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Photonics Researchers Among Young Investigator Recipients

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ARLINGTON, Va., April 4, 2013 — Five photonics researchers working in areas from nonlinear materials to undersea wireless optical communications to solar power are among the 16 recipients of Young Investigator awards, given by the Office of Naval Research and announced by the Department of the Navy this week.

One of the oldest and most competitive scientific research advancement programs in the country, Young Investigator Program rewards scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Awards are based on the merits of their research and the potential for contributions to soldiers.

“Especially in challenging budget environments, it is critical the Department of the Navy invests for the long term so we maintain the technological advantage we currently enjoy,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “The outstanding research scientists who received these awards are engaged in pursuits that could lead to breakthroughs for the Navy and Marine Corps in the future.” 

A total of $8.2 million will be distributed to this year's recipients, who were chosen from a field of 310 candidates and represent 13 academic institutions across the country. The faculty members selected will receive annual monetary awards over three years for their research efforts.

This year's Young Investigators include:
  • Dr. Sasan Fathpour, assistant professor of optics, Integrated Photonics & Energy Solutions, CREOL, University of Central Florida. Fathpour was selected for his proposal, "Nonlinear Photonic Devices on Silicon." His current research interests include heterogeneous second-order nonlinear materials on silicon photonics, mid-wave infrared silicon photonics, optical delay lines and radio-frequency photonics on silicon, hybrid integration of III-V compound semiconductors and silicon, subwavelength plasmonic apertures on silicon, and energy efficiency in silicon and III-V photonics.

  • Dr. Kenan Gundogdu, assistant physics professor, North Carolina State University. Gundogdu was chosen for his proposal, "Diffusion, Relaxation, and Charge Separation Dynamics of Photoexcitations in Semiconductor Polymers." The work of Gundogdu's group is aimed at investigating structural and electronic dynamics in condensed matter systems using ultrafast and nonlinear optical spectroscopy techniques and how these dynamics are relevant to solar energy conversion.

  • Dr. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Mitsui Career Development assistant professor of physics, MIT, for his proposal, "Quantum Transport and Optoelectronics in Atomically Layered Materials." Jarillo-Herrero's research interests lie in the area of experimental condensed-matter physics, in particular quantum electronic transport and optoelectronics in novel low-dimensional materials, such as graphene and topological insulators.

  • Dr. Zhaowei Liu, assistant professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, Materials Science and Engineering Program, University of California, San Diego, for his proposal, "Ultrafast Blue and Green LEDs for Underwater Optical Wireless Communication." Liu's interdisciplinary research focus includes nanophotonics, plasmonics, nanomaterials and life science.

  • Dr. Michael Rose, University of Texas at Austin, for his proposal, "A New Hybrid Molecular/Materials Approach to Semiconductor Surface Passivation for Application in a Solar Fuels Device." Professor Rose's research is focused on the synthesis of transition-metal-based molecular catalysts for a new generation of energy utilization. The chemistry of energy in his group revolves around the principle of solar fuels and solar energy. Techniques include organic/inorganic synthesis, electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, materials characterization and various spectroscopies.

Since the Office of Naval Research instituted the program in 1985, nearly 600 researchers from 121 colleges and universities have received funding under the Young Investigator Program and have significantly advanced Department of the Navy research efforts. 

For more information, visit: For a complete list of this year's recipients, visit:
Apr 2013
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
Basic ScienceBiophotonicsCommunicationsCREOLdefenseenergyfiber opticsgreen photonicsGundogdulight sourcesMichael RoseMITnanoNavyONRoptical spectroscopyopticsPablo Jarillo-HerrerophotoelectrochemistryphotonicsplasmonicRay MabusResearch & TechnologySasan Fathpoursiliconsolar fuelYoung InvestigatorsZhaowei LiuLEDs

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