SUNY Poly receives funds for research

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ALBANY — Professor of Nanoscale Engineering Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik of SUNY Polytechnic Institute has received $699,000 from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of a research effort lead by SRI International and in collaboration with Vanderbilt University.

With two phases of the Enhanced Night Vision in Eyeglass Form (“ENVision”) project, if a second phase is funded, SUNY Poly anticipates receiving a total $1.4 million in funding as part of the overall $6 million initiative, which seeks to address challenges with current night vision systems that limit the wearer’s agility and comfort.

SUNY Poly researchers will focus on developing image intensifier components, which will reduce the size and weight of an NV system, and therefore the strain on their user.

“On behalf of SUNY Poly, I am thrilled to congratulate Shahedipour-Sandvik for this DARPA/SRI International grant, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University, that will support the development and fabrication of a planar-image-intensifier system for enhanced dual-band night vision goggles, providing an excellent example of how SUNY Poly’s research can have a tangible impact on real-world technologies that provide enhanced capabilities and save lives,” said Acting President Dr. Tod A. Laursen.

“This research is also a powerful testament to SUNY Poly’s hands-on educational offerings, which will foster experiential student learning in cutting-edge laboratories to advance technologies that enable these critical tools,” Laursen added.

The four-year research effort at SUNY Poly will center around the use of III-Nitride ultra-wide bandgap materials to create an image intensifier system that is slimmer and less weight than image intensifiers that currently contribute to NV systems’ ability to allow the wearer to see in the dark.

Combined with Vanderbilt University’s meta-optics research to enable a wider field of view and enhanced infrared-based vision, the new systems are expected to be more effective while also remaining lightweight to reduce the wearer’s neck strain, especially when used for long periods of time.

To learn more about the overall project and the teams that were selected for the ENVision program, visit www.darpa.mil/news-events/2022-01-12a.

“SRI is glad to have SUNY Poly and Dr. Shahedipour-Sandvik as a part of our ENVision team. Their expertise in the III-Nitride system will be invaluable as our interdisciplinary team seeks to reimagine night vision systems from the ground up, and merge scientific advancements in semiconductor design with meta-optics to push the boundaries of the possible,” said David Hill, SRI’s ENVision principal investigator and senior research scientist, SRI Applied Physics Laboratory.

“I am thankful to DARPA and SRI International for this collaborative grant, which will not only allow us to thoughtfully engage with our project collaborators, but also provide an excellent opportunity for students and postdocs to work with top-level scientists to research and produce more effective night vision system components that will support the effectiveness of personnel who require state-of-the-art enhanced night vision capabilities,” said Shahedipour-Sandvik, who was recently appointed by the SUNY Board of Trustees as SUNY’s senior vice chancellor for research.

The research at SUNY Poly will take advantage of its extensive III-Nitride epitaxial growth facility, metrology, and device physics simulation capabilities. Significantly, the research will directly support two Ph.D. students and one post-doctoral researcher for the duration of the proposal, with a number of other students able to gain first-hand, leading-edge research experience at various levels; they will be immersed in the creation of novel device structures, as well as the growth, processing, and fabrication of the components.

To learn more about the overall project and the teams that were selected for the ENVision program, visit www.darpa.mil/news-events/2022-01-12a.

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