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Letter from the Dean

Building on deep traditions

Welcome to Resolve, a magazine devoted to research and educational innovation in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh.

Lehigh recently completed a comprehensive strategic plan that identified three areas of emphasis: the expanding needs of health care in the U.S. and abroad; the interrelated issues of energy, the environment and modern infrastructure; and the impact of globalization. Many institutions have embraced these grand challenges, so it is fitting to ask what is different about Lehigh’s positioning.

Lehigh’s multidisciplinary culture dates to 1865, when the university was founded with the intent of combining the scientific and classical aspects of knowledge. Lehigh also has a long tradition of bridging theory and practice. Our engineers have enriched this heritage through leadership in industry and in entrepreneurial enterprises. These traditions allow Lehigh to approach the grand challenges from a special vantage point.

For example, our emerging biotechnology initiative addresses the technology framework that is essential for researchers to develop better diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. The initiative leverages Lehigh’s distinctive capabilities in systems engineering, photonics, bioelectronics and materials science and its partnerships with world-class medical facilities. Its goal is to promote research competence in the domain of affordable medicine.

Lehigh is also well-positioned to meet the challenges of energy and the environment, particularly as they relate to national infrastructure. Our researchers are seeking more efficient, clean, sustainable energy sources while addressing the problems of energy supply, delivery, consumption and environmental impact. Our successful economic development partnerships with government, industry and start-up companies are vital in making a sustained impact in this area.

The success of any research endeavor depends on the quality of the tools that researchers have at their disposal. We are aggressively enhancing our capabilities and infrastructure in high-performance computing and nanotechnology, which play a critical role in all aspects of science and engineering research.

The three emphases of Lehigh’s strategic vision – health care, energy and the environment, and globalization – will draw significantly from the clusters of research expertise within Lehigh engineering:

Bio: Bio, Environmental and Molecular Engineering
Nano: Nanotechnology and Applications
Systems: Complex Engineering and Information Systems

This issue of Resolve highlights the activities of Lehigh researchers involved in nanotechnology-related endeavors. These investigators collaborate in three complementary research centers that represent a comprehensive set of capabilities in nanocharacterization, nanosynthesis and nanofabrication, or, put simply, in seeing, manipulating and making materials and devices at the nanoscale.

The Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is recognized as one of the premier surface science and nanocharacterization facilities in the world, on par with national labs and top-tier research centers. The Center for Optical Technologies develops new materials whose properties have enormous impact on applications ranging from illumination to biomedical imaging devices to environmental sensors. The Sherman Fairchild Center has broadened our understanding of the molecular science behind the transport of electrons, which forms the basis of computing and communications systems. Together with Lehigh’s expertise in surface science, particle physics and thin-film technologies, these three centers make up a nano research portfolio that is incredibly rich and capable of supporting a wide range of applications.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Resolve. Please drop me a note to share your thoughts and comments.

S. David Wu, Dean and Iacocca Professor
P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science

“Lehigh’s multidisciplinary culture and its tradition of bridging theory and practice can help society overcome pressing challenges.”
—S. David Wu