Two UCF faculty members were among just 16 researchers nationwide to be honored with 2013 Young Investigator Awards from the Office of Naval Research.

Sasan Fathpour, an assistant professor in the College of Optics & Photonics, and Jennifer Pazour, an assistant professor in Industrial Engineering & Management Systems, were recognized for showing “exceptional promise for doing creative research” early in their tenure tracks, according to the Navy.

Only two other universities – Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Texas – had two recipients chosen for the Young Investigator Awards.

Fathpour was awarded a three-year, $680,000 grant to study novel nonlinear integrated photonic devices on silicon.

The research involves working on fast, low-power optical modulators that are more compact than existing devices. The modulators are used to turn on and off the light generated by semiconductor lasers in order to send data over the Internet and other communication links. One day the devices may be used to optically connect the microelectronic chips of a laptop or to send huge amounts of 3-D video data to a TV, Fathpour said.

Fathpour said the research has multiple engineering and fundamental scientific aspects, ranging from telecommunication devices that are 10 to 100 times more compact than the state of the art to new ways of efficiently manipulating the wavelength of light on microchips. He said he is thankful to his research team, particularly to Dr. Payam Rabiei, who played a critical role in achieving the initial results that led to the success of the research proposal.

Fathpour has been at UCF four years, and his group started working on this project last summer. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. Last year, he received the National Science Foundation CAREER award, another grant designed for tenure-track faculty.

Pazour received a three-year, $509,000 grant to study the design of sea-based logistic delivery systems, which operate in challenging environments that include the need for increased security measures, synchronization of sea-based logistics with land operations, the absence of permanent infrastructure, and individual logistic-transport needs.

Pazour is developing models and algorithms to evaluate and improve naval logistics.

“Because of the wear and tear of identification information that can occur during transport, the difficulty of real-time transmission due to network bandwidth limitations, and the lack of scanning equipment at the receiving end, logistic decisions have to be made in an opaque network with imperfect visibility,” Pazour said.

Pazour earned her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and her masters and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas.