The University of Central Florida is the only university in Florida to be awarded federal 2020 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grants – and it snagged three of them.
The Department of Defense announced the recipients of the 26 awards. For UCF, that means more than $7.5 million over the next five years.
Two professors will be working double-time as they are on two of the three grants along with other colleagues at UCF and partner institutions. The winning awards are:
Quantum Benefits without Quantum Fragility: The Classical Entanglement of Light, led by College of Optics and Photonics Professor Ayman Abouraddy, along with UCF Pegasus Professors Demetri Christodoulides and Aristide Dogariu.
The Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers group and their collaborators at the University of Southern California, Cornell University and Brown University will study the unique behavior displayed by optical beams whose various degrees of freedom — such as their spatial and temporal dimensions — are inextricably intertwined. The team will explore different approaches to creating these novel forms of light fields and study how they freely propagate and how they interact with photonic devices. In addition to contributions to science, the investigators anticipate this research will lead to applications in the areas of optical imaging, sensing and communications.
Weyl Fermion Optoelectronics will be led by USC Professor Mercedeh Khajavikhan, formerly of UCF, and co-principal investigators Christodoulides and Madhab Neupane an assistant professor from the department of physics. Other partners are from Northeastern University, University of Tennessee and Purdue University
The team will investigate unique electron-motion patterns, their light-induced properties and related devices of newly discovered quantum materials known as Weyl semimetals. These new semimetals feature unique electron patterns both within their interiors and along their surfaces, analogues to how the unique propagation of electrons through certain materials brought about the rise of transistors, this more complex electron dynamic promises the development of new technologies. The team will explore a new generation of photonic materials and structures like detectors, switches, integrated polarization devices, non-reciprocal elements, and modulators.
The last award was made to Clemson University with UCF’s Dogariu as a co-investigator. The research is focused on Spin and Orbital Angular Momentum.