AFIT faculty member earns 2022 SASE Professional Achievement Award

  • Published
  • By Air Force Institute of Technology Public Affairs
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Hengky Chandrahalim, an assistant professor of electrical engineering within the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management, was named the 2022 winner in the Professional Achievement Category for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers.

The SASE Professional Achievement Award is given to a highly experienced, midcareer professional who has made significant discoveries, important advances and is acknowledged as a leader of large initiatives. The award was presented at the SASE National Convention, which took place Oct. 6-8 in Atlanta.

Chandrahalim’s research in microsystems engineering and nanotechnology has produced revolutionary techniques in microfabrication with the potential to address key Air Force needs and solve large-scale societal issues related to health, environment and communication. He pioneered the development of a two-photon nanofabrication technique to create 3D functional microsystems on virtually any substrate.

This technique has enabled the realization of 3D free-form geometries that have nanometer-level precision. The technology has created breakthrough solutions for multipurpose sensing in spatially constrained applications, such as drones, fighter aircraft, microsatellites and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The originality and creativity in this line of research has resulted in seven patents and two others pending within the last 18 months. The results have been disseminated in 10 articles over the last three years and were presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers RAPID 2021 Conference.

In addition, Chandrahalim led a research team in exploiting the unique properties of quantum dots to enable nondestructive testing of materials. Applications that can make use of this technology are non-contact testing of aircraft, ground vehicles and ships. Its most near-term use is a new strain gauge for quality control, 3D printing, and in buildings and structures.

This nondestructive, non-contact technology also has the potential to compete against another optical 2D strain-sensing process called digital-imaging correlation. At about 8% of the DIC system cost, this could save the Air Force about $32 million when buying a single system for up to 386 squadrons.

On top of his research, Chandrahalim has trained graduate student officers from different academic departments in studying novel nanoelectronic-based paints to economically and accurately identify strain on aircraft parts. The team was selected as a finalist in Air Force Materiel Command’s 2020 Spark Tank competition.

This nanoelectronic technology enables the Air Force to quickly identify surface defects on aircraft through an easy-to-read map. The work attracted the attention of the Air Force vice chief of staff, who encouraged the team to submit a follow-on research proposal in July 2021.

The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing Asian Americans in science, technology, engineering and math to achieve their full career potential.