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Brown engineering professor wins prestigious White House award
Date:7/10/2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Rashid Zia, assistant professor of engineering, has been named one of this year's winners of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The White House named the latest group of winners this week.

The PECASE award recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. It is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. In addition to the recognition, Zia is expected to receive $200,000 annually over five years to support his research.

"I am very excited about this award and the ongoing work in our lab," Zia said. "It means a lot for my new research group to have this level of support."

Zia joined the Brown faculty in 2006 after earning his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Stanford University. He attended Brown as an undergraduate, where he earned a combined degree in electrical engineering and English literature.

Zia's research focuses on the intersection of plasmonics and rare-earth emitters. Plasmonics is important because it studies the direct connection between electrical devices (those that use charge) and photonic devices (those that use light). The field "potentially offers the speed and bandwidth of optics at the nanosize scale of electronics," Zia said.

Zia is also looking at lanthanide ions, the rare-earth materials that have been used as light emitters in a range of technologies from fluorsescent lighting and color displays to lasers and fiber-optic amplifiers. "We're using (lanthanides) in a new way," Zia said of his Laboratory for Subwavelength Optics. "Most light is emitted by electrical dipole transitions. We're looking at magnetic dipole transitions."

Rod Clifton, acting dean of engineering, praised Zia's selection as a PECASE recipient. "We are very excited about
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Contact: Richard Lewis
Richard_Lewis@Brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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