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Engineered RF MaterialsERFM

The Engineered RF Materials (ERFM) group explores and expands design of new engineered materials with unique electromagnetic properties, including those not found in nature. The ability to create materials with properties such as negative electric permittivity and negative magnetic permeability opens up a whole new design space for RF materials and structures. Advances in ERFM could lead to transformative RF antennas, electronics and surfaces, including:
  • Conformal, reconfigurable antennas and arrays
  • Multifunctional, thin, sensing systems
  • Thin surfaces for waveform shaping
  • Coupling of RF and optical for microwave photonics and advanced quantum computing and sensing
Group Lead: Dr. Vesna Radisic


The Nanomaterials group explores potentially disruptive materials to the aerospace industry. The group employs materials-by-design approaches and bottom-up synthetic strategies to study interfaces and transport. Advances in nanomaterials could lead to:
  • Highly sensitive, uncooled detectors;
  • Extreme, multi-scale thermal transport;
  • Atomically thin electronic and photonic devices;
  • High quality printed RF metamaterials and components;
  • Computing architectures with synaptic-like inorganic devices;
  • Functional devices via directed assembly of nanoparticles; and
  • Metamaterials with tailorable properties
Group Lead: Dr. Jesse Tice

Nanophotonics & PlasmonicsNP

The Nanophotonics and Plasmonics group focuses on exploring and controlling light-matter interactions in nano-engineered materials. Its work helps create custom-designed photon scattering and emission; advanced functional (hyperbolic, non-reciprocal and nonlinear) materials, and metasurfaces that tailor light. Advances in nanophotonics and plasmonics could lead to innovations such as:
  • Innovative power generation/reclamation schemes for thermal “balancing” of airborne platforms;
  • Ultra-compact, conformal integrated optics for backscatter-free apertures; and
  • Transformative solid- state solutions to replace complex, heavy systems in communications and sensing.
Group Lead: Dr. Philip Hon

New Semiconductors & DevicesNSD

The New Semiconductors and Devices group seeks to discover fundamentally new semiconductor materials and devices that can generate unprecedented RF speed and power for next generation electronics. The group also seeks new thermal solutions, and scalable processing technologies to help achieve smaller dimensions and improved performance. Such disruptive new semiconductors and devices promise:
  • Reduced size, weight and power consumption;
  • Ultra-wideband, tunable RF;
  • New thermal solutions for high power electronics; and
  • Enable disruptive capabilities for satcom, radar, and electronic warfare/electronic attack.
Group Lead: Dr. Vincent Gambin

Quantum Sensing & Metrology (inactive)QSM

The Quantum Sensing and Metrology (QSM) group applies non-classical resources to the measurement of physical quantities with precision or accuracy beyond that allowed by classical physics. The team pursues theoretical concepts such as IR radiance calibration without calibrated instrumentation (ChARM); plasmon non-locality “spooky action-at-distance on a chip”; quantum far-field imaging/sensing; and creation of single photons on demand. Advances in QSM could lead to:
  • Reduced size, weight and power consumption;
  • Quantum integrated circuits for quantum computing, communications, remote sensing; and
  • Quantum optics for breakthrough communications, imaging, remote sensing
Group Lead: Dr. Mark Knight (acting)

Cognitive Autonomy (inactive)CA

The Cognitive Autonomy group focuses on creating autonomous systems that solve problems like humans; i.e. combining stored information (memories) with new data to make decisions in real time to achieve goals in uncertain, complex, and dynamic situations. The team creates, validates and verifies autonomy algorithms that allow autonomous systems to:
  • Recognize, categorize, and identify relationships between entities;
  • Achieve robust and comprehensive situational awareness;
  • Integrate stored data with real-time observations to predict future activities and make quick decisions/suggestions;
  • Learn to handle complex and novel situations; and
  • Create automated planning and scheduling to dynamically achieve goals.

Exoplanet Atmospheres & Characterization (inactive)EAC

The Exoplanet Atmospheres and Characterization group explores the signatures, constraints, and challenges surrounding one of humanity’s most fundamental questions – Are we alone? The team investigates exoplanet atmospheres, bio-signature gases, and stellar properties. This is done through a combination of theory and observation, particularly atmospheric modeling to predict the molecular spectra for a variety of exoplanet-star combinations and stellar characterization through exploiting data science techniques using observational data. The results of these research projects will be used to inform next generation space-based observation. Advances in this research will:
  • Predict characteristics of Earth-twins around distant stars to direct focused observation;
  • Facilitate simulation/modeling advances in machine learning, background/noise-reduction, and big-data analysis;
  • Enable next generation space-based sensor instrumentation; and
  • Spark further engagement by the general public in this quest.
Group Lead: Dr. Trisha Hinners

Non-Equilibrium Excited State Dynamics (inactive)NESD

The Non-equilibrium Excited State Dynamics (NESD) group seeks to explore, understand, and predict physical phenomena from the atomic to macro scale (multi-scale, multi-paradigm theory). Its work includes study of quantum optic and nanophotonic devices; nanostructured and low dimensional materials (1D, 2D, such as graphene, carbon nanotubes); and solid state phenomenology at nanoscale and femtoseconds extended to mesoscale and hours. Advances in NESD research promise:
  • A deeper understanding of fundamental physics impacting hard problems in research and national security;
  • Accurate design and optimization of disruptive new sensors, imaging systems, computation, and high power, compact energy conversion; and
  • Extreme multifunctional materials: combining mechanical, electronic, optical, magnetic properties in a single structure/device.

Resilient Design (inactive)RD

The Resilient Design (RD) group focuses on discovering new ways to think about and manage the uncertainties that are an inevitable part of the world in which systems are conceived, designed, manufactured, deployed and sustained. By definition, resilient systems are more than simply robust and survivable, they must also be able to sense, identify and adapt to unexpected circumstances, and continue to perform their intended functions. The RD group also studies the development environment in which assumptions are made about how, why, and where systems will be used; what could go wrong; and how best to minimize unexpected conditions. The RD group is working toward a future state where systems are situation aware, self-aware, capable of evaluating their own capabilities and vulnerabilities, and ready to adapt appropriately to evolving, dynamic conditions. In particular, the team is focused on the following areas of study:
  • Ultra-high dimensional resilient design – dynamics of thinking;
  • Self-aware systems;
  • Design for resilience – complexity, immunity and self-healing; and
  • Resilient structural materials for the 21st century