Wake Forest University Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials
will receive part of a $5 million Pentagon grant as part of a five-year project.
The Department of Defense project will focus on development of what the Center calls "negative index of refraction materials" that could have both civilian and military uses.
The Center will share the grant with a Kent State University team.
Researchers believe the negative index, or "left-handed" materials, will have uses in high-performance aircraft, help improve surveillance and communications capabilities, and also improve battlefield communications.
"With our early work in negative index materials, Wake Forest was already among the first universities in the field," said David Carroll, director of Wake Forest's nanotechnology center. "This grant will provide us the competitive edge to clearly establish our credentials as a leader in artificially structured metamaterials, with implications in biomedical technology, alternative energy technologies like solar cells and fuel cells, along with military technologies."
According to the Center, negative index materials bend light in the opposite direction of normal optical materials such as glass. Wake Forest research focuses on using the materials with infrared light, which is widely used in communications. Scientists believe the materials can be used to develop new lenses, antennas, steering devices, and more.
The Wake Forest Center includes five different labs, It has filed for patents covering development of an organic solar cell that was developed along with researchers at New Mexico State University. Patents are also being sought to cover research into cancer therapeutics, antibiotic-resistance micro-organism mitigation and tissue replacement scaffolds.
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