UCSB Physicist Andrea Young Receives AFOSR Young Investigator Research Program Grant

March 10, 2016

The science of nanomaterials and devices has advanced rapidly in the last couple of decades. Think atomically flat graphene crystals, which could have important functions in electronics or new superconductors, which could lead to low-cost medical imaging.

UC Santa Barbara physicist Andrea Young is ready to further advance the field of developing and characterizing nanostructured materials, thanks to a grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program.

“I’m elated to have been chosen by the Air Force for this prestigious award,” said Young, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics since March 2015. “It’s really going to let us hit the ground running at UCSB.”

According to Young, much of the heavy lifting in developing advanced materials and devices revolves around the test phase — often trying to figure out why things don’t function, or behave in unexpected ways. Frequently, he added, the answer lies in the nanoscale, where imperfections and impurities in a material or device can reduce performance or lead to unanticipated phenomenologies. Taking conventional global measurements of materials — electrical resistance, for instance — goes only so far in identifying the fundamental physics, because it doesn’t dig deep enough to determine their structural cause.

 

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