Shashank Priya, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., has been awarded a $100,000 three-year renewable grant from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, one of 39 scientists and engineers to receive such awards this year. Under the grant, titled Domain Engineered Magnetoelectric Thin Films for High Sensitivity Resonant Magnetic Field Sensors, Priya will conduct basic research in the area of high-frequency electronic components. Magnetoelectric thin-films-based structures comprised of piezoelectric and magnetostrictive composite layers can enhance the performance of current-generation communication devices. The electronic components developed using magnetoelectric thin films for radar will be able to provide higher sensitivity and information while consuming less electrical power. In personal communication systems such as GPS, battery saving is a huge advantage, Priya said. He received his PhD from The Pennsylvania State University in materials engineering, a master's degree from Indian Institute of Science, and his bachelor's degree from Allahabad University. Priya's other research interests include microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), artificial muscles, humanoids, lead-free piezoelectrics, energy harvesting, and unmanned underwater vehicles known as "jellyfish."