Three researchers receive $470,000 for equipment

April 07, 2005, vol. 32, no. 7

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Three SFU researchers recently received New Opportunities funding worth $470,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The funding helps SFU provide research infrastructure for new faculty members.

Bonnie Gray, who joined the school of engineering science in December 2003, received $200,000 to buy key pieces of equipment that will assist her research in microfluidic instrumentation, or methods of manipulating and analyzing small amounts of fluid on microchips. Gray's research has many potential applications such as investigating cells involved in plaque attachment (hardening of the arteries).

Jeffrey McGuirk, a PhD graduate from Stanford University who joined SFU in September 2004, received $150,000 toward his research into Bose-Einstein condensation. This is the atomic state that occurs when a group of atoms become extremely cold at a few billionths of a degree Celsius above absolute zero temperature. “In this state, the group of atoms exhibits properties that are vastly different from a normal gas,” explains McGuirk. Understanding this state, he says, could further the knowledge of quantum mechanics - how objects behave when they get very small and/or very cold. In turn, this could lead to new understandings of nanoelectronics, or the use of quantum mechanics in quantum computers.

Rodney Vaughan, who holds the Sierra Wireless research chair in wireless communications, came to SFU about two years ago from New Zealand. He is studying how to use multiple antenna systems to improve radio spectrum efficiency for cellular and other wireless communications. He'll use his $120,000 CFI funding to purchase equipment for developing smart antennas and new signal-processing systems.

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