APSC-based research to receive over $1.6 million in NSERC support

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Three research teams led by UBC Engineering faculty members will collectively receive more than $1.6 million over the next three years under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Strategic Partnership Grants program, the federal government announced today.

The teams — led by Curtis Berlinguette, Lukas Chrostowski and Vincent Wong — will use the funding support to pursue projects that “increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years.”

The projects, all of which involve industry partners, are expected to generate new knowledge and technology, increase the number of highly qualified personnel and enable the transfer of knowledge, technology and expertise to Canadian-based companies in areas like advanced manufacturing and information and communications technologies.

The projects are:

Electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into synthetic building blocks ($600,000)
Curtis Berlinguette - Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Chemical and Biological Engineering

Berlinguette and his team will discover nanomaterials that allow atmospheric carbon dioxide to be converted directly into economically valuable chemicals like syngas, drastically reducing the cost of existing carbon capture processes. The new materials will be used to develop a prototype CO2-conversion device that is not only durable and effective, but also low-cost, scalable and environmentally friendly.


An Integrated Quantum Key Distribution Transceiver using Silicon Photonic Circuits ($526,500)
Lukas Chrostowski - Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The research team will develop an optical chip that uses the principles of quantum mechanics to provide low-cost, high-performance, provably secure communications through fibre optic cables. In addition to bringing us one step closer to universal quantum computing, the research will facilitate the creation of improved commercial software simulation tools and fabrication methods for silicon photonic circuits. The team also includes Professors Jeff Young in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UBC, Sudip Shekhar in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC, Stephanie Simmons and Michael Thewalt in the Department of Physics at Simon Fraser University and Paul Barclay in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Calgary.


Technologies to Support Enhanced Mobile Broadband and Tactile Internet Applications in 5G Wireless Systems ($515,260)
Vincent Wong - Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The research team will build an innovative framework for a wireless mobile network architecture that helps pave the way for new and enhanced services and applications in emerging fifth-generation (5G) wireless systems. Flexible, scalable and robust, the framework is expected to lead to improved performance and reduced costs for 5G systems in Canada. In addition to Wong, the team includes Lutz Lampe and Victor Leung, both professors in the UBC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.