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Junior Faculty from USC Viterbi Win DARPA Young Faculty Awards

June 14, 2012 —

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has granted Young Faculty Awards to USC Viterbi Assistant Professors Andrea Hodge (Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering) and

Professor Andrea Hodge
Professor Jongseung Yoon
Jongseung Yoon (Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering). As part of the awards, Hodge and Yoon will receive funding ($300,000 each, over two years) and mentoring, as well as industry and Department of Defense (DoD) contacts to develop their research ideas in the context of DoD needs.

Hodge’s award will fund her work in new engineered materials, specifically highly nanotwinned ultra high strength aluminum alloys. Highly nanotwinned materials present a growing field of study. By utilizing alloying as a route to lower the stacking fault energy, Hodge aims to develop new highly nanotwinned material systems. Potential defense applications of these materials include light weight-high strength structural materials (four to five times stronger than non-twinned materials), creep and corrosion resistant applications, radiation resistant materials and new electronic structures.

Yoon’s award will fund a two-year research effort that aims to demonstrate a feasible path to highly integrable vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays, and their scalable, unconventional assemblies in mechanically optimized layouts that could be most useful for their utilization in wearable and implantable optoelectronic diagnostic and therapeutic platforms. The new, alternative approaches Yoon develops would provide critical advantages in integration possibilities, cost structure, and design options which have not been achievable in existing technologies, creating unprecedented opportunities for VCSELs.

The objective of the DARPA Young Faculty Award is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to DoD needs, as well as DARPA’s program development process. The program focuses on untenured faculty, emphasizing those without prior DARPA funding. The long-term goal of the YFA program is to develop the next generation of academic scientists, engineers and mathematicians in key disciplines who will focus a significant portion of their career on DoD and national security issues.