Krishna Wins ONR Grant to Develop Next-Gen IR Detector Technologies

ECE team wins $3 million ONR grant to make infrared detector technologies at Ohio State tops

The research team consists of (l-r) Teressa Specht, SeungHyun Lee, Vinita Dahiya, Gustavo Vieira and Krishna. Alireza Kazemi (not pictured).


Landing planes in zero visibility. Detecting pollution at the nanoscale.

A potential $3 million in new grant funding could help make The Ohio State University a worldwide leader in next-generation infrared detector technologies.

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) professor Sanjay Krishna had only been at Ohio State a month, hired as part of the university’s Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability (M&MS) Discovery Themes initiative, before landing the grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

“This means great things for Ohio State’s Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme initiative,” Ohio State professor Steve Ringel said, who leads the M&MS program to create pre-eminence in materials and technologies for sustainability, focusing on innovation and industry deployment.

“Sanjay is the epitome of what M&MS is all about,” Ringel said. “Not only is he a world leader in critical areas of science and technology that impact energy and the environment who, through awards such as this, is already enhancing our prominence academically, but he is also dedicated to the translation of those successes into the private sector through his innovative activities as an entrepreneur.”

The new grant funding comes on behalf of the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office (HEL-JTO) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Program, under the Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, (DUSDS&T).

It is an alphabet soup of acronyms, for sure, but Krishna said the intention of the grant award is simple – to explore new realms of infrared camera technologies and set the stage for more advancements decades down the line.

Krishna is a world-leading researcher and innovator in the field of narrow bandgap semiconductors applied to infrared imaging sensors and related technologies.

“I want to make Ohio State the number one research group in this particular area,” Krishna said.

His winning research proposal, “Low Excess-noise Avalanche Photodetectors with Superlattices (LEAPS),” outlines research and development toward high performance short wavelength infrared detectors based on III-V semiconductors designed for manufacturing.

“Infrared detectors are important because they can be used for chemical sensing,” Krishna said. “If you want to find out what is coming out of a factory, or what pollution is coming out of a car. Usually these hydrocarbons have characteristics of nature in the infrared. So, if you send a laser beam and watch it come back, you can see that it’s nitrogen oxide or carbon dioxide, or even methane.”

He said infrared detectors can enhance the ability to see through objects.

“If you are landing a plane in wet and foggy conditions, you can see. If a firefighter or first responder is entering a building, you can see in the infrared beyond what you can see in the visible,” Krishna said.

Infrared technology can also study how heat dissipates from the human body.

“We are currently emitting photons,” he said. “You can use this for not only human detection, but also temperature profiles of human beings. This can be applied for a variety of medical applications, including the early detection of skin cancer.”

Krishna said the list goes on to include medical imaging, corrosion detection and food safety applications.

The final task of their grant award is to train new students to take up the proverbial infrared research baton for generations to come, Krishna said.

The professor said he would like to position Ohio State as one of the only two universities in the United States with the ability to undertake “design to camera” research and development in the infrared field.

Collaborators on the project include the University of Virginia, the MIT Lincoln lab, the University of Illinois, Chicago and industry representative L-3 Cincinnati Electronics.


This story originally appeared on Electrical and Computer Engineering’s website:

Grassman Wins SunShot Award to Develop High Efficiency Tandem Solar Cell

Prof. Tyler Grassman (MSE/ECE) was awarded $1,124,999 to develop a tandem solar cell with gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) on silicon (Si) aimed at 30% or higher efficiency.  This research is powered by the U.S. Department of pv-module-diagram-twitterEnergy SunShot Initiative’s Photovoltaic Research and Development program and will support the development of next generation photovoltaics technology, driving solar cost reductions and reliability improvements for years to come. Prof. Grassman’s project will support the SunShot goals by developing a mature GaAsP/Si tandem cell that could be manufactured at scale via existing Si and III-V tooling and infrastructure, greatly reducing capital expenditures and revitalizing existing manufacturing industries.


pvrd-photo-fb The SunShot Initiative’s Photovoltaic Research and Development (PVRD) funding program pushes the limits of power conversion efficiency, fielded energy output, service lifetime, and manufacturability of commercial and emerging PV technologies.  PVRD is one of the first funding opportunities in SunShot that looks to a post-2020 goal, and it is anticipated that a second round of funding opportunities in this area wil lbe announced in October 2016.


Learn more about Prof. Grassman’s award:

Yiying Wu to Conduct Reddit AMA on Solar Battery Research – Monday 8/17

Yiying Wu, Professor of Chemistry and IMR member, will be conducting a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) question and answer session online, talking to Reddit users about his group’s research on solar batteries.



After debuting the world’s first solar air battery last fall, researchers at The Ohio State University have now reached a new milestone.  A new design combining a solar cell and a battery into a single device now achieves a 20 percent energy savings over traditional lithium-iodine batteries.  The 20 percent comes from sunlight, which is captured by a unique solar panel on top of the battery.  The group’s latest findings were published this summer in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and the project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.



Photo by Jo McCulty, The Ohio State University

Reddit is an online community and Reddit AMA’s allow people from around the world to ask experts about their work and their field. Wu’s AMA will begin at 1:00 PM next Monday, August 17. To participate or just follow along, visit the Science SubReddit – questions can be submitted Monday morning.

Center for Emergent Materials Awarded 6-Year Renewal by NSF

Congratulations to our colleagues at the Center for Emergent Materials, a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at The Ohio State University, on being awarded a six-year, $17.9 million renewal!



NSF Awards $17.9 Million to Fund Broad-Impact Science

By: Sandi Rutkowski

Published on December 15, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has renewed funding for The Ohio State University’s Center for Emergent Materials (CEM): an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

The six-year, $17.9 million grant funds Ohio State’s long-term studies of forward-looking new materials.

“This is not about short-term funding that has clearly defined achievable goals. Rather, the focus is on adventurous, foundational research that enables far-reaching technologies. Great science is the heart of this funding,” said P. Christopher Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar, physics professor and director of the Center for Emergent Materials.

After a rigorous and highly competitive review process, only 12 MRSECs were funded. These NSF flagship institutions form a national network of top materials research programs at such research institutions as Princeton, Harvard, MIT and Ohio State that are capable of performing complex and ambitious multidisciplinary sciences.

The driving idea behind the MRSEC program is to identify and fund collaborative materials research by teams of researchers from multiple disciplines that have the ability to address difficult, fundamental problems in science and engineering.

These teams, called Interdisciplinary Research Groups, or IRGs, consist of eminent faculty and their students and postdoctoral researchers. Together, they tackle scientific problems that are too large and/or complex for one person or one group to solve.

“This approach allows us to bring together groups of researchers with diverse skill sets and expertise that can handle the challenges of multifaceted scientific issues, integrating materials synthesis and growth, characterization, novel probe development and theory and modeling,” Hammel explained.

The main challenge is to enhance technology and improve energy efficiency through discovery of new materials, novel phases of matter and innovative spin science.

Established by NSF funding in 2008, the Center for Emergent Materials has a recognized track record in diverse fields, which served it well in the renewal process.

The renewal grant funds three Interdisciplinary Research Groups:

Spin-Orbit Coupling in Correlated Materials: Novel Phases and Phenomena, co-led by physicist Nandini Trivedi and chemist Patrick Woodward, with collaborators from Ohio State, Iowa State and the University of Tennessee. The aim is to design a new class of tailored quantum materials with tunable magnetic and electric properties that would impact technology and society.

Control of 2D and 1D Electronic Structure by Surface Functionalization of Group-IV Graphane Analogues, co-led by chemist Joshua Goldberger and physicist Roland Kawakami, with collaborators from Ohio State, UC Berkeley and Case Western Reserve University. Group members are leading experts in creating and manipulating single-atom sheets. The flexibility of these new materials will find broader applications in science and technology, including new opportunities in materials by design, platforms for chemical sensing and information processing.

Nonlinear Interactions between Spin Flux and Engineered Magnetic Textures, co-led by Joseph Heremans, mechanical and aerospace engineering and physics, and physicist Fengyuan Yang, with collaborators from Ohio State, Iowa and UCLA. Group members are leaders in the theory of spin dynamics and dynamic spin transport. This research could enable transformative technologies that move beyond current spintronics concepts and technologies.

Eleven Ohio companies have benefited directly from the availability of cutting-edge materials research tools that the CEM-supported NanoSystems Laboratory provides to university and industrial researchers.

Two of the three projects funded by the NSF grant were developed through the integrated OSU Materials Research Seed Grant Program. Seed grants complement IRG research by supporting emerging developments in materials research and identifying and nurturing future leaders.

The CEM’s education and outreach activities engage groups extending from elementary school students through faculty ranks and include using cognitive research to enhance classroom education and providing undergraduates with immersive, authentic research experiences. Diversity enhancement efforts are tightly interwoven with every activity.

“One of our goals is to increase the quantity and quality of scientists and engineers prepared to contribute to and lead research, development and commercialization in materials-related fields,” Hammel said. “We are absolutely committed to increasing diversity in science and engineering by eliminating barriers to the success of underrepresented groups.”

This article was originally published at the following sites:$179-million-to-fund-broad-impact-science/

Campus Celebrates CEMAS Grand Opening

On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, the campus formally welcomed the newest materials research lab facility, the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS).

CEMAS boasts the highest concentration of high-end microscopes in North America and the center is expected to be ranked among the top ten electron microscopy facilities worldwide, thus elevating the capabilities and status of The Ohio State University’s materials community globally.

This new hub for business and academia materials characterization is home to $28 million of equipment, including 10 FEI electron microscopes, two X-ray diffractometer systems, facilities for nanoindentation, and an extensive array of sample preparation facilities. Researchers from life sciences, physical sciences and engineering will use CEMAS for a wide range of experimentation with full technical support. CEMAS is directed by Dr. David McComb, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Ohio Research Scholar in Nanoscale Materials Characterization, who has worked tirelessly for two years to bring the facility to fruition.

IMR is proud to be a partner with CEMAS, providing funds to support the facility through the Ohio Research Scholars Program award in Technology-Enabling and Emergent Materials, an Ohio Third Frontier award which allowed OSU to recruit Dr. McComb in October 2011 and contribute to the acquisition of the world class instrumentation available today at CEMAS.  The IMR shuttle – which runs ten times a day, every week day – provides convenient, free transportation to OSU researchers wishing to use CEMAS.