Mark Hersam Named US Science Envoy

Northwestern Engineering’s Mark Hersam has been selected as a US Science Envoy by the US Department of State. He began his yearlong service last month. As a US Science Envoy, Hersam will travel to Eastern Europe to stimulate cooperation in the area of emerging technologies.

“It is a great honor to be selected as a US Science Envoy for 2016,” said Hersam, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “I anticipate opportunities to exchange ideas on how to accelerate the transition of fundamental scientific research to economic prosperity through education, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.”

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Using Plasmonics to Transmit More Data

Merely a decade ago, people were amazed that their cellular phones could send a simple text message. Now smartphones send and receive high-resolution photographs, videos, emails with large attachments, and much more. The desire for endless data has become insatiable.

“The ability to deliver information from one location to another has played a very important role in advancing human civilization,” said Robert P.H. Chang, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern Engineering. “Today, we live in a digital world where the demand for the ability to transmit large amounts of data is growing exponentially.”

To meet this high demand, Chang and his team developed a means to modulate light signals in the near-infrared wavelength region. Their work demonstrates a new scheme to control infrared plasmons, opening a new door for transmitting massive amounts of information.

The research appeared online on Monday, February 22 in the Nature Photonics. Peijun Guo, a senior PhD student in Chang’s laboratory, is the paper’s first author.

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