Rising Stars 2020:

Stephanie Bohaichuk

PhD Candidate

Stanford University

Areas of Interest

  • Physical Electronics


Device Applications of Insulator-Metal Transitions


Insulator-metal transition (IMT) materials, including vanadium dioxide (VO2) and niobium dioxide (NbO2), display unusual electronic behaviour due to an abrupt change in resistivity by several orders of magnitude at a critical temperature, and can be made into nanoscale resistive switching devices. Here, I demonstrate two potential applications of such IMT devices on the path towards advanced nanoscale electronics, as an artificial neuron for emerging bio-inspired computation and as electrostatic discharge protection (ESD).

Oscillatory neural networks hold promise for implementing efficient artificial intelligence, but require a compact source of neuron-like spiking, which IMT devices can provide. I show that by adding an ultra-narrow carbon nanotube heater to a VO2 oscillator the power consumption is halved and the spiking frequency increases by ~1000X. On the other hand, ESD is a major cause of commercial chip failure, which is increasingly challenging to handle. I demonstrate compact IMT devices capable of surviving currents up to 10 A in the metallic state, that still recover to the insulating state once an ESD event is over.


Stephanie Bohaichuk is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, advised by Prof. Eric Pop. Her research interests are in the physics and applications of nanoscale devices based on emerging low-dimensional and quantum materials. She is the recipient of a Stanford Graduate Fellowship and a National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Postgraduate PGS D Fellowship. She completed her undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics with Nanoengineering at the University of Alberta.