PORTLAND, Ore. Annual awards to university faculty to conduct next-generation research projects were announced this week by the Defense Department as part of it National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF) program.
Program officials made 11 awards this year, distributing almost $1 million in grant funding to promising university faculty performing unclassified, basic research that holds the promise to enhance long-term U.S. strategic interests.
The 11 NSSEFF awardees in 2010 were chosen from 800 nominees who submitted 670 white papers on research areas as diverse as sensors, surveillance, information security, cyber-security, and power projection. From that field, 11 were chosen as having the most promising technologies to have a possible strategic impact on the DoD.
The researchers "demonstrated a record of success in fields of strategic importance to the DoD," said Zachary J. Lemnios, director, Defense Research and Engineering." Their research will "contribute to preparing DoD and the nation for an uncertain future," Lemnios said.
The research proposals awarded for the 2010 program include high-temperature superconductors, resilient networks, synthetic biology, computational electromagnetics, quantum information science, waves in random media, attosecond electron processes in solids, theoretical and computational design of light and force-driven molecular materials, emergence of shape and patterns in biomolecular assemblies, synthetic biology and image acquisition, analysis and integration.
Meigan Aronson, a professor at Stony Brook University, has been searching for the key to room-temperature superconductivity for over two decades. Focusing on the suppression of magnetic order at the quantum critical point, her work holds promise at extend superconducting effects at near absolute zero up to temperatures suitable for modern electronics.
Two awards were made to university scientists pursuing quantum computers, including one to professor Lene Hau at Harvard University, whose group recently announced successfully slowing down light from 671 million miles per hour to just 38 miles per hour. By slowing light with optically induced quantum interference, Hau hopes to open the door to dynamically programmable optical delay lines, optical serial to parallel converters and optical switches that work on single photons.
Professor Jeff Kimble at the California Institute of Technology was also awarded for his contributions to quantum information science. Kimble's efforts to create quantum mechanical "open systems" focus on environmental effects like dissipation and de-coherence, that in the past have prevented many quantum effects from being harnessed in real-world systems.
Professor Leslie Greengard at New York University was awarded for his work on computational electromagnetics, whereby models and numerical simulations can be extended to the engineering new electromagnetic materials. Professor Todd Martinez at Stanford University was also awarded for his work on materials science, in particular for his designs for light- and force-driven molecular materials.
Other awardees were:
Professor Monica Olvera de la Cruz, at Northwestern University was awarded for her work on the emergence from ionic solutions of shapes and patterns in biomolecular assemblies;
Professor Leonid Ryzhik at Stanford University was awarded for his work on waves in random media;
Professor Stephen Leone at the University of California-Berkeley was awarded for his measurements and characterization of attosecond electron processes in solids;
Professor Guillermo Sapiro at the University of Minnesota was awarded for his advanced techniques in image acquisition, analysis and integration;
And professor Andrew Ellington at the University of Texas-Austin was awarded for his work on "synthetic biology," which aims to develop biological software that makes use of man-made genetically augmented proteins.