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UT Arlington’s Zhou Receives $3M DOD Grant

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ARLINGTON, Texas, July 13, 2017 — Weidong Zhou, a professor in the the electrical engineering department of the University of Texas at Arlington, has received a five-year, $3 million Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office to develop a compact, efficient, power-scalable and high-power semiconductor laser.

Weidong ZhouZhou is collaborating with Ganesh Balakrishnan at the University of New Mexico, Shanhui Fan at Stanford University and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The team will rely on nanotechnology principles and structures toward power-scalable, high-power lasers.

"We have been looking at various aspects of lasers in areas where higher-power infrared lasers would be highly desirable — the military, manufacturing and security, for example — and how to address the major challenges associated with those applications," Zhou said. "If we are successful in creating a semiconductor laser based on nanotechnologies, we can greatly reduce the size of these lasers while increasing their power and efficiency."

Some promising applications for these lasers would be precision laser-cutting and 3D machining that could be performed on a tabletop machine, instead of a machine that takes up much of a room, and lidar sensing for autonomous vehicles.

"Dr. Zhou has long been a leader in nanotechnology and optics, and this new grant could change how lasers are used," said Peter Crouch, dean of the school’s College of Engineering. "If lasers are smaller, lighter and less costly, they can be applied to many more platforms, with possibilities for their use that have not been considered previously."
Jul 2017
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