The University Record, March 13, 2000

Merlin heads multidisciplinary team

By Jane R. Elgass

The University is one of 17 academic institutions to receive a grant from the Department of Defense to conduct interdisciplinary research in 13 topic areas of basic science and engineering.

The $5 million grant, made under the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program, will provide long-term support for research, graduate students and the purchase of equipment supporting specific science and engineering themes vital to national defense.

Roberto D. Merlin, professor of physics, will lead the multi-disciplinary research team that also includes Rachel Goldman, the Dow Corning Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; George I. Haddad, the Robert J. Hiller Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Pallab K. Bhattacharya, the James R. Mellor Professor of Engineering; Theodore B. Norris, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Cagliyan Kurdak, Assistant Professor of Physics; and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, North Carolina State University, Bowdoin College and the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Michigan proposal, “A Comprehensive Approach to Phonon Control for Enhanced Device Performance” delineates a five-year program of research slated to start in early spring. The project will study the effects of vibrations on electrical and electro-optical devices, improve and create new sources of phonons (quanta of sound analogous to photons), and refine the fabrication of tiny devices to filter, focus and reflect phonons.