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timing devices: watch, smartphone, silicon chipEngineering professor Jalal Ahamed is leading a $320,000 research project that could revolutionize the way devices keep track of time.

Researcher gets ticking with silicon chips

UWindsor engineering professor Jalal Ahamed knows timing is everything.

Jalal AhamedDr. Ahamed is leading a research project to improve the time-keeping chip embedded in every smart and connected device. Think cell phones, tablets and laptops, but also other connected devices like thermostats, security systems, refrigerators, automobiles, and airplanes.

Ahamed’s research aims to develop microchips that oscillate with high precision, providing a fixed frequency to measure time. They provide the reference frequency needed to synchronize events in digital integrated circuits, manage data transfer, define radio frequencies, process signals, as well as tell time.

“The novelty of this project is to use innovative device design combined with a robust material,” said Ahamed. “We are designing a better chip that is easier to manufacture and less expensive.”

For the past century, keeping time has been the dominion of quartz, a hard crystalline mineral. But quartz is expensive and difficult to cut and etch, Ahamed explained.

Ahamed is experimenting with tuning silicon as a replacement for quartz. He believes his oscillating microchip can replace traditional quartz-based devices.

“We need to develop a highly stable oscillator that vibrates at a fixed frequency in all conditions,” he said. This includes variations in temperatures ranging from -40C to 100C.

Ahamed said if he can make silicon as thermally stable as quartz, its use would reduce manufacturing costs and could be a game-changer in global markets. It would improve Canada’s competitiveness in the fields of semiconductor and communications technology manufactured domestically.

To conduct his research, Ahamed has been awarded an Alliance Mission grant of $200,000 over two years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). For the project, Ahamed has partnered with Stathera Inc., a Montreal-based company that specializes in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Stathera will contribute $120,000 in in-kind support over the two years of the research project.

“The grant creates unique opportunities for industry-university-based collaboration that is not usually accessible by most grants,” said Anosh Daruwalla, manager of MEMS and process engineering at Stathera. “With the acceptance of this grant, Stathera is looking to make seminal breakthroughs in research and development towards the MEMS timing field with its partnership with UWindsor.”

According to NSERC, Alliance Mission grants are aimed at “addressing critical science and technology challenges that can play a pivotal role in Canada’s economy.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Toldo Lancer CentreThe Toldo Lancer Centre will not only house athletics and recreational services, but community and social gathering spaces.

Website a hub for information on Toldo Lancer Centre

A new website provides information on the Toldo Lancer Centre, opening this summer: updates on the progress of construction, sneak peeks into the state-of-the-art facilities, and details of upcoming events.

“We wanted to re-launch the website with a new look and feel as we transition from Building Campus to Building Excitement,” says Shelby Johnston, the centre’s marketing and communications co-ordinator. “We’re thrilled to unveil all the great opportunities afforded by this multi-purpose building and hope this website will show students and the Windsor-Essex community all the incredible amenities that will be available to them this summer.”

The new Toldo Lancer Centre is not only home to the UWindsor recreational services and varsity teams, but a space to foster social activity and community events.

The website contains pages outlining the gathering spaces, health and wellness programming, donor opportunities, and sign-up for a newsletter on developments as they unfold. Visit it here: www.uwindsor.ca/lancercentre/.

woman wearing maskThe University’s mandatory mask policy will remain in effect until further notice.

University extends campus mask mandate

Based on the recommendation of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and in alignment with numerous post-secondary institutions across the province, the University of Windsor has announced its Mandatory Mask Policy will remain in effect until further notice.

Masks remain required in all indoor settings and are strongly recommended outdoors where maintaining distancing of at least two metres is difficult.

book display under banner: celebrating Jewish heritageA collection of books at the Leddy Library celebrates Jewish Heritage Month.

Leddy suggests reading list for Jewish Heritage Month

Leddy Library staff have created a list of books intended to capture some of the diversity of Jewish experience in Canada.

The books are by Jewish-Canadian authors and range across genres and styles: poetry collections, novels, memoirs, historical non-fiction, and more.

All are available through the Leddy Library catalogue; see the Jewish Heritage Month collection.

students walking outside Welcome CentreQuestions about admissions and tuition are among the most common asked by students this week.

Admissions and tuition among top student concerns

Campus partners are working to maintain a robust set of Knowledge Base Articles (KBAs).

The team will continue to compile a weekly digest of the most-referenced KBAs to streamline student-focused questions to ask.UWindsor to support consistent communication with current and future students.

These are this week’s top-five referenced KBAs:

You can submit common questions or make suggestions to the KBA team at askkba@uwindsor.ca.

Statue of Queen Victoria before Canadian flagUWindsor services and offices will close Monday, May 23, in observance of the Victoria Day statutory holiday.

Campus offices to close for holiday Monday

Most UWindsor services and offices will close Monday, May 23, in observance of the Victoria Day statutory holiday.

The student centre will lock its doors at 5 p.m. Sunday and re-open at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The Leddy Library will close at 8 p.m. Sunday and re-open at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The St. Denis Centre will close at 6 p.m. Sunday and re-open at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

bloodometer on low settingThe nation’s blood supply is running low, warns Canadian Blood Services.

Service calls for donors to replenish low blood reserves

Canadian Blood Services is feeling the strain to collect blood, platelets, and plasma following low attendance at donor centres across Canada and is issuing a call for people of all blood types to donate over the coming weeks.

The national blood inventory has declined by 25 per cent since the start of April, says Rick Prinzen, the agency’s chief supply chain officer.

“Donor attendance had remained strong during past waves of COVID-19, but we have seen a notable shift since mid-March,” he says. “We have experienced a 10 per cent increase in late cancellations and missed appointments influenced by recent illness, isolation requirements, and the lifting of restrictions.”

Prinzen calls the situation “precarious” as the country emerges from the sixth wave of COVID-19.

“Given the uncertainty of future variants and what living with COVID-19 is going to look like, along with the increased need for donors over the summer months that are typically a challenging time for blood and plasma collections, patients rely on new and returning donors to show up and help us this week, next month, and for months to come,” he says. “Lives depend on it.”

The Windsor Blood Donor Centre at 3909 Grand Marais Rd. E. is open from 3 to 7 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to noon Fridays and Saturdays.

To book an appointment to donate, download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca.