The Department of Defense (DoD) announced 26 2020 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) awards totaling $185 million, and the University of Maryland tied with the University of Illinois for the highest university representation on the list. 

The MURI program complements other DoD basic research efforts that support traditional, single-investigator university research grants. By supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer awards in carefully chosen topics identified for their long-term importance, DoD and the military services boost the potential for significant and sustained advancement of the research in critical areas.

Associate Professor Mohammad Hafezi and JQI postdoctoral researcher Sunil Mittal are participating in a project named “Robust Photonic Materials with High-Order Topological Protection” headed by Gaurav Bahl at the University of Illinois. This work, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), will explore techniques for manipulating light in interesting ways—such as restricting it to the corners of a silicon chip. These techniques often offer some protection to the light’s fragile quantum characteristics. 

Distinguished University Professor Tom Antonsen and Professor Phil Sprangle are members of a team that will investigate “Fundamental Limits of Controllable Waveform Diversity at High Power.” This effort, sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), is led by Edl Schamiloglu at the University of New Mexico.

Adjunct Associate Professor Alexey Gorshkov will participate in “New Approaches to Quantum  Control with Individual Molecule Sensitivity” headed by Kang-Kuen Ni at Harvard University. The researchers hope to achieve a high degree of control over individual molecules, similar to the control that scientists already wield over individual atoms. Molecules are built from many atoms, whose chemical interactions ratchet up the challenges of achieving fine control. So the effective manipulation of molecules requires combining the tools and techniques of chemistry with those from physics and quantum information. The work will expand upon Gorshkov’s previous research studying systems that manipulate ultra-cold molecules.
Derived from stories published by UMD ECE and the JQI: