Public Release: 

CMU's Jonathan Malen works to improve critical technologies for transportation systems

US Air Force supports his research with Young Investigator Award

Carnegie Mellon University

PITTSBURGH--Jonathan Malen's work could lead to the creation of more precise thermal management devices critical to the cooling of sensitive electronic components in aircraft and other transportation systems. The work by the Carnegie Mellon University professor of mechanical engineering, funded with a new three-year, $360,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force, also may improve technologies related to energy conversion, thermal management and high-resolution imaging.

"I am elated to receive this award which will help me to continue my basic research into how the vibrational properties of small organic molecules can redefine thermal management and strategies," Malen said.

Malen proposes that like optics filtering colors of light, thin layers of small molecules sandwiched between solids may filter vibrations that carry heat across the interface. This may enable users to control the spectrum of vibrations in matter allowing more precise thermal management devices like those so critical in cooling sensitive electronic components in aircraft and other transportation systems.

Through the Air Force's Young Investigator Program, engineers nationwide are recognized for their exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. Malen and 42 other researchers received research grants that totaled more than $16 million from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. More than 200 investigators applied for the research grants.

"This is a wonderful honor for such an innovative and hardworking researcher. We are extremely proud of his accomplishments so far and are certain that this award will lead to many additional breakthroughs in the future," said Nadine Aubry, head of Carnegie Mellon's Mechanical Engineering Department.

Before joining Carnegie Mellon in 2009, Malen was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2000, and a master's degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon ( is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 11,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign, titled "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.

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