A Week in Review: 3/11/12 to 3/17/12

A quick recap of AFRL and AFOSR news mentions over the past week.

March 13, 2012

Metamaterials may advance with new femtosecond laser technique
Researchers in applied physics have cleared an important hurdle in the development of advanced materials, called metamaterials, that bend light in unusual ways. Working at a scale applicable to infrared light, the Harvard team has used extremely short and powerful laser pulses to create three-dimensional patterns of tiny silver dots within a material. Those suspended metal dots are essential for building futuristic devices like invisibility cloaks.

Harvard Engineer Robert J. Wood to receive NSF’s Alan T. Waterman Award
The annual award, the NSF’s most prestigious honor, recognizes an outstanding researcher under the age of 35 in any field of science or engineering that the NSF supports. In addition to a medal, Wood and Aaronson will each receive a million-dollar grant over a 5-year period for further advanced study. [Editor’s Note: Dr. Wood has been supported by AFOSR since 2007 and is currently funded under Dr. Bonneau’s (AFOSR/RSL) Programmable Microrobot Swarms program].

March 14, 2012

Students Square off Using Brain Power to Compete at National Robotics
The annual National Robotics Challenge (NRC) helps students develop their skills in creativity, engineering, problem-solving and leadership….This year, the NRC partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a new contest called Rescue Robot. One team from the Rescue Robot event will be selected to work with the Air Force Research Laboratory and a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emergency response team to further develop their design into an autonomous/semi-autonomous rescue robot prototype.

March 16, 2012

AFOSR Adds Features, Influences Future in Annual Review
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research wrapped up its annual review earlier this month, during which the organization’s program managers had a chance to showcase their work to authorities from defense, government, academia and the general public.

Killer silk: Making silk fibers that kill anthrax and other microbes in minutes
A simple, inexpensive dip-and-dry treatment can convert ordinary silk into a fabric that kills disease-causing bacteria — even the armor-coated spores of microbes like anthrax — in minutes, scientists are reporting in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.