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University Establishes New Center for Applied Electromagnetics

University Establishes New Center for Applied Electromagnetics

The university has recently established a new multi-million dollar Center for Applied Electromagnetics, known as AppEl, with significant funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Patrick O’Shea, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), will serve as executive director of the new center. AppEl will be the “focal point for basic research on topics that promise to lead to significant improvement and valuable new concepts in Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) future systems,” said O'Shea.

The emphasis of this research, according to O’Shea, “will be based on electromagnetic phenomena in the spectral range from microwaves to visible light.” More specifically, the engineering and physics research will form a basis for all-electric ships, speed-of-light weapons and advanced communication technologies that the Navy anticipates deploying.

Victor Granatstein, a professor with ECE, will be the research director of the center, which will include approximately 19 faculty researchers from seven academic departments and research institutes across campus. These include the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Physics, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Department of Aerospace Engineering, the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, the Institute for Systems Research and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. The center will also be working with other institutions, such as the Navel Postgraduate School and Boise State University; among others.

The opportunity for the center came when Rear Admiral William E. “Bill” Landay III, chief of naval research, was the featured speaker at a Division of Research-sponsored research seminar last February. During Landay’s remarks, he “talked about the Navy’s interest in dominating the electromagnetic spectrum and fighting at the speed of light,” recalled O’Shea. “The admiral’s vision intersected with the concept I had in mind for the center.”

“The combination of good ideas, entrepreneurial faculty and the opportunity the campus research briefings provided for a dialogue with ONR resulted in this successful new initiative,” added Ken Gertz, associate vice president for research development.

(Story by Lisa Gregory)

October 21, 2008

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