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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    3 UA researchers awarded grants

    Three UA researchers were recently rewarded with grants from Science Foundation Arizona to help further their projects.

    Professors David Lynch, Dominic McGrath and Nasser Peyghambarian were selected along with five other Arizona State University applicants from an applicant pool of 44. A total of $2 million was disbursed with the goal of furthering technological advancements and assisting Arizona’s commercial industry.

    Lynch, a professor of materials science and engineering, received $298,000 for his project, which aims to reduce pollution and its costsby manufacturing silicon for solar technology.

    Finding a less expensive way to produce the silicon for the photovoltaic industry requires a special furnace available at only a few research institutions across the world, Lynch said. The SFAz grant allows him and his solar technology research team to test the process at a laboratory in Oregon, he added.

    “”The SFA(z) grant opens up an entire new research area for me that until now was confined to paper studies,”” Lynch said.

    Peyghambarian, an optical sciences professor, received $411,000 to develop an optical modulator for the fiber-optic communications industry and a fiber-optic magnetic field sensor for monitoring brain activity.

    He said the grant will allow him to try making new products that could help Arizona’s economy.

    “”We have a good start because of this grant,”” he said. “”It enables us to raise more money from other government agencies and industry.””

    McGrath, an associate professor of chemistry, received $208,000 to develop a new disposable infusion pump for the delivery of insulin, medications and other medical substances. He said he is working to detect the way that polymeric materials respond to pH levels in order to develop a disposable infusion pump that will help with insulin therapy in delivering insulin for two weeks. The pump is being developed for Medipacs, a local biotech company.

    McGrath said he values the grant because of SFAz’s desire to invest in Arizona’s universities.

    “”I’m glad this grant money is available,”” he said. “”It allows us to do good science.””

    McGrath said applying for the SFAz grant was a more strenuous process than for other grants he’s applied to, mainly because he had to submit a detailed proposal and then give a presentation in front of a board of directors in Phoenix. William C. Harris, SFAz president and CEO, said the organization likes to be involved in the professors’ research because it will eventually affect the success of spin-off companies meant to create new jobs for Arizonans.

    Although the grants were given to only three researchers at the UA, they have the potential to affect the entire university in different ways, Peyghambarian said.

    “”This grant makes my life easier, but it also impacts students by allowing them to apply their studies in a real-life research setting,”” he said.

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