Cheng receives DARPA Young Faculty Award

Photo of Dr. Xing Cheng

Dr. Xing Cheng, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, has received the Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Cheng received his DARPA award for his proposal, “Surface-Phonon-Polariton-Enhanced Infrared Antennas for Exceptionally Sensitive Chemical Detection.”

Vibrational spectroscopic techniques are powerful tools for chemical and biological molecular detection and identification. In recent years, substrates with metallic nanostructures show huge enhancement in vibrational signals, which stimulated enormous interest in surface-enhanced vibrational spectroscopy techniques, particularly surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and surface-enhanced infrared absorption (SEIRA).

Cheng's proposal offers a novel device to achieve enormous intensity enhancement at mid-infrared wavelengths by placing field-enhancing infrared antennas on a surface that is capable of exciting surface phonon modes. Upon completion, signal enhancement by nearly three orders of magnitude above the-state-of-the-art SEIRA technique is expected.

Cheng received his B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1997, his M.S. from Stanford University in 1999 and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2005. He is the author or co-author of numerous publications. His research interests focus on developing low-cost and high-throughput nanoimprint-based nanofabrication techniques for nanophotonics and organic nanoelectronics; and designing and characterize transformative microelectronic devices and systems to address critical challenges in solar energy harvesting and biomedical engineering.

The objective of DARPA's Young Faculty Award program is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Defense Department needs and DARPA's program development process. The program provides funding, mentoring and industry and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contacts to these faculty members early in their careers to develop their research ideas in the context of DoD needs.