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Laser Researcher Receives Grant to Partner with 5 Universities

The University of Central Florida researcher who holds the world record for the shortest laser pulse ever produced has been awarded part of a Department of Defense grant with an international team to continue study on ultrafast lasers.

Zenghu Chang, a distinguished professor of physics and optics who has appointments with both the College of Sciences and the College of Optics & Photonics, has been awarded $1.18 million to work with five other academic institutions.

The project is part of the department’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative to research Strong-Field Laser Matter Interactions at Mid-Infrared Wavelengths.  

The selection means Chang’s lab, the Institute for the Frontier of Attosecond Science and Technology, will work to produce more-energetic X-ray photons, an area pioneered by Chang and professor Louis F. DiMauro of Ohio State University, the lead investigator on the award. The research will lead to developments in communications, medicine, materials and device manufacturing, and national defense, the researchers said.  

The U.S. portion of the proposal was funded for $7.5 million and also includes researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Arizona, and Louisiana State University. Imperial College in London is also participating in the project, with funding from a United Kingdom agency.

The DOD’s competitive program supports multidisciplinary teams in research identified for its potential of significant and sustained progress.

The DOD selected 22 projects out of 76 invited submissions, for a total of $149 million in awards. The selection process began with a solicitation for proposals in 19 topic areas important to the military, specifically the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research.