Valentine named 2014 Young Investigator by the Office of Naval Research

A Vanderbilt School of Engineering faculty member has been honored by Office of Naval Research (ONR) as one of the top 24 young researchers in the United States in 2014 for his proposal to continue to develop dielectric-based optical metamaterials.


Jason Valentine, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been selected as an ONR Young Investigator from among a group of 303 young scientists and engineers “who show exceptional promise for outstanding research and teaching careers,” according to Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder.

The Department of the Navy is awarding a total of $12.5 million to university professors selected from highly qualified applicants to conduct naval-relevant research in areas from robotics to corrosion prevention. Each selectee receives annual monetary awards over a three-year period.

Valentine works primarily in silicon, which offers new possibilities thanks to its higher refractive index. His use of dielectric materials—which typically absorb less light than metal counterparts—can lead to breakthroughs in high-power lasers, offer infrared concealment and create single-mode lasers.

More broadly, Valentine’s research uses nanoscale structuring to engineer a material’s optical properties, which may have implications in communications, imaging, solar energy conversion, photonic circuitry and products that source, control and detect light known broadly as optoelectronic devices.

In early 2014, he was awarded the National Science Foundation Early Career Grant to further explore ultra-compact optical elements that can improve performance of visible and infrared cameras and be used to develop free-space telecommunications and optical manipulation.

Valentine joined the mechanical engineering department in 2010. He completed a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2010 at UC-Berkeley. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
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