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Engineering Professors to Get Research Equipment

Defense Department Awards to UCR Helps Develop Technologies for Military Uses

The awards will advance research into wireless optical communications and thin-film technologies

(March 17, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — Two researchers from the University of California, Riverside were among the 183 recipients nationally to receive U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) awards that will advance cutting-edge university-based defense research.

The $40.4 million Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) supports the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment that augments current university capabilities or develops new abilities to perform cutting-edge defense research. The DURIP program this year will go to 88 universities to purchase equipment costing $50,000 or more. Equipment in this category is frequently difficult to afford under most research contracts and grants.

The UCR researchers receiving awards are Zhengyuan “Daniel” Xu, associate professor of electrical engineering; and Junlan Wang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Both are faculty in the Bourns College of Engineering.

Xu’s $143,500 award will fund the development of a test bed to be used in a wireless optical communications system, for the Army Research Laboratory. The system could possibly replace wireless radio frequencies using ultraviolet communications technologies, which use less power and have a higher resistance to interference and jamming.

Wang’s $149,800 award will fund the purchase of a magnetron sputtering system, which is used to develop thin films such as metals, metal alloys, semiconductors and ceramics that range in thickness from tens of nanometers to several micrometers. Thin films are commonly used to convert solar energy to electrical energy, but Wang’s laboratory is investigating new research areas of interest to the DOD. The new instrumentation allows graduate and undergraduate students to quickly manufacture high quality thin films. It will also allow undergraduate students to learn more about materials science. The vendor has also agreed to offer a special enrichment program for high school pre-engineering students.

All the awards are subject to the successful completion of negotiations between DOD research offices and the academic institutions. The awards are the result of a merit competition for DURIP funding conducted by the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Each office requested proposals from university investigators working in areas of importance to the DOD, such as information technology, remote sensing, propulsion, electronics and electro-optics, advanced materials, and ocean science and engineering.

In response to the requests, the research offices collectively received 933 proposals, requesting $254 million in support for research equipment.
From Left: Junlan Wang and Zhengyuan

From Left: Junlan Wang and Zhengyuan "Daniel" Xu

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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