The University of Central Florida continues a strong run in capturing some of the nation’s premier equipment grants, receiving three awards, more awards than any other Florida university, from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program.

The awards, which could total $810,000, will outfit the university with state-of-the-art equipment to buttress its already strong programs in lasers and optics and advanced electronics.

The awards are the result of a merit competition jointly conducted by three Department of Defense research offices: the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Those offices will make the awards, which are subject to the successful completion of negotiations with the academic institutions.

UCF’s three awards are for:

  • Zenghu Chang – The College of Sciences and CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL-COP) will receive up to $252,000 to purchase a high-energy and high-repetition-rate laser and a set of transmission-type pulse compression gratings to be used to develop a high-power attosecond laser source at UCF. Chang, who already holds the world’s record for the shortest laser pulse ever recorded at 67 attoseconds (a quintillionth of a second) is working to make those pulses as much as 1,000 times stronger.
  • Rodrigo Amezcua Correa – CREOL-COP will receive up to $158,257 to establish a world-class research facility in advanced optical fiber characterization for high-power fiber lasers. This will position UCF to stand as a national leader in defense fiber laser technology. .
  • Xun Gong – The College of Engineering & Computer Science will receive up to $400,000 to purchase equipment to study and measure microwave components and antennas to allow for the development of multi-band and reconfigurable antenna arrays and ultra-wideband antenna arrays, which are used in high-speed data transmission, medical imaging, short-range radars and other applications.
  • UCF has received 16 of the highly competitive awards since 2012.

    “These awards represent university competition at its finest and the fact that we are receiving them consistently illustrates our strength in some of the defining technologies of the future – specifically photonics and microelectronics,” said MJ Soileau, vice president for research and commercialization at UCF.

    The three DoD research offices solicited proposals from university investigators conducting science and engineering research of importance to national defense. This includes research that underpins advances in materials, structures, and manufacturing science; quantum and nanosciences; computing and networks; electronics, electromagnetics, and electro optics; acoustics; neuroscience; fluid dynamics; robotics and autonomous systems; and ocean, environmental, and life sciences and engineering.

    The DoD announced that 225 university researchers at 111 academic institutions have been selected to receive awards totaling $67.8 million. The three research offices collectively received 695 proposals requesting $257 million in support for research equipment.

    In addition to the University of Central Florida awards researchers from the University of Miami, the University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University received one award each.