Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Graduation date: Spring 2024
FURI | Fall 2023
Finite Element Analysis of Atomic Force Microscopy Measurement of Heterogeneous Nodules Suspended in a Membrane with Application in the Semiconductor, Health, and Security Industries
The semiconductor industry — among others — produces products with nanoscale-level precision, and inclusions and other particles within those products affect their macro- and micro-scale material properties. To improve products, particles and the surrounding material must be examined and analyzed. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a powerful technique that has been used to characterize such materials; however, interactions between the AFM indenter and the particles result in complex force-displacement data. The research team uses finite element analysis (FEA) to model AFM performed on particles within a membrane to better understand their material properties and deconvolute structural effects in AFM data.
Mentor: Masoud Yekani Fard
Featured project | Fall 2023
Mechanical engineering senior Tyler Norkus is advancing microelectronics knowledge by simulating what happens to different materials during the manufacturing of semiconductor devices at very small scales — particularly at the nanoscale, which deals with objects tens of thousands of times smaller than the thickness of a sheet of paper. This information can help researchers create better tools to support semiconductor manufacturing. Norkus has been working on this area of research for one year. His work under the mentorship of Masoud Yekani Fard, an assistant teaching professor specializing in mechanical and aerospace engineering, earned Norkus the opportunity to present his research at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in early November.
What made you want to get involved in FURI? Why did you choose the project you’re working on?
I’ve wanted to get involved with FURI ever since I started as a first-year student at ASU; it sounded like a great program to be in, and I wanted to get as much experience as I could while I was in college. I wanted to learn what academic research was like, so when Professor Fard mentioned that he was looking for students to help with research, I decided to look into it. Professor Fard’s research was interesting to me, so after meeting with him and discussing the project, I decided to work with him and start research.
How will your engineering research project impact the world?
My research project focuses on ways to measure novel materials on the micro- and nanoscale, which is particularly relevant to industries that produce high-precision parts and nanocomposites such as semiconductor manufacturing. Technology is becoming more and more advanced in the modern age, and precise and accurate measuring tools are needed to advance our knowledge and productivity as we move toward increasingly complex products and materials.
How do you see this experience helping with your career or advanced degree goals?
My experience with undergraduate research and with FURI has given me a wealth of experience and knowledge that goes far beyond what my classes offer. I believe that experience will help me push my education further and give me more career options in my field of interest as well as give me skills that I can use wherever I end up in the future.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten from your faculty mentor?
The best advice that my faculty mentor has given me is not to settle for the easiest or most convenient path available. He has encouraged me to go further and achieve more than I ever would have done by myself, and he has broadened my horizons simply by challenging me to think bigger.
Why should other students get involved in this program?
FURI is an amazing opportunity for any ASU student, and it gives you the chance to step out of the controlled environment of the classroom and into academia, where you need to learn how to apply your knowledge and think in novel ways. I’ve learned about topics and techniques that my classes would never have covered, and I believe that I am a much more well-rounded student as a result.
Sponsored project | Fall 2023
Tyler Norkus’ FURI project is sponsored by TSMC.
TSMC is a global leader in the semiconductor foundry business. The company’s industry-leading process technologies and portfolio of design enablement solutions help its customers and partners unleash semiconductor innovation. With its recent expansion into Phoenix, TSMC sees the benefit of a strong partnership with ASU faculty and student researchers. TSMC supports the FURI program by providing additional funding for exceptional research projects related to the semiconductor industry. FURI student researchers who pursue a project related to the Semiconductor Manufacturing research theme are eligible for this sponsorship. TSMC-supported FURI students receive a $2,600 stipend and $400 to use for materials. Exceptional research proposals that align with the research theme of Semiconductor Manufacturing will be considered for this additional funding.