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EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Materials Research Institute (MRI) at Northwestern University and the National Microelectronic Research Center (NMRC) at the University College in Cork, Ireland, have embarked on the first U.S.-European research collaboration in fundamental photonics (the study of light properties).

The joint research will leverage the world-class facilities and basic and applied research experience of both institutions to develop a new generation of ultra-high-speed optical devices for information technology applications, offering the promise of improving the global economy as well as global security.

Developments will include innovative new materials such as integrated nanophotonic circuits: tiny devices capable of processing and transmitting more information, more quickly, in everything from Palm Pilots to laptop computers and cell phones.

Northwestern researchers (R.P.H. Chang, Tobin J. Marks, Mark A. Ratner and John B. Ketterson) will contribute their expertise in materials synthesis and characterization while NMRC partners (Gabriel Crean, Brian Corbett, Gareth Redmond, Sotomayor Torres and Eoin O’Reilly) will provide state-of-the-art optical characterization capabilities and device fabrication facilities.

The collaboration also will bring its cutting-edge research into science classrooms on both sides of the Atlantic. Investigators will jointly develop dynamic Web-based courses in nanophotonics for pre-college and first-year undergraduate students. Exchanges of graduate students, post-docs and faculty will take place in both directions. Science teachers and undergraduate students will have the opportunity to perform summer research internships under the mentorship of senior researchers on both campuses.

International conferences and workshops will be sponsored on photonics-related topics. All collaborations will take place in real time via a virtual research platform hosted at Northwestern. Research results will be exchanged and online and joint technical seminars and technology transfer symposia will be simulcast at both sites.

The MRI-NMRC project has received joint funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI).








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