The Catholic University of America

Oct. 1, 2009

CUA Awarded $401,201 to Purchase Scientific Measurement Instrument

John Philip

The Catholic University of America has received $401,201 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to purchase a scientific instrument that measures the electrical, thermal and magnetic properties of materials and nanoscale devices.

Combined with the scientific instrumentation the university already had, the purchase gives CUA an advanced research infrastructure on par with other leading universities in the world, says John Philip, assistant professor of physics and nanotechnology researcher at the university's Vitreous State Laboratory (VSL).

The new Physical Property Measurement System will be installed in Philip's lab in VSL and will be used by CUA professors in physics, chemistry, biomedical engineering and other departments.

The NSF program requires grant recipients to contribute 30 percent of the price of the scientific equipment being purchased. CUA's Vitreous State Laboratory therefore contributed $171,943 toward the total cost of $573,144.

The new instrument will help CUA to attract excellent students, produce more cutting-edge scientific research results and attract more funding for additional research, says Philip.

The instrument could help lead to advances in the use of nanotechnology to treat diseases or deliver drugs; in the understanding of the basic physics of certain magnetic nanoparticles; and in the investigation of certain chemical complexes that change their magnetic behavior with an external stimulus such as light or change in chemical environment. These compounds are of great interest as possible molecular memory devices or switches and - when fully understood - could lead to significant advances in the miniaturization of electronic and computer components.

The instrument could also help in the development of a novel type of microprocessor that processes information encoded in the spin-direction of electrons - an advance that could tremendously increase the speed of computers and decrease the amount of energy needed to run them, according to Philip.

Philip acted as principal investigator for this grant proposal. Co-principal investigators were Ian Pegg, director of the Vitreous State Laboratory and professor of physics; Greg Brewer, professor and chair of the chemistry department; and Otto Wilson, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Katie Lee or Kate Kennedy in Catholic University's Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.