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UNT Insider | July 2013 issue | UNT researchers to help develop new technology, materials for military in $8.5 million study

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UNT researchers to help develop new technology, materials for military in $8.5 million study

From a UNT News Service press release

UNT is a member of a research group recently awarded $8.5 million to investigate new materials for U.S. Department of Defense technologies.

The five-year project involves a multidisciplinary group of researchers from five universities -- UNT, Duke University, Brigham Young University, Central Michigan University and University of Maryland, College Park.

Researchers in the group use supercomputers to discover and design materials that will revolutionize future technologies for advanced energy applications, faster electronic devices and stronger and lighter structural materials.

"The focus is on the development of new materials that are essential in a variety of applications, from night-vision devices and camouflage technologies to ultra-high efficiency solar cells," says Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, professor of physics and chemistry, who is one of the primary investigators of the research group. "These materials, which are characterized by simultaneously being transparent and electrically conductive, currently contain Indium as a critical element. But Indium is scarce and there is a great urgency in finding replacement materials that are cheaper and abundant."

Only 14 awards were granted in the entire nation, which reflects the research team's leadership role and the importance of their combined knowledge, Buongiorno Nardelli says.

The project, titled Topological decompositions and spectral sampling algorithms for element substitution in critical technologies, was awarded by the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program (MURI). During the past 25 years, the MURI program has produced significant capabilities for U.S. military forces and opened up new lines of research. More information about MURI can be found on the Department of Defense website.

About Marco Buongiorno Nardelli

Marco Buongiorno Nardelli joined UNT in January 2012 as a member of UNT's Materials Modeling research cluster. A Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics, he has published more than 120 research articles in prestigious international journals including Science, Nature Materials, NanoLetters, Physical Review Letters and Physical Review B, with more than 5,500 citations. The main focus of his group's research effort is the design and discovery of novel materials for 21st century applications in energy, environment, nano-electronics and devices, and the development of high-performance simulation techniques. More information can be found on his group website.

Leslie Wimmer with UNT News Service can be reached at


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July 2013

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