Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

android tablet pc

Home > Press > Futuristic Electronics and Better Diplomacy Among the Focuses of Pitt-Involved Research for U.S. Defense Department

Pitt will receive nearly $2.7 million as part of collaborative research with universities around the country

Futuristic Electronics and Better Diplomacy Among the Focuses of Pitt-Involved Research for U.S. Defense Department

PITTSBURGH, PA | Posted on March 31st, 2008

High-density electronics of the future and more effective diplomacy are among the possible outcomes of a combined $2.7 million that two University of Pittsburgh researchers will receive as part of collaborative projects for the U.S. Department of Defense. The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program-which supports basic research of interest to the Defense Department-will devote $200 million over the next five years to 34 multi-institutional projects, three of which involve Pitt.

Pitt professor Jeremy Levy in the Department of Astronomy and Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences was awarded $1.1 million as part of a five-year, $6.5 million project to investigate future applications of electron spin, which may allow for faster and less power-consuming information technology. Michael Lewis, a professor in the School of Information Sciences, will receive a total of nearly $1.5 million for two MURI projects totaling $13.75 million: One will evaluate the feasibility of a decentralized military communication system; another is meant to help military negotiators better cooperate with people of different cultures.

Levy will collaborate with researchers from four other universities to apply electron spin to organic semiconductors and other materials in an attempt to create devices that can store and transfer information with more density but by using less power. Electron spin-the interaction between spinning electrons and magnetic materials-is used in today's computer hard drives and allows highly sensitive sensors to probe the drive's minute magnetic domains. As a result, hard drives are smaller and maintain higher information density.

Levy and his colleagues want to extend these spin-based electronic effects in new ways and with new materials, providing the scientific basis for future technologies. Levy will use state-of-the-art optical and scanning probe techniques to investigate the properties of materials fabricated by his colleagues at the University of Iowa, the University of California at Berkeley, and New York University. Theoretical support will come from researchers at Iowa and the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Levy also will investigate further uses for a technique he developed and published in "Nature Materials" in March. He discovered how to switch, at will, the interface of two readily formed insulating materials from an electrical conductor to an insulator and back at nanoscale dimensions. Levy and his team created wires less than 4 nanometers wide at the interface of two insulators. These conducting nanostructures can subsequently be erased, rendering the interface an insulator once more. This adjustability holds promise for more powerful and compact information technologies, including ultra-high density information storage, reconfigurable logic devices, single-electron devices, and quantum computers.

Lewis will receive almost $600,000 from MURI to create methods for observing how cultural differences influence negotiation. Lewis specializes in human interaction with and through computers and machines, including virtual environments, human error, negotiation, and e-commerce. His work for MURI is part of a $6.25 million project to understand the dynamics of cooperation and negotiation-and the factors that lead to success or disaster. He will work with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and the University of Southern California.

Because geographic and language barriers render cultural differences particularly difficult to observe, Lewis and his team at Pitt will develop a browser-based negotiation environment to offset distance and language. For example, language differences would be overcome by having subjects compose offers and arguments using lists and menus in their native tongue. Also, Webcams, microphones, and translators can help make interaction more personal. Once the negotiations are recorded, Lewis will provide them to the partner institutions to identify aspects of negotiation that are universal and unique to a particular culture and those that become significant in cross-cultural interaction. The project results will be used for training military negotiators.

Lewis also will receive nearly $1 million as part of a $7.5 million project involving researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and George Mason University to study the benefits and pitfalls of a decentralized military information network.

Their work will involve a developing military communication system that bucks the traditional hierarchy and instead shifts information processing and decision making to a peer-to-peer network outside the chain of command. This could allow soldiers and robots to better communicate and react in fast-changing situations on the ground. On the other hand, the lack of a central command to filter information could lead to confusion among soldiers. Lewis will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed network as it relates to how teams of soldiers are able interact with the communication system itself.

The competitive MURI program received 104 proposals in 18 topics. The selected projects include 64 universities, which will receive a total of $19.7 million in fiscal year 2008. Panels of experts in the respective fields selected the projects based on scientific merit. For more information on the MURI awards, visit the Defense Department's Web site at


About University of Pittsburgh
Founded in 1787 as a small, private school, the Pittsburgh Academy was located in a log cabin near Pittsburgh’s three rivers. In the 220 years since, the University has evolved into an internationally recognized center of learning and research.

For more information, please click here

Morgan Kelly
412-624-4356 (office)
412-897-1400 (cell)

Copyright © University of Pittsburgh

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Organometallics welcomes new editor-in-chief: Paul Chirik, Ph.D. July 22nd, 2014

The Hiden EQP Plasma Diagnostic with on-board MCA July 22nd, 2014

Iran to Hold 3rd Int'l Forum on Nanotechnology Economy July 22nd, 2014

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014


NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014


University of Illinois study advances limits for ultrafast nano-devices July 10th, 2014

Harnessing magnetic vortices for making nanoscale antennas: Scientists explore ways to synchronize spins for more powerful nanoscale electronic devices April 30th, 2014

Could Diamonds Be A Computer’s Best Friend? Landmark experiment reveals the precious gem’s potential in computing March 24th, 2014

Spintronic Thermoelectric Power Generators: A step towards energy efficient electronic devices March 21st, 2014

Quantum Computing

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company D-Wave Systems Closes a $28.4 Million Financing July 14th, 2014

Weizmann Institute scientists take another step down the long road toward quantum computers July 14th, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

From pencil marks to quantum computers: Introducing graphene July 5th, 2014


Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014

Bruker Awarded Fourth PeakForce Tapping Patent: AFM Mode Uniquely Combines Highest Resolution Imaging and Material Property Mapping July 22nd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014


Production of Non-Virus Nanocarriers with Highest Amount of Gene Delivery July 17th, 2014

Physicists Use Computer Models to Reveal Quantum Effects in Biological Oxygen Transport: The team solved a long-standing question by explaining why oxygen – and not deadly carbon monoxide – preferably binds to the proteins that transport it around the body. July 17th, 2014

Tiny DNA pyramids enter bacteria easily -- and deliver a deadly payload July 9th, 2014

Artificial cilia: Scientists from Kiel University develop nano-structured transportation system July 4th, 2014

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE