Three from engineering win Navy Young Investigator Awards

Cornell Engineering assistant professors Peter McMahon, Francesco Monticone and Atieh Moridi are among the 32 researchers selected from more than 220 applicants to receive Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) awards, which support early-career scientists and engineers.

The Young Investigator Program is a highly competitive early-career award program recognizing prior academic achievement and potential for significant scientific breakthrough. College and university tenure-track faculty who earned a Ph.D. on or after Jan. 1, 2014, were eligible for YIP awards this year.

Peter McMahon

Francesco Monticone

Atieh Moridi

McMahon, from the School of Applied and Engineering Physics, researches the physics of computation and how physical systems can be engineered to perform computation in new ways. His YIP application, “Superconducting Electronics Neural Networks for Wideband RF Signal Processing,” was awarded in the program area of Cryogenically Enabled Electronics Technologies for Mixed Signal Systems.

“We’re excited to explore using our approach to deep physical neural networks to create high-speed analog electronic neural networks for real-time processing of radar, communications and other radio signals,” McMahon said.

Monticone, from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized in the program area titled Advanced Naval Platforms for his application, “Nonreciprocal Nonmagnetic Thermal Photonics.” Monticone’s work is in the areas of applied electromagnetics, engineered metamaterials and metasurfaces, and nanophotonics, with applications ranging from microwaves to optical frequencies.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award, which will support my group’s work on novel nanophotonic platforms with anomalous properties for light emission and absorption, potentially opening new opportunities for radiative thermal control and energy harvesting,” Monticone said. “I am particularly grateful for my colleagues, mentors and students for all their support.”

Moridi, from the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, uses additive manufacturing techniques to synthesize novel high-performance materials. Her application, “Grand Alloys – A New Strategy for Alloy Design by Combination of Complementary Alloys of a Single Family,” was chosen for funding in the program area Materials and Processes for Additive Manufacturing.

“It is certainly a great honor for me to be recognized by ONR and work on high performance materials that meet the structural demands of naval applications,” Moridi said. “I am extremely excited about this project, as we are leveraging the unique characteristics of additive manufacturing processes to design novel materials we couldn’t imagine before.”

This year’s awardees come from 25 academic institutions in 16 states. Typical grants range from $510,000 to $750,000 over three years. McMahon, Monticone and Moridi can use the funds to pay for graduate student stipends, to purchase laboratory equipment or to cover other expenses critical to their research.

Chris Dawson is a writer and brand manager for the College of Engineering.

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