Menka Jain Receives NSF EAGER Funding

Menka Jain
Dr. Menka Jain

NSF EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) provide funding for work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.  The work of EAGER grantees is usually considered high-risk, high-reward as it involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.

Associate Professsor of Physics and IMS faculty member, Menka Jain, has been award NSF EAGER funding for her research entitled CRYO: New Quantum Elastocaloric Demagnetization Refrigeration for the Millikelvin Range, which seeks to develop new technology in refrigeration.

Jain explains that, due to the increasing scarcity of helium and lack of portability or scalability of  current technologies, there is a growing demand to develop alternative refrigeration technology that can cool below 1 Kelvin for supporting emerging applications, such as quantum sensors and quantum computers.  The overarching goal of her research is to realize a solid-state millikelvin Quantum Elastocaloric Adiabatic Refrigeration technology in which a cooling cycle will be achieved via periodic application of elastic strain/stress, without or with small a magnetic field.

“Such an approach has the potential to materialize into a groundbreaking discovery for on-chip scalable cooling applications,” Jain explains.

Jain’s research will train a diverse group of students in thermal, material and quantum sciences. This training will be provided through the development of a new curriculum focusing on low temperature cooling in an advanced undergraduate teaching laboratory, in research projects through the McNair program for underrepresented undergraduate students, and through graduate-level research projects.

The research project is jointly supported by the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems and the Division of Materials Research.