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Universities Space Research Association’s scientist receives presidential award

Dr. Jin-Woo Han of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). He was presented the award by Charles Bolden, Administrator NASA, Congressman Mike Honda, and NASA's Ames Research Center Director Dr. Eugene Tu.

The PECASE award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. The White House, following recommendations from participating agencies, confers the awards annually. Dr. Jin-Woo Han will be travelling to the White House on May 4, 2016 to be recognized for his contributions.

Dr. Jeffrey Isaacson, President and CEO of USRA said, "We are proud of the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers--work that is not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the Nation."

Exploring novel ways to determine how vacuum electronics behave at the nanometer scale, Jin-Woo's research is a first-of-its kind. Research to date reveals that though the concept is not new, implementing the concept at the nanometer scale is indeed novel. This effort advances the state-of-the-art and offers several advantages. "Vacuum-channel transistors hold the promise of being able to operate at frequencies above microwaves and below infrared—a region of the spectrum sometimes known as the terahertz gap because of the difficulty that most semiconductor devices have operating at those frequencies," says Jin-Woo. Promising applications for terahertz equipment include directional high-speed communications and hazardous-materials sensing. Working in the nanometer scale allows lower power consumption and leads to products that are more robust against radiation and high temperature, which makes them ideal for extending the lifetime of space electronics.

According to Dr. David Bell, Director of the USRA Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science, "The PECASE award is great recognition of Jin-Woo's pioneering research, innovativeness, dedication and technical leadership; and I applaud his accomplishments in advancing our mission and the nation's goals."

Jin-Woo's other awards include the 2015 IEEE Nanotechnology Council Early Career Award in Nanotechnology which he will formally receive in August of 2016, and the Mike Sargeant Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology awarded to a young professional "who is judged to have made the most significant achievement in their career for three years or more."

Jin-Woo received his doctorate degree at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and conducts his research at the campus of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

He and his fellow PECASE winners will be honored at a White House Ceremony on May 4, 2016. All of this year's winners are listed online.

Jin-Woo Han receives PECASE award

Left to right: NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden; Jin-Woo Han; Congressman Mike Honda; NASA's Ames Research Center Director, Eugene Tu.

About USRA

Universities Space Research Association is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other government sponsors.