Dr.Bhattacharyya and his Smart Materials and MEMS Group have received a 5 year, $ 465000 National Science Foundation (NSF)-EPSCOR award to pursue research in the area of shape memory thin films with applications to smart plasmonics. Plasmonics are devices that have free electrons which are excited by certain frequencies of light at the interface between a metal and a dielectric. The resonant frequencies are decided by the dielectric properties as well as geometrical properties of the metal structures (thin films). Coupling the plasmonics with solar cells has the potential to boost the efficiency of the solar cells. The geometrical properties of the thin films are sensitive to temperature and this sensitivity is markedly enhanced during phase transformations that are accompanied by dimensional changes of the thin films, as in shape memory alloys. This project is part of the Green Renewable Energy Efficient Nanoplasmonic (GREEN) Solar Cells Center effort led by Dr.Vasundhara Varadhan at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and funded by NSF over a period of five years, 2010-2015.
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