Faculty Profile

Umberto Ravaioli

Coordinated Sciences Lab
Umberto Ravaioli
Umberto Ravaioli
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Ph.D. - Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University 1986

Research Statement

My research focuses on large scale simulation of charge transport phenomena in solid-state and soft-matter systems. My group investigates the properties of ultra-scaled MOS devices, including size-quantization in nanoscale channels and thermal phenomena, particularly generation and transport of phonons. Transport is studied with particle Monte Carlo models with corrections to account for size quantization. This work has led to the development of the Monte Carlo simulator MOCA 2D and MOCA 3D. In the soft-matter area, we investigate transport of ions in nanoscale biological and biomimetic membranes, using similar engineering approaches based on Monte Carlo simulation where the water background is included implicitly. Simulations work has focused on the study of biological ionic channels, with the development of the transport Monte Carlo code bioMOCA, a full 3-D self-consistent simulator. Large scale studies with bioMOCA are conducted on the national TeraGrid computational infrastructure, in collaboration with the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) and the NIH Center for Design of Biomimetic Nanoconductors and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Educational activities are also carried out in co-operation with the National Center for Learning and Teaching of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT) for which we are developing interactive numerical tools and simulators, suitable for teaching activities and demonstrations at high-school and college level.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Semiconductor device simulation based on Monte Carlo particle models, in particular nanoscale MOSFETs and non-volatile memories. Charge transport in biological ion channels. Cyberinfrastructure activities for research and education.

Research Interests

  • Novel materials and devices for thermoelectric applications
  • Coupled electro-thermal simulation of semiconductor devices
  • Properties of Carbon Nanotubes
  • Charge Transport in Biological Systems (Ionic Channels)
  • Reliability of MOS Devices
  • Supercomputation and Visualization
  • Quantum devices
  • Numerical methods for semiconductor device simulation
  • Monte Carlo simulation of high speed electronic devices


  • Fellow, IEEE, 2003.
  • Fellow, Institute of Physics, 1999.
  • Research Fellowship, Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, Rome, Italy, 1982.
  • Laureato Frequentatore (Postgraduate Research), Department of Electronics Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy, November 1980 - October 1982 (supervised 3 student theses)

Teaching Honors

  • Accenture Award for Excellence in Advising, 2006, 2007
  • Advisors List, College of Engineering, UIUC, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007
  • Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Advising, 1990, 1994
  • Incomplete List of Excellent Teachers, UIUC, Spring 1990, Fall 1990, Fall 2003, Spring 2005, Fall 2006, Spring 2009

Research Honors

  • bioMOCA simulation selected for Image of the Week on "International Science Grid This Week" (July 11, 2007), originally published on Biophysical Journal, vol. 90, p. 3496, 2006. Link at http//www.isgtw.org/?pid=1000539
  • First Place Outstanding Paper Award: Z. Aksamija and U. Ravaioli, "Joule Heating and Phonon Transport in Nanoscale Silicon MOSFETs," 2007 IEEE International Conference on Electron Information Technology, Chicago, IL, May 17-20, 2007.