Reeja Jayan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been awarded a Young Investigator Research Program grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Jayan will receive a three-year, $360,000 grant for studying electromagnetic fields in materials synthesis. 

Jayan leads a multidisciplinary lab, JLab, which is focused on molecular scale engineering of everyday materials like plastics and glass. Jayan and her colleagues uncover new behaviors and properties of materials that could lead to development in areas like energy and sensing. 

“We give existing materials another look with new tools, along with discovering new materials. It’s sort of our lab’s motto—give all materials a second look,” Jayan explains.

With a focus on ceramic materials, Jayan will use low temperatures with electromagnetic fields instead of high temperatures to grow and crystallize ceramics, a process that could help the Air Force develop new technologies in science and engineering.

The Young Investigator Research Program is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who have received a doctorate or equivalent degrees in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

Jayan, who has a courtesy appointment in MSE, is also a 2016-2017 Wimmer Faculty Fellow at Carnegie Mellon. As a fellow, she is developing online games to engage students and impart practical training that is not always possible in a classroom.