A University of Arkansas research team has landed a significant defense grant that could have an impact on the future of infrared imaging devices, particularly with military applications.
Two UA professors – Shui-Qing “Fisher” Yu, associate professor of electrical engineering, and Gregory Salamo, Distinguished Professor of physics – have been awarded a $7.5 million U.S. Department of Defense award. The award is part of the DOD’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI).
The MURI program investigates “high priority topics and opportunities that intersect more than one traditional technical discipline,” according to the Office of Naval Research’s Science and Technology website. The program is designed to propel innovation and research for military applications.
For the UA research project, Yu and Salamo – along with a multi-disciplinary team – will design, develop and test infrared detectors that are made with silicon germanium tin. Yu wills serve as the principal investigator with Salamo as co-principal investigator.
“This is a significant award – the first MURI with the University of Arkansas as the lead institution,” said Dan Sui, vice chancellor for research and innovation. “Fisher has dedicated most of his career to an investigation of this powerful material and its potential as a promising new semiconductor. So, I’m happy for him, but I’m also extremely excited that this work is happening here, on our campus. It is yet another demonstration of this university’s contribution to improving systems that make our world better.”
Using silicon germanium tin in infrared systems is meant to address the limitations of current alloys used in semiconductors for infrared imaging. Yu and Salamo, according to a UA release, intend for the new technology to be manufactured cheaper than the currently available technology.
While MURI projects are primarily focused on defense applications, the DOD also recognizes commercial applications for the projects. Yu and Salamo say that the UA project has applications for health care, climatology, surveillance and more.