CUNY’s Alù Receives $3.2M DARPA Award

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Andrea Alù, director of the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center of City University of New York and Einstein Professor of Physics at the Graduate Center, has received a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) award of up to $3.2 million to support basic nanophotonics research.

The funded work will enable the development of next-generation defense equipment based on engineered materials that manipulate electromagnetic waves, including light. Alù will lead a team of researchers from four institutions: the ASRC, City College of New York, University of Texas at Austin, and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

During this four-year effort, the team will pursue an ambitious research agenda aimed at introducing and developing concepts for modeling, analyzing, designing, and realizing leapfrog enhancements to electromagnetic-wave manipulation through the use of metamaterials. The final goal will be to open new avenues for developing vastly improved night-vision systems; integrated nonlinear signal isolators and infrared power limiters; efficient microwave-to-optical-photon conversion and counting; and on-chip devices with largely reduced noise.

“This research will enable us to push forward exciting new concepts that lay the ground for novel technologies that have extraordinary implications for society at large,” Alù said. “Our highly interdisciplinary team is made up of leading experts in theoretical, numerical, and experimental aspects of electrical engineering, physics, and nanophotonics. This is an ideal combination to put forward a new paradigm for enhancing light and matter interactions through the use of metamaterials.”

DARPA’s Defense Science Office (DSO) supports high-risk, high-payoff research for future defense technologies. The DSO Nascent program is focused on developing models that describe and predict novel technology functionality based on a host of newly engineered metamaterials. The latter phases of the project seek to develop proven approaches by applying the models to new materials that are critical for advancing defense technologies.

“The DARPA grant and the interdisciplinary team conducting this research are a realization of the vision we had for the kind of innovation that the ASRC would drive,” said Joshua Brumberg, dean for the sciences at the Graduate Center. “We’re very excited to see that Dr. Alù and his team are quickly and successfully bringing the kind of scientific research, resources, and exciting opportunities to the ASRC and helping to raise the profile of the work being done here.”

Published: September 2018
An SI prefix meaning one billionth (10-9). Nano can also be used to indicate the study of atoms, molecules and other structures and particles on the nanometer scale. Nano-optics (also referred to as nanophotonics), for example, is the study of how light and light-matter interactions behave on the nanometer scale. See nanophotonics.
BusinessDARPAAndrea Alùphotonics initiativeAdvanced Science Research CenterASRCThe Graduate CenterCity University of New YorknanofundingawardsAmericaslight speed

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