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AU researcher funded to explore better way to make crystals for high-power lasers
3/10/15

Dr. Yiquan Wu

Dr. Yiquan Wu

Yiquan Wu, an assistant professor of materials science at the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University, has received a grant for more than $518,000 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research  to study  a new approach to manufacturing crystals for high-power lasers.

The high-power lasers would have potential applications for in fields such as laser-assisted manufacture industry, national defense, and laser-based inertial confinement fusion systems.           

Wu, who is an expert in the development of transparent ceramics for optical and laser applications, said this project will focus on a fundamental investigation on processing methods for converting a polycrystalline material into a single crystal, with specific optical properties. The research project aims at solving the long standing roadblock in the course of bringing ceramic processing of single-crystal material into productive applications, with desirable concentration of the chemical elements and a complex architecture design.  

By improving the processing techniques, Wu hopes the resulting crystals will have “superior and novel optical properties.” He also is looking at ways to reduce energy consumption during the processing phase. If the new processing methods prove successful, he said, it will allow the development of other single-crystal materials from polycrystalline materials. Wu will be the principal investigator on the three-year project; other team members will be a graduate student and a post-doctoral researcher.

He joined the Alfred University faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor of materials science; he had previously held appointments as a researcher assistant professor at the University of Rochester and as a research associate at Duke University. He received his Ph.D. degree in materials from the Imperial College London in 2005.  His research interests include optical ceramic materials, bioactive materials, and nanostructured materials for energy applications. Wu received a prestigious Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in 2010.