ME Assistant Professor Ognjen Ilic Wins U.S. Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program Award

ME Assistant Professor Ognjen Ilic is one of 36 scientists and engineers to be awarded the U.S. Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) Award. The program supports early career researchers who show exceptional promise in conducting creative research in science and engineering that furthers the Air Force's mission.

Ilic's project, "Macro-Scale and Long-Range Optical Actuation with Nanophotonic Materials," will investigate how high-power beams of light interact with nanoscale optical systems. The project's goal is to develop the capability to mechanically manipulate objects at long distances. Ilic's team of students and postdocs will leverage state of the art computational and nano-fabrication resources at the University of Minnesota to demonstrate prototypes of ultra-lightweight metamaterial objects that can be moved and manipulated by light. This work seeks to push the boundaries of contactless actuation, including for high-speed propulsion and metamaterial spacecraft without the need to carry onboard fuel.

The preliminary results for this proposal were supported by seed funding from the Minnesota Robotics Institute.