FIU receives research grant to further Department of Defense objectives

by | Nov 16, 2022

  • Florida International University received a $1.69 million research grant from the United States Department of Defense this week to further research efforts on military technology 
  • A series of three concurrent research projects will study various information-gathering and communication devices 
  • The university also received a $19.4 million grant from the National Institute of Health on Tuesday

Florida International University (FIU) received a $1.69 million research grant from the United States Department of Defense this week to support robotics, optical communication, and advanced device packaging.

The funding will assist in conducting a series of research projects exploring and refining various technologies that the Department of Defense will use for information gathering and communication.

“We have an important, longstanding partnership with the Department of Defense that not only supports the multidisciplinary research we do, but also the academic enrichment of our diverse student body,” said John L. Volakis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “We are grateful for the DoD’s continued collaboration and generous award of state-of-the-art equipment that will support significant DoD research priorities.”

One research team received an award to acquire two Spot robots from Boston Dynamics, which are designed to capture data while navigating rugged terrain. Research testing performed on the technology will work to reduce potential risks for soldiers in unfamiliar territory by using the robots to communicate and plan ahead.

Another team will study how optical communication between components in computer chips can eliminate the need for wires, making electronics lighter. With the federal funding, FIU is acquiring a transmission electron microscope that can capture details as small as a billionth of a meter wide.

“If you replace electronic communications with light emitted by nanolasers, you reduce the need for wires, hence, moving toward ultra-small, ultra-lightweight components,” says lead professor Daniela Radu.

A third team will research packaging devices for health-monitoring, therapeutics, high-bandwidth communication, and power management for computing.

The group will use a portion of the grant to purchase an Atomic Layer Deposition tool, which forms coatings at the atomic scale.

FIU received a second federal grant this week, winning a $19.4 million funding award from the National Institute of Health (NIH). The research funding will target HIV and COVID-19, Alzheimer’s disease, and childhood cancer among minority populations.

The grant, FIU’s largest ever from the NIH, will continue to fund the operational costs and research of the university’s Research Center in a Minority Institution at FIU (FIU-RCMI), which focuses on community-partnered health disparities research and training.

“The goal of our FIU-RCMI Investigator Development Core program is to expand the pool of researchers at FIU who will carry out health disparities research and who will be in a strong position to obtain funding to support their work,” said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka.


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