About Dr. Edwin Piner
For most of us, the term “gallium nitride” reads like science fiction. But for Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Edwin L. Piner, “gallium nitride” is a promising reality -- and a key ingredient in creating semiconductor chips that may one day make handheld devices faster, smarter and more powerful.
As a researcher with more than 30 patents, scores of professional publications and a wealth of experience advancing new technologies, Piner knows that opportunity is but one of many milestones to be crossed on the road from innovation to realized commercial product. Before joining Texas State in 2010, Piner was director of advanced technology at Nitronex Corporation, a pioneer in developing high-performance gallium nitride on silicon semiconductor solutions for industries that ranged from defense to communications.
Over the past two years, Piner’s research in gallium nitride, and its potential for commercialization in device applications, has garnered more than $1 million in research support. And with the opening of Texas State’s new STAR Park, Piner sees the opportunities to commercialize this kind of university research growing by leaps and bounds.
“Texas State offers access to equipment and facilities that would be out-of reach for most start-up and early-stage companies. When you have the kind of equipment we have at our disposal, you become a magnet for a certain niche of technology companies.”
Designed to attract new companies to San Marcos and encourage high-tech commercialization, Star Park is a new breed of research park -- where technology-based businesses partner with university faculty and students on collaborative research and commercial endeavors.
“Under the right conditions, support and tutelage, the people often best suited to commercialize technology are the students responsible for its development in the university lab,” says Piner. “Texas State is creating an innovation ecosystem where students work across disciplines and side by side with faculty and private sector partners to ensure groundbreaking discoveries move out of the lab and into the real world."