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Pentagon awards grant to project involving UNT researchers

NardelliUNT is a member of a research group recently awarded $8.5 million to investigate new materials for U.S. Department of Defense technologies.

The five-year project involves a multidisciplinary group of researchers from five universities, including UNT; Duke University; Brigham Young University; Central Michigan University; and University of Maryland, College Park.

“In our research we use supercomputers to discover and design materials that will revolutionize future technologies for advanced energy applications, faster electronic devices and stronger and lighter structural materials. We will design new materials for critical element substitution in advanced technologies used by the Department of Defense,” said Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, professor of physics and chemistry, who is one of the primary investigators of the research group.

“The focus is on the development of new materials that are materials essential in a variety of applications, from night-vision devices and camouflage technologies to ultra-high efficiency solar cells. These materials, which are characterized by simultaneously being transparent and electrically conductive, currently contain Indium as a critical element. But Indium is scarce and there is a great urgency in finding replacement materials that are cheaper and abundant.”

Only 14 awards were granted in the entire nation, which reflects the leadership role and the importance of the combined knowledge of the research team, Buongiorno Nardelli said.

The project, titled “Topological decompositions and spectral sampling algorithms for element substitution in critical technologies,” has been awarded in the framework of the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program (MURI). Over the past 25 years, the MURI program has produced significant capabilities for U.S. military forces and opened up entirely new lines of research.

Buongiorno Nardelli joined UNT in January 2012 as a Materials Modeling Research Cluster senior faculty. A Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics, he has published more than 120 research articles in prestigious international journals including Science, Nature Materials, NanoLetters, Physical Review Letters and Physical Review B, with over 5,500 citations.

The main focus of his group’s research effort is the design and discovery of novel materials for 21st century applications in energy, environment, nano-electronics and devices and the development of high-performance simulations techniques.

- Leslie Wimmer, News Promotions

Posted on: Fri 07 June 2013

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