The goal of the research is to produce devices that are so low in cost and easy to use that they transform aspects of the way doctors care for patients, local agencies monitor air quality, governments guard against attack and scientists understand the evolution of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Core partner institutions with Princeton are the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Rice University, Johns Hopkins University, Texas A&M University and the City College of New York. Funding for the center, which is expected to include industrial support in addition to the NSF funding, could exceed $40 million over 10 years. NSF funding started May 1 with $2.97 million for the first year.
The center dubbed MIRTHE, for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment will combine the work of about 40 faculty members, 30 graduate students and 30 undergraduates from the six universities. The center also is collaborating with dozens of industrial partners to turn the technology into commercial products, and is working with several educational outreach partners, which will use MIRTHE's research as a vehicle for improving science and engineering education.
The work of the center will span from fundamental science to applied technology. At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for example, Professor Terence Risby and colleagues are developing devices that allow doctors to diagnose and monitor kidney and liver disorders by measuring chemicals in a patient's breath. Other MIRTHE participants will explore sensors that monitor air quality or detect chemical weapons.