization of NIM enabled electronics and photonics.

Quantum electrodynamical (QED) phenomena lead to Casimir force which can be observed when metallic, semiconductor or dielectric surfaces are placed in close proximity (< 100 nm). This opens doors to exciting opportunities, particularly in the field of nanodevices and nanomechanics, such as nanoscale levitation, stiction prevention, and highly responsive sensors. Nanotechnology is capable of fabricating devices with diminishingly small dimension and this force cannot be disregarded any more. Inano studies this and other fundamental physical forces in nanoscale devices for improving old and creating new technologies.


Saif Islam UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010, IEEE Outstanding Instructor of the Year in 2009, Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the College of Engineering in 2006, NSF Faculty Early CAREER Development Award in 2005, and Professor of the year award in 2005. He was the Conference Chair of SPIE Nanosensing (2004-7), Nano-integration (2005-7), Nanophotonics (2006-7) conferences and Co-Organizer of MRS Symposium on Negative Index Materials (2006) and MRS Workshop on Nanocontacts & Nanointerconnects (2010).

Selected Publications

Logeeswaran VJ, Jinyong Oh, Avinash P. Nayak, Aaron M. Katzenmeyer, Sonia Grego and Kristin H. Gilchrist, A. Alec Talin, Nibir K. Dhar, Nobuhiko P. Kobayashi, Shih-Yuan Wang and M. Saif Islam, "A Perspective on Nanowire Photodetectors: Current Status, Future Challenges and Opportunities", in press, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, Vol. 99, pp 1 -31, 2011 (invited).

Ramin Banan Sadeghian and M. Saif Islam, "Ultralow-voltage field-ionization discharge on whiskered silicon nanowires for gas sensing applications", Nature Materials, 10, 135, 2011.

Logeeswaran VJ, N.P. Kobayashi, M. Saif Islam, W. Wu, P. Chaturvedi, N.X. Fang, S.-Y Wang & R. Stanley Williams, "Ultra-Smooth Silver Thin Films Deposited with a Germanium Nucleation Layer", Nano Letters., vol. 9 (1), pp. 178-182, 2009.

M. Allen, E. M. Sabio, X. Qi, B.Nwengela, M. Saif Islam, and F.E. Osterloh, "Metallic LiMo3Se3 Nanowire Film Sensors for Electrical Detection of Metal Ions in Water", Langmuir, 24, pp. 7031-7037, 2008.

Logeeswaran VJ, A. Sarkar, M. Saif Islam, N. P. Kobayashi, J. Straznicky, X. Li, W. Wu, S. Mathai, M.R.T. Tan, S.-Y Wang and R. Stanley Williams, "A 14 ps full width at half maximum high-speed photoconductor fabricated with intersecting InP nanowires on an amorphous surface", Applied. Physics A, vol. 91, pp. 1-5, 2008 (Invited).

A. Choudhry, V. Ramamurthi, E. Fong, and M. Saif Islam, "Ultra-low contact resistance of epitaxially interfaced Si nanowires", Nano Letters, vol. 7, pp. 1536-1541, 2007.

M. Saif Islam, S. Sharma, T.I. Kamins, and R. Stanley Williams, "Ultrahigh-density semiconductor nano-bridges formed between two semiconductor surfaces", Nanotechnology, vol. 15. pp. L5-L8, 2004.

M. Saif Islam , T. Jung, T. Itoh, M.C. Wu, D.L. Sivco, and A.Y. Cho, "High Power and Highly Linear Monolithically Integrated Distributed Balanced Photodetectors", IEEE/OSA Jour. of Lightwave Technology,vol. 20 (2) pp. 285-295, 2002.