Even after COVID-19 is controlled, climate change, growing resistance to antibiotics and lack of clean water will still be waiting for us. We need research that could change… everything. That’s what Blue Sky is all about.
What if we could learn from the trees to make a fossil fuel alternative out of carbon dioxide and sunlight alone? We could close the loop on carbon emissions—a critical win in the battle against climate change. That’s one of the goals of Zetian Mi, professor of electrical engineering and computer science. He’s also aiming to make efficient, affordable ultraviolet LEDs to sterilize drinking water in parts of the world that don’t have enough today. Connecting these two technologies is an up-and-coming semiconductor called gallium nitride.They think it may be capable of guiding energy transitions that are too powerful for ordinary semiconductors like silicon. Can Mi’s team engineer the quantum properties so that gallium nitride lives up to its promise?
About the podcast: The Blue Sky podcast is a limited series from RE: Engineering Radio and the University of Michigan College of Engineering. It delves into the four research projects funded as part of the $6 million Blue Sky initiative. Launched in 2018, the initiative gives research teams the freedom to try daring ideas, show results and build momentum to secure further research investment in their efforts to solve global problems. Season 1 is an introduction to each project.