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CoE professor wins $4.79 million nanotechnology contract

CoE Professor Shubhra Gangopadhyay will work under a new Army contract to fit an efficient propellant on a microchip system similar to this 1-by-1 inch chip developed in the nanotechnology center she runs. Photo by Melinda Sheffler

In an unusual vote of confidence, the U.S. Army has awarded CoE Professor Shubhra Gangopadhyay a $4.79 million contract to devise miniaturized devices aimed at improving American military capabilities.

Gangopadhyay, an electrical and computer engineering professor who heads the CoE’s International Center for Nano/Micro Systems and Nanotechnology, will develop several new ways to combine microchip technology with nanotechnology under the contract. The three–year contract—which runs through May 2009—significantly increases the Army’s financial commitment to MU’s nanotechnology research, Gangopadhyay said.

“This is an extension of work I’ve already been doing with them for the last three years,” Gangopadhyay said. “But it’s broadening it a lot.”

While federal funding for the new field of nanotechnology has increased dramatically over the last five years, the U.S. Department of Defense has been wary of financing multiphase nanotechnology research. Experts believe nanotechnology, which works with particles the size of just a few atoms, offers breakthrough potential for the military as well as for medical and commercial purposes.

Gangopadhyay’s first project under the new Army contract calls for the development of a nanomaterial that can propel a warhead or rocket via a microchip. Other projects included in the contract would create news ways to detect explosives and new, more efficient sources of power.

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