ERINC is organized around the subject areas of ElectroOptics and Nanotechnology. Both topics are interdisciplinary and expertise is found in these topics throughout UofL, rather than in a single department. There is also strong overlap between these two topics. A major fraction of the members who are associated with nanotechnology study electro-optic properties of materials and nanoscale-featured optical devices. ERINC helps to connect these various faculty members, who otherwise might never be aware of each other. Through shared common interests ERINC was able to establish the Huson Nanotechnology Core Facility (HNCF), which provides advanced nanotechnology and optical instruments and techniques to at least 20 faculty members, which otherwise would be too expensive to purchase and maintain. Also, with 8 faculty members from other Kentucky universities, 5 affiliated faculty from universities outside Kentucky, and 3 industrial affiliates, ERINC serves to more broadly connect faculty and other scientists with interests in ElectroOptics and Nanotechnology throughout the State, the country and the world. Results of these connections have led, over the years, to numerous successful research and educational collaborations as demonstrated by a large number of multi-investigator grants obtained by ERINC members. Additionally ERINC and its members have contributed significantly to fostering the early development of the Conn Center for Renewable Energy and the Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC). UofL ERINC membership includes faculty from departments of Electrical and Computer, Chemical, Mechanical and Bio- Engineering, Physics, Chemistry and the School of Education, as well as one former member from the School of Dentistry.
The ERI’s growth in membership and in research grants has been greatest by far in the area of nanotechnology. ERI members through these grants have brought in advanced instruments that support nanotechnology, and as a result have created a user facility containing several of these instruments (many unique to Kentucky and the Ohio Valley region, e.g. advanced electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes, nanoprinters, nanomaterials composition and structure analyzers for observing the growth of atomic monolayers). The continued growth in nanotechnology funding justified broadening the name of ERI to ElectroOptics Research Institute & Nanotechnology Center (ERINC).
In order to remain flexible to changing situations, as well as to better represent the increased and widely dispersed members, ERINC is conducting annual summit meeting to review the ERINC name, mission, and progress and to develop coordinated group plans, strategies and recommendations to UofL and theCommonwealth.
ERINC’s principal achievements include:
In addition to funding from grants, the University is providing direct financial support towards the ERINC mission. These funds enable ERINC to actively pursue the award of Federal research centers and to transform the major new research instruments from individual use to fully maintained and supported service recharge centers. The investment of such funds enable us to build on the successes of ERINC.
The ERI has identified Nanotechnology as a major area for growth. Funding from NSF and the state have been provided to help in developing the necessary personnel and infrastructure needed to make this a major research and educational enterprise. Recent trends and other views on the significance of nanotechnology are presented in the following reports.
ElectroOptics is a multidisciplinary field of research that is contributing increasingly to the economic vitality and technological strength of the U.S. in areas including lasers, optoelectronic devices, materials processing, optical design, infrared imaging, visual displays, and the psychology of visual perception. This research is heavily funded by universities and industry. The amount of funding and the scope of the projects is only expected to increase.
In Kentucky there are several research projects in electrooptics, but there is only limited collaboration among Kentucky researchers and limited awareness of each others' programs. We have initiated an ElectroOptics Research Institute that provides the nucleus around which universities and business concerns throughout Kentucky coalesce and pursue larger scale research and infrastructure grants.
The ElectroOptics Research Institute joins together electrooptics faculty from the Universities of Louisville and Kentucky, and affiliated researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology, China and Russia. From this core we are pursuing collaborative research and infrastructural development activities with faculty and industrial electrooptics researchers throughout the world.