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NASA Center for Aerospace Device Research and Education at North Carolina Central University
Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

North Carolina Central University will receive $5 million over the next five years to establish the NASA Center for Aerospace Research and Education (NASA-CADRE) for development of advanced devices, sensors and detectors, and multidisciplinary fundamental and applied science and engineering research. The NASA-CADRE center will encompass research in several NASA-related fields including design and fabrication of new materials and devices, nanotechnology, computational science, robotics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics. It will combine state-of-the-art theoretical and experimental research and development to meet technological challenges of NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Center director, Dr. Branislav Vlahovic, professor of physics, said, “The cornerstone of NASA-CADRE is a cluster of interdisciplinary research groups that build upon existing strengths, and exploit unique combination of expertise and facilities at NCCU. The center, which consists of five interdisciplinary projects and seed projects, involves 17 senior investigators from five NCCU STEM departments: I. Bondarev, B. Crowe, S. DeLauder, J. Dutta, I. Filikhin, T. Gerald, G. Love, D. Markoff, S. Sendlinger, J. Sexton, V. Suslov, Y. Tang, A. Tokuta, R. Uma, G. Vlahovic, M. Wu, and scientists from NASA and collaborating institutions who have a demonstrated track record of collaboration on the following research projects: 1) Development of nanoscale materials for advanced optoelectronics devices; 2) Development of a new type of polarimeter for high-energy gamma-ray astrophysics; 3) Development of Novel neutrino detector and nuclear astrophysics; 4) Development of an original highly sensitive and selective type of biochemical sensor; 5) Cooperative autonomous intelligent mobile robotic systems; and 6) Seed projects: a) Modification of solar cell materials by laser irradiation; and b) Use of metallic nanostructures to control light.”

The NASA-CADRE will be a collaborative effort to foster scientific advances by bringing together researchers and educators and creating intellectual synergy among scientists and engineers. Intra- and inter-institutional collaborations (NCCU, NASA Ames, NASA Glenn, and NASA Goddard Research Center, Cornell University, Jefferson National Laboratory, Duke University, and IBM) advanced by the center will further develop a research infrastructure able to address some of the most important questions in modern astronomy, physics and materials science. The goal of the project is to develop a center that will establish itself as a leading facility for advanced devices and both fundamental and applied multidisciplinary aerospace research, combined with an outstanding scientific and educational program built with strong collaboration with NASA, academic, industrial, government and international partners.

Principal Investigator on NASA-CADRE, Dr. Branislav Vlahovic, was just last year awarded $5 million grant to establish NSF CREST Computational Center for Fundamental and Applied Science and Education. The CREST Center that supports computational efforts at NCCU is complementary to the NASA-CADRE experimental program. The structure of the CREST center, already well established research entity at the NCCU College of Science and Technology, will be very useful to speed up the progress of the NASA-CADRE. These two complementary research centers with synergetic computational and experimental strengths will benefit each other through the unique research programs and common efforts to increase participation of minority students in material science and STEM disciplines.

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