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Two ARC Researchers Receive Grants from Department of Energy

Two researchers at Old Dominion University's Applied Research Center (ARC) in Newport News have been given grants by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Helmut Baumgart, professor and Virginia Microelectronics Consortium Chair with ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, and Gon Namkoong, assistant professor in ODU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have won grants under the DOE's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The exact dollar value of the grants is still to be determined, but Phase I of the grants begins July 1, and runs into the middle of 2010.

For his grant proposal, Namkoong teamed up with Cermet, Inc., an Atlanta-based firm specializing in the development and production of next generation semiconductors for DVDs and lighting.

Namkoong's research involves the use of nanotechnology in creating high efficiency green and white lighting diodes (LEDs). In his research, he has combined nitrogen and zinc-oxygen compound materials by tuning light wavelengths. In addition to the new SBIR grant, Namkoong is already working under a two-year National Science Foundation grant, to study white LEDs.

Baumgart received his SBIR grant for research on atomic layer deposition (ADL) thin films used in superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) cavities for particle accelerator technology. He is testing concepts that hold the promise of significant improvements in thin-film technology, with the potential to reduce the cost and size of the SRF cavities.

"Advanced, higher performance particle accelerators are needed to explore the frontiers of nuclear physics," Baumgart said. "SRF cavities are used for many ares of nuclear physics and high-energy physics research, as well as for medium- and low-energy particle accelerators, and free electron lasers.

"These have potential applications in the fields of basic science, industrial processing, medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical research and weapons systems," he explained.

For his proposal, Baumgart worked in collaboration with Black Laboratories LLC in Newport News, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, NASA Langley, and Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, in Padua, Italy.

Hani Elsayed-Ali, professor of electrical and computer engineering and eminent scholar, and director of ARC, said the fact that two projects were chosen to receive grants demonstrates the quality of work being done at ARC.

"In this round, the Department of Energy awarded about 300 SBIR grants to all applicants. Considering that two of these went to ARC faculty, this goes to show how committed ARC is in helping high technology companies develop new products," Elsayed-Ali said.

"ARC exemplifies how the Batten College of Engineering and Technology creates a win-win proposition by locating near and teaming with regional assets, in this case, the Jefferson Lab," said Batten College Dean Oktay Baysal. "ODU invested heavily in ARC, both in engineering researchers and facilities."

This article was posted on: June 9, 2009

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