A Week in Review: 4/21/13 – 4/27/13

April 22, 2013

Physicists Find Right (and Left) Solution for On-Chip Optics: Nanoscale Router Converts and Directs Optical Signals Efficiently
A Harvard-led team of researchers has created a new type of nanoscale device that converts an optical signal into waves that travel along a metal surface. Significantly, the device can recognize specific kinds of polarized light and accordingly send the signal in one direction or another.

April 24, 2013

Supertough, Strong Nanofibers Developed
University of Nebraska-Lincoln materials engineers have developed a structural nanofiber that is both strong and tough, a discovery that could transform everything from airplanes and bridges to body armor and bicycles. Their findings are featured on the cover of this week’s April issue of the American Chemical Society’s journal, ACS Nano. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and a U.S. Army Research Office Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant.

April 24, 2013

U.S.-Australia agreement promotes space situational awareness
A new agreement made between the United States and Australia represents the first in what U.S. Strategic Command’s commander hopes will be many that promote transparency in the space domain.



AFOSR Program Officers Complete Their 56th Annual Spring Review

The Program Officers of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) completed their 56th annual Spring Review, which ran from 4 March through 8 March in Arlington, VA. This annual assessments of AFOSR’s research portfolio highlighted not only the overall research portfolio, but emphasized the numerous basic research transitions of benefit to the United States Air Force.

In attendance were senior members of the organization as well as an online audience of over 1,200 attendees from other Air Force laboratories, universities and industry, many of whom would have been unable to travel to the event in person. This is the third year that AFOSR has opened this annual event to the broad public by opting to stream it online, a decision that has helped improve the communication flow and transparency of a small organization with a big mission for the United States Air Force.

In this AFOSR Spring Review 2013 video, Dr. Charles Matson, Chief Scientist, AFOSR presents the AFOSR Basic Research Strategy and explains why the Air Force invests in Basic Research:


For those who missed the 2013 Spring Review, presentations and videos are still available: Presentations Videos

Since its establishment in 1951, AFOSR has been responsible for investing in extramural basic research programs at leading universities and in-house (intramural) Air Force laboratories. During the first five years of AFOSR’s existence, the annual budget was relatively lean (as was the staff–between 20 to 27 personnel).

It was then that history intervened when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first earth satellite, in October 1957. Almost overnight, AFOSR’s budget almost doubled, and with it, a gradual boost in personnel. Sputnik was a major wake-up call regarding the overwhelming importance of science and technology to the future security, as well as economic vitality, of the United States.

For several decades thereafter, AFOSR held not only a Spring Review, but a Fall Review as well. By 1975, AFOSR was responsible for all Air Force basic research funding, and the bi-annual reviews continued to provide a formal review of the status and areas of emphasis in the overall basic research portfolio.

Although AFOSR reverted to an annual review in the 1990’s, this management tool continues to provide an excellent opportunity for both an introspective self-examination of a wide-ranging research portfolio as well as welcoming the views of customers and stakeholders in the continuous pursuit of cutting edge research that forges the foundation of our future Air Force.

As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR’s mission is to discover, shape and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force. To stay up-to-date on the latest AFOSR happenings, please join us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

A Week in Review: 4/14/13 – 4/20/13


Dr. Partick G. Carrick, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Acting Director and Director, Basic Science Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
In March, Dr. Pat Carrick, SES, replaced Dr. Russell as (Acting) Director of AFOSR. In his new role, Dr. Carrick guides the management of the entire basic research investment for the United States Air Force. Dr. Carrick leads a staff of 200 scientists, engineers and administrators in Arlington, VA and foreign technology offices in London, Tokyo and Santiago, Chile. Each year, AFOSR selects sponsors and manages revolutionary basic research that impacts the future Air Force.


Cleaner fuel in the works for military jets
Alternative fuel is playing an even bigger role in the U.S. government’s aviation plan. Within the next year the latest National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan will be released and a large portion of it focuses on alternative fuels. Wright Patterson Air Force Base is playing a leading role, in part because it can moderately scale up lab production for commercial companies. WVXU’s Ann Thompson took a tour to see how it’s made, where it’s tested and what unusual samples the Air Force is storing. She reports in “Focus on Technology.”


Small in Size, Big On Power: New Microbatteries the Most Powerful Yet
Though they may be little, they are fierce. The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery — and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.
The National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research supported this work.