Michigan engineers know that it doesn’t always take a big grant to solve a big problem – but it certainly helps. Below are some of the largest ongoing projects led by U-M engineering faculty.
Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System
Improving hurricane and extreme-weather prediction is the goal of a new $151.7 million NASA satellite project. Led by U-M’s Christopher Ruf, and part of NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder program, the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) launched in 2016. The system uses a constellation of eight small satellites in orbit to receive signals scattered by the ocean surface from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The mission will probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the inner core of the storms, helping advance forecast and tracking methods.
Automotive Research Center
The Automotive Research Center (ARC) operates at the crux of military, academic, and industry research and advancement for ground vehicle systems. Sponsored by the U.S. Army as a Center of Excellence, the University of Michigan team, led by Anna Stefanopoulou, collaborates with industry and university partners to address gaps in mobility, survivability and operational efficiency. ARC projects assess, design and implement tools and technology to this end with $40 million for the current 5-year funding period.
C-FAR Center for Future Architectures Research
The Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR) is a $28 million, five-year research center focused on innovation to create scalable computing systems by 2025. The U-M team, led by Todd Austin, is working with other university investigators on research that leverages the best in emerging circuit fabrics to enable whole new applications in six research themes. These themes are computation, communication, storage, applications-to-architectures, robust design and system integration.
Consortium for Verification Technologies
Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons is a top priority for the US. Leading a $25 million grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration, Sara Pozzi, an associate professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, works with colleagues at 13 universities and eight national labs to develop new tools and expertise. The Consortium for Verification Technology, which spans policy, engineering and education, is analyzing nuclear nonproliferation efforts, improving technologies for monitoring weapons-grade materials and detecting secret weapon tests, and training the next generation of nonproliferation experts.
Other U-M collaborators are Chief Scientist David Wehe, Zhong He, John Lee and Kimberlee Kearfott, professors in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, and research scientists Marek Flaska and Shaun Clarke. U-M President Emeritus James Duderstadt will serve on the project’s advisory board.
CEMRI for Photonics and Multiscale Nanomaterials/CPHOM: Center for Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials
This $13-million National Science Foundation Materials Research and Engineering Center based at the University of Michigan is developing high-tech materials that manipulate light in new ways. CPHOM research, led by Ted Norris, could enable advances such as invisibility cloaks, nanoscale lasers, high-efficiency lighting and quantum computers. Established in 2011, the center’s research activity is focused on two Interdisciplinary research groups: wide-bandgap nanostructured materials for quantum light emitters, and advanced electromagnetic metamaterials and near-field tools.
Other U-M collaborators include Pallab Bhattacharya, Mary Beth Damm, Sharon Glotzer, Rachel Goldman, Anthony Grbic, L. Jay Guo, Nicholas Kotov, Pei-Cheng Ku, Ronald Larson, Joanna Millunchik, Jamie Phillips, Duncan Steel, Steven Yalisove and Zhaohui Zhong.
PRedictive Integrated Structural Materials Science Center
Many innovations only become possible when the right material is accidentally discovered. The goal of the PRedictive Integrated Structural Materials Science Center, or PRISMS, is to change that. By developing a predictive understanding of how structure relates to material properties, researchers will be able to engineer materials that have the qualities that they need to invent new technologies. This effort to model materials from the macroscale to the nanoscale is led by John Allison, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and is backed with $11 million from the Department of Energy’s Materials Genome Project.
Other U-M faculty and staff working on the grant are Larry Aagesen, Samantha Daly, Krishna Garikipati, Vikram Gavini, Margaret Hedstrom, H.V. Jagadish, Wayne Jones, Emmanuelle Marquis, Brian Puchala, Shiva Rudraraju, Veera Sundararaghavan, Katsuyo Thornton and Glenn Tarcea. In addition, over 15 students and post-docs are actively involved in this program.
Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Adaptive Technology
Supported by $10.1 million from the U.S. Army for its second 5-year funding period, the Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology, or COM-BAT, designs and builds the microelectronics for a mixture of autonomous handheld-size robots that can gather life-saving information in hazardous urban environment. The team, led by Kamal Sarabandi, is developing tiny biomimetic sensors for navigation and state estimation (optical flow cameras, sub-millimeter-wave radar for collision avoidance, arrays of hair sensors for inertial measurements), sensors for radiation and poisonous gasses, on-board low-power processors, on-board power generation (flexible photovoltaic arrays, thermal photovoltaic units and other power scavenging components) and small communication systems.
U-M collaborators named on the grant include David Blaauw, Jack East, Steve Forrest, Michael Flynn, Yogesh B. Gianchandani, Amir Mortazawi, Khalil Najafi, Leland Pierce, Mina Rais-Zadeh, Dennis Sylvester, Kensall Wise and Euisik Yoon.
MURI Center for Dynamic Magneto-Optics (DYNAMO)
The MURI Center for Dynamic Magneto-Optics (DYNAMO) seeks to use the magnetic properties of light for purposes such as energy conversion (including the production of electricity). With a $7.5 million grant from the Department of Defense, Stephen Rand, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is leading a collaboration among U-M, Northwestern University, Columbia University and the University of Central Florida.