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Professor S. V. Sreenivasan was awarded the ASME William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award in the annual ASME Conference in Denver, Colorado in November 2011. Pictured: left to right:  ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin, ME Department Chair at Penn State Karen Thole, S. V. Sreenivasan, and ASME President Victoria Rockwell.

Professor S. V. Sreenivasan was awarded the ASME William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award in the annual ASME Conference in Denver, Colorado in November 2011. Pictured: left to right: ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin, ME Department Chair at Penn State Karen Thole, S. V. Sreenivasan, and ASME President Victoria Rockwell.

Dr. S. V. Sreenivasan.

Dr. S. V. Sreenivasan.

The University of Texas at Austin honored two researchers whose collaboration led to a company that aims to change how electronics are made.

Mechanical Engineering Professor S.V. Sreenivasan and Professor C. Grant Willson from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering received the Inventor of the Year award on December 7, 2012 for developing a nanolithography process used for manufacturing computer chips, hard drives and other electronic components.

They took their research beyond the laboratory in co-founding Molecular Imprints, Inc., an Austin-based company with more than 100 employees.

"I congratulate Professor Sreenivasan and Professor Willson for their momentous contributions to society, the full scope of which we won't know for many decades to come," said Bill Powers, president of the university. "I also honor the efforts of all the university's many inventors. It is never more evident than on occasions like this that what starts here changes the world."

Willson and Sreenivasan received the award at a reception where UT Austin researchers who received patents during the year were also recognized. The university's Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) in the Office of the Vice President for Research organized the event.

Dan Sharp, interim OTC director, said the Inventor of the Year is chosen on the basis of the significance and novelty of a scientific discovery coupled with the commercial potential of the discovery.

"This program recognizes and honors them and the researchers and inventors at UT Austin and the great work that they perform in our labs," he said.

The university received $20.3 million in licensing revenue in 2011-2012, and its researchers received 80 patents, making it one of the largest contributors of technology and innovation in the state.

The technology that Willson, a chemist and engineer, and Sreenivasan, a mechanical engineer, developed is a more cost-effective high-resolution printing technique used to make very high-resolution patterns used in the semiconductor and other industries.

The process could help manufacturers overcome some of the physical barriers involved in reducing the size of circuits in computer chips and other devices.

Besides their extensive research portfolios, Sreenivasan and Willson teach undergraduate and graduate classes.

In 2010 he received the 2010 O'Donnell Award for Technology Innovation conferred by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST). He is also the chief technical officer and a member of the board of directors of Molecular Imprints and continues to provide strategic technical and business leadership. During the past decade, Sreenivasan has mentored graduate research students who have been hired by Molecular Imprints.


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