Director of MSc Program in IC Design Engineering
The modern revolution in computer and mobile communication would not have been possible without advances in tiny semiconductor integrated chips that house billions of electronic components. Professor Mansun Chan, Alex Wong Siu Wah Gigi Wong Fook Chi Professor of Engineering, has made a significant contribution to the development of semiconductor technology, from the demonstration of record-breaking new device structures to the improvement of integrated circuit manufacturing processes, reducing manufacturing costs by more than 10 times. He now boasts more than 14 patents in the U.S., over 600 journal and conference papers, and some of the highest honors in electronic engineering and education.
Since joining HKUST in 1996, Prof. Chan has made formidable research achievements and progressed to the role of Chair Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering. In 2013, he was named an IEEE Fellow for his outstanding contribution to complementary MOS device modeling. He currently leads HKUST’s Emerging Device and System Group, a motivated team of graduate students and engineers seeking to develop record-breaking new devices and explore their applications to emerging systems and circuits.
“The success of a technology,” says Prof. Chan, “cannot be achieved by a single person; it requires a team of capable researchers. At HKUST, I have the privilege of working with very dedicated students who actually produce all of the results.”
Indeed, the research directions taken by the Emerging Device and System Group are determined primarily by the interests of these students, not funding bodies. As a result, students benefit from strong ownership of the outcomes. Some graduates have continued to work on the technologies developed by the Group, forming their own startup companies and becoming entrepreneurs. With his MSc in finance and connections to venture capitalists, Prof. Chan is well placed to help these companies gain funding in the early rounds, and has even become an investor himself. Two companies in which he has invested have successfully gone public in the U.S. and China, and a few more are poised to do so. Prof. Chan’s advice has also supported the long-term development of many individuals and companies.
Recently, Prof. Chan has devoted much of his attention to educational activities. In 2003, he was recognized as a IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for his effective delivery of complex concepts. He produced the first complete animation-based online class on the fundamentals of semiconductor devices, which attracted more than 10,000 students worldwide in just one year. In 2017, he was the youngest ever recipient of the IEEE EDS Education Award for pioneering innovative approaches to electronic engineering education.
Yet Prof. Chan’s education philosophy goes far beyond the transfer of technical knowledge. He focuses on nurturing students with multiple interests and the intrinsic ability to adapt to today’s rapidly changing world. The holistic training and supervision he provides empower his students to become not only successful engineers and university professors, but also patent lawyers, software developers, financial analysts, marketing directors and entrepreneurs. “Many subjects in the world today are multidisciplinary and fast changing,” he notes. “To be good in one field, you have to be good in many others.” Indeed, Prof. Chan is himself not only a researcher, but also a boardgame designer, painter, competitive ballroom dancer, trailrunner, scuba diver and paraglider.
“Find your own uniqueness,” he urges those seeking to make their own mark on the world. “Feed your passion, look toward the long term, and do what you believe in.”