LSU Engineering Faculty Awarded Funding by U.S. Defense Department
May 17, 2022
BATON ROUGE, LA – Two LSU College of Engineering faculty – Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Shuangqing Wei and Chemical Engineering Associate Professor Kevin McPeak – were recently each awarded grants by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.
Wei received $288,579 for his proposal, “Advanced Signal and Information Processing for Managing Interference in Radio Communication Systems.” Specifically, the funding allows Wei to obtain instruments that will be used to build a wired and integrated testing system/platform over which multiple types of complex interference signals and signals of interest (SOI) can be generated and tested in a controlled environment.
It’s all part of his research into radio frequency (RF) interference and developing systematic approaches to assessing the capacity and limitation of RF interference excision systems (IES) to protect SOIs in the presence of “potentially aggressive and/or inadvertently produced interference sources in radio communication systems.”
The goal, Wei said, is to provide well-justified testing methods to developers and testers of IES devices so that users have more confidence in the products before placing them into service. Additionally, students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels will take newly developed lab-based courses on interference testing and measurements.
“It is expected that research tasks and related education modules developed and tested in this lab will serve to train and energize an emerging workforce in the RF and SATCOM fields,” Wei said. “The body of advanced knowledge and young talents produced from this program can be leveraged by the DoD to further enhance its competitive advantage in RF communications for the warfighter.”
McPeak’s proposal, “Ellipsometry of Thin Films for Mid-Infrared Optoelectronics,” received $225,000 in funding, which will provide him with two vital pieces of equipment—a J.A. Woollam IR-VASE Mark II Mid-Infrared Ellipsometer and a cryostat with temperature-controlled stage.
This equipment will be used in his research with Ayaskanta Sahu, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, to explore transition metal alloy and quantum dot absorbers for mid-wave infrared photodetector applications.
“The mid-infrared wavelengths are a very important area for the Department of Defense,” McPeak said. “Being able to detect light in this region is critical for several security applications in the defense sector. There are not many materials that absorb electromagnetic radiation in this region which are also able to efficiently convert the radiation into an electrical signal.
“One of the first steps to solving this problem is understanding the optical properties of new materials for this challenge. The IR-VASE will allow us to do this. There are only a handful of these tools in the U.S., so having one at LSU opens up an exciting area of research that aligns with DoD interest. Having this tool will help future funding efforts and faculty acquisition and retention.”
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Contact: Joshua Duplechain
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