NASA Early Career Award supports Gong's integrated circuits research

ECE News

Khushboo Jain, ECE ILLINOIS
10/23/2017 12:28:08 PM

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded ECE ILLINOIS Professor Songbin Gong an Early Career Faculty Award. The highly coveted award comes with $600,000 in funding support for a proposed research project. 

Gong’s proposed research seeks to develop photonic integrated circuits (PIC) that can surpass the state-of-the art for performing widely tunable and highly sensitive microwave and millimeter-wave radiometry. The project will do so “by exploiting the pronounced photonic, electro-optic and piezoelectric properties of ion-sliced lithium niobate thin film platforms for signal modulation, filtering and detection,” Gong said in his proposal. 

Songbin  Gong
Songbin Gong

The award is given to promote “the study of innovative, early-stage technologies that address high priority needs of America’s space program,” according to NASA’s press release. 

"It’s important that we support early career faculty to conduct space technology research and develop groundbreaking, high-risk, high-payoff space technologies," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Early career faculty often have the advantage of looking at some of our challenges in new ways and developing innovative solutions to meeting them.”

Gong is excited about the opportunity to work with NASA and is looking forward to bring his proposed concept to fruition. “The outcome of this research will enable a new chip-scale solution for passive microwave radiometry over a wide frequency range with fine spectral selectivity,” said Gong. 

'Enabling Subsystems in the LN PIC platform exploiting interactions among microwave, photons, and phonons' from Gong's proposal.
'Enabling Subsystems in the LN PIC platform exploiting interactions among microwave, photons, and phonons' from Gong's proposal.

Gong currently leads the ILIRM (Illinois Integrated RF Microsystems) Research group. The group’s research leverages micro/nano electro mechanical systems (N/MEMS) and integrated photonic technologies to enable radio and microwave frequency chip-scale hybrid microsystems.

Gong teaches ECE 457: Microwave Devices & Circuits and ECE 447: Active Microwave Circuit Design. Both courses cover the theory and design of microwave frequency systems.

A poster on Gong’s research can be found here. Read NASA’s press release on the award here.

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