Tony Grbic Receives AFOSR Young Investigator Award

This three-year grant will support research that is expected to open new opportunities in antenna design and microwave/millimeter-wave device development.
Anthony Grbic Enlarge
Anthony Grbic

Assistant professor Tony Grbic received a Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). This three-year grant will support research that is expected to open new opportunities in antenna design and microwave/millimeter-wave device development.

In this work, new devices will be developed that can manipulate and focus radio waves in unprecedented ways. They are unique in the sense that they can focus waves in the near-field (a region relatively close to a source) as opposed to conventional lenses which focus waves in the far-field (distances many wave lengths from their source). These devices, referred to as near-field focusing plates, are patterned surfaces that resemble metallic gratings. They will find use in a broad range of areas including non-radiative wireless power transfer systems, low-profile antenna designs, beam-shaping devices and microscropy. These surfaces may appreciably increase the efficiency and distance over which power can be transferred wirelessly to a mobile device such as a laptop, removing the need for a power cord connection within an indoor environment. At light frequencies, a near-field plate’s ability to confine waves to extremely small dimensions may dramatically improve the resolution of near-field microscopes, allowing us to further tap into the subwavelength features of tiny objects.

Tony Grbic is currently collaborating with Prof. Roberto Merlin in Physics and Prof. Steve Forrest in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to develop these near-field plates at both microwave and optical frequencies. Together with Roberto Merlin and graduate student Lei Jiang, a working prototype of a near-field focusing plate at microwave frequencies was recently fabricated and shown to work as theoretically predicted. These new surfaces offer an entirely new perspective on electromagnetic field manipulation and control.

Tony Grbic is a member of the Radiation Laboratory in the division of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He conducts research in applied electromagnetics. Areas of particular interest to his research group include antennas and radiating systems, microwave circuits and engineered electromagnetic structures (metamaterials, electromagnetic bandgap materials, frequency selective surfaces).


The AFOSR announced their new Young Investigator Program in 2006. It is open to scientists and engineers who have received their PhD or equivalent within the past five years. Grant recipients must show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

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