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NC State engineer to attend 2012 NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

A North Carolina State University engineering professor will be one of about 100 top engineers attending the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2012 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (US FOE) in September.

Dr. Michael Escuti, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, was invited by the NAE to attend the Sept. 13-15 event in Warren, Mich. The NAE invites engineers who have made pioneering technical and research contributions, though it also looks for leadership qualities and an interest in how developments in other areas relate to the engineers’ own fields.

NAE hosts the conference to help spur US innovation. Attendees range from 30 to 45 years old and hail from industry, universities, and government laboratories.

Escuti has earned international attention for his pioneering development of liquid crystal “polarization gratings,” which consist of a thin layer of liquid crystal on a glass plate. While these look similar on the outside to the LCDs in smart phones and big-screen TVs, the hologram inside enables ultra-efficient handling of light.

One result of his work is a precise, energy-efficient way of steering laser beams that has applications in the defense and communications industries. His research has also been used to develop the world’s most power-efficient portable projector, as well as compact, low-cost cameras that create ultra-high-resolution images for aerial vehicles, satellites, and biomedical imaging equipment.

Last year, Escuti was honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the US government’s top honor for young professionals in science and engineering. He has also received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and NC State’s Alcoa Foundation Engineering Research Achievement Award.