UTA Magazine
Summary of research achievements on campus

A MAGNET FOR FUNDING. UTA is one of 27 universities recently selected to receive highly competitive research grants from the Department of Defense. The University will get $1 million a year for five years for research on nanoprocessed magnets with applications in the defense industry, medicine and other areas. Physics Associate Professor Ping Liu is the principal investigator, with physics Associate Professor Quiming Zhang co-principal investigator. The grant, part of the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, supports work pertinent to national defense. Duke University, Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and the California Institute of Technology also received MURI grants this cycle. Defense Department technical expert teams rigorously reviewed more than 120 full proposals over several months before choosing which projects to fund.

POLLUTION SOLUTIONS. Professors in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department are studying ways to help the area meet new Environmental Protection Agency air pollution standards. The project measures emission reductions associated with synchronized traffic signals. Assistant Professor Melanie Sattler, an air pollution specialist, is the lead investigator for “On-road Measurements of Air Quality Benefits: Traffic Signal Improvements.” Assistant Professor Steve Mattingly, a transportation specialist, and four graduate students are assisting. The team will take a year’s worth of before-and-after air samples along four corridors in Arlington and Grand Prairie. The study is part of a thoroughfare assessment program by the North Central Texas Council of Governments and is supported by a grant from the Texas Air Resources Center.

THANKS FOR THE MEMORY CHIPS. The Office of Naval Research has awarded a three-year, $320,000 grant to materials science and engineering Assistant Professor Seong Jin Koh and Associate Professor Choong-Un Kim and the Nanotechnology Research and Teaching Facility. The pair will develop a technology for wafer-scale fabrication of single-electron memory devices. Most memory chips currently require millions of electrons to store each bit of information, but single-electron memory devices use only a few tens of electrons to store a single bit. This results in ultra-low-power consumption and ultra-high-density memories. Although the potential benefits of single-electron devices are clear, their fabrication technology is in its infancy. Combining several technologies, Drs. Koh and Kim will address critical fabrication issues that have hindered single-electron device implementation.

FISHING FOR ANSWERS. Blooms from golden algae kill fish in Texas lakes and have caused millions of dollars in economic losses. With funding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, doctoral student Jason Baker is researching what conditions lead to the blooms and how to control them. Under the direction of biology Associate Professor James Grover, Baker uses algae in laboratory cultures to identify conditions that promote growth and toxicity. Preliminary results suggest that growth increases with temperature; therefore, these algae should bloom in the summer. However, golden algae in Texas bloom only in autumn, winter and spring. Key to solving the problem will be learning what keeps these algae down in summer. The project is a collaboration with UT Austin, Baylor University and Texas A&M University.

DOUBLE-HEADER. Are two heads better than one when it comes to software development? Information systems and operations management Associate Professor Radha Mahapatra and Assistant Professor Sridhar Nerur are putting their heads together to find out. They’re examining agile development methodologies, some of which are radically different from traditional methods of developing software. One such practice pairs programmers to write code jointly. Historically, programming is a solitary activity. Drs. Mahapatra and Nerur are conducting a series of investigations to assess the effectiveness of agile methodologies versus traditional ones. Their research will help identify factors that lead to improved productivity and enhanced quality. Sabre Airline Solutions is a partner in the project.

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