YSU Receives First Patent

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Dr. Oder

Dr. Tom Oder, a professor of Physics and Astronomy, has received a patent for a silicon carbine barrier diode. While this isn’t Oder’s first patent, it is the first for YSU.

A silicon carbine barrier diode is an electronic device made using silicon carbide semiconductor material that Oder said has been an idea of his since he was a graduate student, but it wasn’t until he was hired at YSU in 2003 that he began his research.

“What you have in your cell phone and most of your electronics is made of silicon. The problem of silicon is that it cannot withstand high temperature. So if your device is working at a high temperature, it has got to be cooled otherwise it is going to fail,” Oder said. Silicon carbide, however, is a great alternative material.

Through his research, Oder has identified certain metals and developed a process of treating those metals in a way that makes them capable of withstanding the higher temperatures.

“We’ve identified these metals, first of all, and then developed the process that results in improved barrier diodes for high temperature applications,” he said.

Oder said that YSU does not have any in-house procedures for handling patent applications, but that Peter Kasvinsky, who was Dean of the Graduate School at the time, helped him through the process.

“[Kasvinsky] was trying to encourage new hires, and in that case me in particular, to do research that end up [turning] into a patent. So he did mention that, and afterwards, I remembered that. I was just doing my thing and not trying to look for a patent, per se. Of course, the process of getting a patent went through him.”

Oder said that the next step is commercializing the patent and seeing if any companies are interested.