biological agents, developing land mine discovery
techniques and improving computer memory durability
are among the projects in which some University of
Houston engineering students will be involved through
the National Science Foundation-Navy Civilian Service
Through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant,
the Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team at
UH's Cullen College of Engineering is collaborating
with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the Naval
Air Warfare Center Weapons Division to provide opportunities
for a group of students in the electrical and computer
engineering department to participate in joint research
programs to study and develop technologies in the
area of nanomagnetics.
Nanomagnetics looks at magnetic materials at the
near-atomic level, encompassing devices and systems
made of magnetic building blocks invisible to the
To date, graduate students Barry Craver, Ariel Ruiz
and Darren Smith were selected by the department
to participate in the program. These students are
pursuing research at UH during the academic year
and will be interning throughout the summer at the
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.,
or the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
in China Lake, Calif. A mentor will be working with
each student throughout their internships at these
sites as part of this professional development program.
"Not only is this a great opportunity for the students,
who may potentially receive job offers from these
labs, but the collaboration also allows the college
and university to work closely with Navy research
and development centers," said Dmitri Litvinov, associate
professor of electrical and computer engineering
at UH and principal investigator for the project. "We've
placed three highly qualified students in the program
who specialize in the designated research areas so
far, and the prestige of this program will help us
with our recruitment efforts."
Litvinov, along with Jack Wolfe, UH professor of
electrical and computer engineering, pursued the
program offered by NSF in an effort to expand collaborative
research ventures with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory,
one of the top research organizations in the nation.
The research will be conducted at the Center for
Nanomagnetic Systems at UH led by Litvinov as part
of the Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team.
Totaling more than $226,000 in direct costs, the
NSF grant will support the fellowship and tuition-related
costs for the students. The research will focus on
the development of device structures, including nanomagnetic
biosensors, magnetic random access memory (MRAM)
and ultra-sensitive magnetic sensors for detecting
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is interested
in development of the nanomagnetic biosensors that
can be utilized for detection of biological warfare
agents, such as anthrax, as well as for civilian
applications, such as food and water safety monitoring.
The lab also is interested in the development of
low-power, non-volatile computer memory that can
withstand the effects of ionizing radiation and severe
electromagnetic pulses, the by-products of nuclear
The third project, in collaboration with the Naval
Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, will focus on
the development of a new high-sensitivity technique
to improve land mine detection for U.S. military
personnel while on foreign soil.
"The opportunity to work in collaboration with the
naval laboratories is substantial," said Raymond
Flumerfelt, dean of the Cullen College of Engineering. "The
students and faculty members will benefit greatly
from these joint research endeavors and play a significant
role in developing technology that will ultimately
have great impact."
Employing nanomagnetics has the potential to power
the information age far beyond the roadmaps of the
data storage and semiconductor industries.
In addition to the research and educational benefits
such a program provides participants, the Navy has
scheduled biannual NSF-Navy Civilian Service Leadership
symposia to help students with professional development.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching
institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and
sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental
entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands
at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000
About the Cullen College of Engineering
UH Cullen College of Engineering has produced five U.S. astronauts, ten members
of the National Academy of Engineering, and degree programs that have ranked
in the top ten nationally. With more than 2,600 students, the college offers
accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in biomedical, chemical, civil
and environmental, electrical and computer, industrial, and mechanical engineering.
It also offers specialized programs in aerospace, materials, petroleum engineering
For more information about UH, visit the university's
Newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/newsroom/ .
To receive UH science news via e-mail, visit http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/sciencelist.html .
Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston