JILA Fellow Cindy Regal has been selected as the 2020 recipient of Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s Cottrell Frontiers in Research Excellence and Discovery (FRED) Award. The $250,000 FRED Award recognizes and rewards innovative research that could transform an area of science.
Regal is a distinguished scientist whose pioneering work has been highly cited and recognized by the physics community. She won the RCSA’s Cottrell Scholar Award in 2014, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2012, and a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering in 2011. She was also named an American Physical Society Fellow in 2017.
Her work has focused on using mechanical vibrations in solids to explore quantum information and quantum optics. Regal’s research has also contributed to the development of atomic quantum bits, and devised ways to cool and detect motion of tangible objects at their quantum ground state.
“This is high-impact work that could accelerate basic science,” said RCSA Senior Program Director Silvia Ronco. “As a dedicated teacher and outstanding scientist, Cindy represents the best of our Cottrell Scholar community.”
Regal’s FRED Award project will investigate mechanical films suspended with an engineered lattice of tethers.
"We are going to study and harness some mechanical objects that look rather like a spider web or a snowflake, depending on your angle. And if we are successful in this approach, these suspensions will be sensitive enough to, for example, detect and image nuclear spins by picking up on miniscule forces,” Regal said. “We are very excited to pursue the science the Research Corporation will enable through this project.”
The project could lead to new design principles for precision mechanical sensors of force and acceleration, and may even enable 3D nanoscale imaging—which would advance our understanding of the quantum world.
“This funding is designed to enable a big leap in a project that will have a big impact,” said RCSA President & CEO Dan Linzer. “We’re delighted to honor such an accomplished scientist and excited to see what Cindy achieves.”
Regal will be honored with the FRED Award and will present a talk about her work at the 27th Annual Cottrell Scholars Conference in July 2021.