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Virginia Tech Gets $1.2M For Electro-optic, Magneto-electric Materials Research


US Air Force Office of Scientific Research awards grant for nonlinear and terahertz studies of novel materials

Giti Khodaparast, an associate professor in the Department of Physics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been awarded $1.2 over three years by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research to probe 'Nonlinear and Terahertz Studies of Electro-Optic and Magneto-Electric Materials'.

The multidisciplinary and multi-university project involves Shashank Priya, a professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, as well as the University of Colorado in Boulder, the University of Florida, and Texas A&M University.

The phenomena where a magnetic polarisation is induced via an external electric field has been known for more than 100 years and studied for more than 50 years. Research interest has been renewed because of the possibility of creating novel and high performance materials with potential applications for generating new optical frequencies in nonlinear processes. But order to harness the full potential of the electro-optic and magneto-electric materials, such as the III-V semiconductors InMnAs and InMnS, extensive characterisation techniques as well as theoretical approaches are required.

The ability to control light in different scenarios has a variety of applications, such as creating all-optical computers that theoretically could be faster and more efficient than electronic devices.

"This work is important because experimental and theoretical efforts can be pursued simultaneously toward developing multifunctional devices for our fast-paced, technological world," said Khodaparast, who is affiliated with the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.

The research will focus on specific material compositions and composite architectures that demonstrate the possibility of providing giant optical nonlinear conversion.

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