Dr. Jie Gao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is one of 35 faculty members in the nation to win a competitive research grant through the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Program.
The award provides $5,000 in seed money for the 2014-2015 academic year to support Gao’s research. The funding is matched by Missouri S&T, making the total prize worth $10,000. Powe Award recipients may use the funding to purchase equipment, continue research, or travel to professional meetings and conferences.
Gao joined Missouri S&T in 2012. She conducts research in the area of nanophotonics and metamaterials, and investigates how light and matter interact at the atomic scale. With funds from her Powe Award, she plans to study the light-matter interaction between light emitters and optical metamaterials, which “exhibit unusual and intriguing electromagnetic properties,” Gao says. These properties hold promise for practical applications in the development of light-emission devices, chip-scale lasers and optical information processing, she says.
“This research will enable us to interface and collaborate with researchers from interdisciplinary fields including materials science, optical engineering, energy and nanomanufacturing,” Gao says.
Gao earned her Ph.D. in applied physics from Columbia University in 2012.
The Powe Awards are named in honor of Ralph E. Powe, who served as the ORAO councilor from Mississippi State University for 16 years. He was elected chair of ORAU’s Council of Sponsoring Institutions prior to his death in 1996.
More information on ORAU fellowships, grants and awards is available at www.orau.org/consortium/programs.
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