Rising Technical Contributor Award

Megan Beck, Ph.D.

Intel Corporation

For significant technical contributions to microprocessor manufacturing technology; for creative thinking that sparks innovative solutions; and for dedication to empowering women in engineering and technology through SWE.

Originally from Saint Maries in rural Idaho, Megan Beck, Ph.D., is an integration engineer at Intel Corporation. Dr. Beck joined Intel in 2020 and now leads interdisciplinary teams to develop technical strategies for the fabrication of transistors for the next generation of microprocessor chips.

Within her first year, she led a team to implement a modified-growth process for the p-channel metal-oxide semiconductor (PMOS) transistor, resulting in a significant drive current gain. This improvement enabled Intel 4 to meet its year-end performance goal and was recognized with an Intel Logic Technology Development Divisional Recognition Award.

Next, Dr. Beck developed an integrated deposition-etch-deposition solution to eliminate the process window constraint between two yield failure modes. This fundamental fix resulted in a tenfold improvement in yield, helping Intel 4 meet its quarterly yield target. She received a second Divisional Recognition Award for her contributions, and use of the process allowed the company to file for a U.S. patent.

Recently, Dr. Beck and her team have focused on performance variation reduction and have defined ways to address the five most crucial processing issues to reduce variation to less than 5% across the wafer. In recognition of all her technical contributions, she received an unprecedented midyear promotion.

Prior to joining Intel, Dr. Beck completed a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University. For her graduate work, she designed a method for self-aligned encapsulation of metal electrodes using half the number of lithography steps, which allowed her to study intrinsic electrical properties and demonstrate novel functionalities of transistors and diodes from atomically thin materials. Dr. Beck demonstrated unprecedented tunability of Gaussian-like electronic responses from dual-gated, semi-vertical diodes, and was able to mimic a biological spiking neuron using an order of magnitude fewer components. From her graduate work, Dr. Beck has co-authored numerous publications in high-impact-factor journals, holds one U.S. patent, and has applied for two more.

She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship in 2015 and received the Gold Graduate Student Award at the 2018 Materials Research Society meeting. While at Northwestern, Dr. Beck also organized multiple K-12 STEM outreach activities and co-founded the Materials Science Alliance for Inclusive Community.

Dr. Beck has been active in the Society of Women Engineers since graduate school, where she established Northwestern’s GradSWE group in 2016. She also served as graduate programming coordinator for WE18, served on the collegiate engagement taskforce in FY20, and served on the bylaws committee in FY21. Dr. Beck received the Outstanding Collegiate Member award at WE19. She is serving as a SWE senator (FY22-FY24), and she has contributed to the FY23-FY27 SWE strategic plan. She also serves on the Future Leadership Experience sub-team.

Outside of work, Dr. Beck is active in her church community and enjoys exploring the beautiful Northwest with her spouse. She also enjoys spending time with family, doing puzzles, and knitting and crocheting.