Xu Yi, University of Virginia assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has earned a Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to conduct groundbreaking research in photonics.

Yi is among 36 scientists and engineers awarded grants in this year’s highly competitive solicitation that garnered more than 215 proposals.

Yi will receive a $450,000 three-year grant to invest in a new type of microresonator soliton frequency comb that can exist in a normal dispersion medium. This will help generate integrated microcombs at deep visible wavelengths for applications of interest to the U.S. Air Force including optical clocks, timing and precision spectroscopy.

Yi leads a research group in the exploration of novel physics and applications of optical microresonators for nonlinear optics, classical and quantum frequency combs and their related applications. Group members’ interdisciplinary research spans theory and simulation of nonlinear optics to the design, fabrication and characterization of photonic devices.