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June 2001

Release Date: June 29, 2001

Research Corp. Grant Benefits 5 ASU Students, Physics Research

A member of the Angelo State University physics faculty has received a $61,722 grant, including ASU matching funds, from the Research Corp. to conduct fundamental research on the optical properties of semiconductor materials.

Dr. Toni Sauncy, an assistant professor of physics at ASU, is the principal investigator on the grant, which includes funding for student fellowships to assist in the development of an optical spectroscopy facility to study materials at low temperatures and under high pressure.

The five physics majors receiving fellowships as part of the grant are sophomore Benjamin "Matt" Jackson, son of Yvonne and Benny Jackson of San Angelo; senior Kevin Smithson, son of Vicki and Teddy Smithson of Lamesa; senior Jeffrey Scott, son of Mary Beth and Dale Scott of San Angelo; and seniors Aaron and Darren Workman, sons of Brenda and David Workman of Winters.

The fellowships provide the opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in advanced scientific research and gain valuable experience applicable to graduate study or technical careers. The research is expected to provide basic insight into materials designed for applications in the semiconductor microelectronics industry, including "long-haul" fiberoptics telecommunications. The students will be studying light producing materials most commonly encountered in CD players, laser pointers and commercial UPC scanners.

The Research Corp. sponsors grant competitions to support significant research that aids in the development of undergraduate faculty and their students. The prime consideration in evaluating proposals is the potential of prospective research to add to fundamental scientific knowledge.

The two-year award to Dr. Sauncy was one of only 30 Cottrell College Science Awards made nationally during the recent funding cycle of the Research Corp. To be eligible for one of the competitive grants, the principal investigator must be a faculty member in an astronomy, chemistry or physics department at a non-Ph.D.-granting institution. Other factors considered in the awarding of the grants include the commitment of the institution to supporting faculty-sponsored research, student participation in the research and the contribution the research will make to the university's overall science and research program.

The Research Corp. supports research in physics, chemistry and astronomy at U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities. The foundation, established in 1912, annually makes over $5 million in grants to encourage beginning faculty members, original ideas and the involvement of students in scientific investigations.