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MSE-IMS Students Win at 2018 Electronic and Advanced Materials


Krishna (left) and Lukasz (right) posing in front of their EAM-2018 award winning posters.

The Electronic and Advanced Materials Conference (EAM) is geared towards engineers, technologists, researchers and students with an interest in science, engineering and the applications of electroceramic materials. Several MSE students and faculty attended this year’s EAM Conference held in Orlando, FL.

MSE Associate Professor and Director for Undergraduate Studies, Serge Nakhmanson, co-organized a symposium at this event entitled “Mesoscale Phenomena in Ceramic Materials.” Four UConn students including Tulsi Patel, Krishna Chaitanya Pitike, Lukasz Kuna and Hope Whitlock showcased their research.

In addition to the oral presentations, two UConn students claimed 2nd and 3rd place in the American Ceramics Society (ACerS) Electronics Division “Best Student Poster Presentation” awards. Lukasz Kuna received 3rd place for his poster entitled, “Mesoscale Simulations of the Influence of Elastic Strains on the Optical Properties of Semiconducting Core-Shell Nanowires.” Krishna Chaitayna Pitike won 2nd place for his poster, “Shape and Size Dependent Phase Transformations and Field-induced Behavior in Ferroelectric Nanoparticles.”  Read the full MSE story

Xingxu Lu Wins Graduate Student Speaker Contest

Xingxu Lu

Xingxu Lu at the console of the FEI/Thermo Fisher Scientific Teneo SEM in the Center for Advanced Microscopy and Materials Analysis. With this tool, particle size, morphology and chemistry can be studied at the sub-micrometer scale.

The student chapter of the Materials Research Society recently announced Xingxu Lu, a second-year graduate student in Professor Pu-Xian Gao’s research group, as the winner of the Graduate Student Speaker Contest. The award recognizes his presentation entitled “Microwave-assisted Hydrothermal Synthesis and Manufacturing of TiO2 Nano-array Integrated Catalytic Converters,” as judged by a panel of students.

In his talk, Xingxu reported a microwave-assisted hydrothermal method, which involves the synthesis and manufacturing of TiO2 nano-arrays rooted to honeycomb monoliths for high performance automotive catalytic converters with mechanical and hydrothermal stability. Xingxu claimed that his research approach opened a new door for low-temperature scalable synthesis and the manufacturing of TiO2 nano-array integrated catalytic reactors with decent production rates and increased material utilization efficiency. Ultimately, he believes that these nano-array integrated catalytic converters could function well as low-temperature automotive emission control devices.  Read the full MSE story

UConn MSE Featured Prominently at US-Japan Seminar


Conference Attendees at the 18th US-Japan Seminar

The US-Japan Seminar on Dielectric and Piezoelectric Ceramics has occurred once every two years for almost 4 decades, bringing together ~100 scientists and technologists from industry, academia and government laboratories. It is one of the premier venues for the exchange of scientific ideas on ceramic materials for electronics and serves to foster relationships between experts from Japan and the U.S. The 18th annual seminar was held last November in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was co-organized by MSE Department Head, Dr. Bryan Huey. A number of MSE faculty, graduate students and alumni participated in the invitation-only seminar and presented their work.

Notably, MSE faculty member Dr. George Rossetti’s leadership in the field was recognized with a plenary lecture in memoriam of Professor L. Eric Cross, one of the founders of the biennial meetings. Dr. Cross was an esteemed researcher in the field, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a founding member of the Materials Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University. He was also Professor Rossetti’s doctoral research advisor.  Read the full MSE story.

UConn Engineers Develop Ceramic/Metal 3D Printing Solution for Navy

Drs. S. Pamir Alpay (l) and Rainer Hebert (r)

Researchers Pamir Alpay (L) and Rainer Hebert hold a sample of 3D metal printing at UConn’s Innovation Partnership Building. [Image: Peter Morenus, UConn]

The US Navy is a big proponent of additive manufacturing technology, and its use of 3D printers on ships offers self-sustainability in remote areas, allowing sailors and officers to make and repair their own tools, parts, and components on board while out at sea, rather than having to go back in to port. It is disruptive and expensive, not to mention time-consuming, to bring a ship all the way ashore just to fix a small problem like a broken part, but a team of engineers from the University of Connecticut (UConn) has been hard at work developing a solution to this problem.

The UConn engineers have found a way for a Navy ship’s crew to determine the exact point of mechanical trouble on board the ship, which would negate them having to take the ship offline for maintenance. Instead, they could use 3D printing technology to fix, or replace, the bad part while out at sea, saving on both time and money.

Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Rainer Hebert, who is also the Director of the Pratt & Whitney Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center at UConn, is leading the research team. The engineers created a device which uses ceramics, on 3D printed metals, to find signals about potential problems and degradation on board, like overheating.  Read the full 3D Print story.

IMS Director Nationally Recognized for Inventions

Dr. Steven Suib with student

ltug Poyraz, left, a graduate student, with Steven Suib, distinguished professor and director of chemistry. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Institute of Materials Science, Steven L. Suib has some advice for early career faculty and student researchers who are interested in inventing. Given that Suib was recently named a fellow of the National Association of Inventors (NAI), it would probably be smart to grab a pencil.

“Ask a lot of questions, know the literature, don’t be afraid to move on from ideas that just aren’t working. But above all, keep an open mind and work with other people,” offered Suib.

Throughout his nearly 40-year research career, Suib has lived by these words. As a preeminent expert in solid state chemistry and the synthesis of novel materials with a strong environmental focus, his work has produced numerous discoveries with a variety of applications in several industry sectors.

Designated a “Chemical Pioneer” by the American Institute of Chemists in 2005, Suib holds more than 31 U.S. patents and has disclosed well over 100 inventions, the most of any UConn faculty member. He joins three other colleagues who have previously been named NAI Fellows – Dr. Pramod Srivastava, Dr. Cato Laurencin, and Dr. Lakshmi Nair all from UConn Health. Suib is UConn’s first NAI Fellow from the Storrs or regional campuses.  Read the full UConn Today story.

Dr. Challa V. Kumar Honored by Chemical Research Society of India

Dr. Challa V. KumarThe Council of the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) has selected Dr. Challa V. Kumar (IMS/CHEM) for its Honorary Fellowship/CRSI Medal 2018. The medal is conferred on Chemists of Indian origin working outside India who have contributed extensively to the promotion of Chemical Research. The Chemical Research Society of India was established in 1999 with a mission to “recognize, promote and foster talent in chemistry and chemical sciences and to improve the quality of chemical education at all levels.”

Dr. Kumar’s research focuses on creating a new field of chemistry, Biological Materials, using standard chemical reactions to modify proteins to create novel and exciting materials. He joins an international list of exceptional researchers from institutions that include the University of Cambridge, Louis Pasteur University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and MIT.

Through his research, Dr. Kumar has brought significant attention to UConn and the Chemistry Department, having been awarded an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Research Excellence Award in 2015 and a Fulbright Scholarship in 2014. His research is widely and consistently published and he has been granted numerous research funding grants.

As part of the honor, Dr. Kumar has been invited to present his research at the 22nd National Symposium in Chemistry (CRSI-NSC-22) and 12th CRSI-RSC Symposium at the Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University in Raipur, India in February 2018.

Ames Laboratory, UConn Discover Superconductor with Bounce

A single crystal of CaFe2As2 (scale bar 1 mm). Right: a micropillar of CaFe2As2, used to test its elasticity (scale bar 1 μm)

A single crystal of CaFe2As2 (scale bar 1 mm). Right: a micropillar of CaFe2As2, used to test its elasticity (scale bar 1 μm)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory has discovered extreme “bounce,” or super-elastic shape-memory properties in a material that could be applied for use as an actuator in the harshest of conditions, such as outer space, and might be the first in a whole new class of shape memory materials.

Shape-memory materials “remember” their original shape and return to it after they are deformed. They are commonly metallic alloys that make possible “unbreakable” eyeglass frames and quieter jet engines.

But the material in this research, CaFe2As2, is not a metallic alloy but an intermetallic more well-known for its novel superconducting properties. It has been so extensively studied that the team of researchers, from Ames Laboratory and the University of Connecticut, also made note of its high degree of pressure and strain sensitivity, and wondered about its possibilities as a structural material.

The researchers created micropillars of the material through single crystal growth followed by focused ion beam milling, and then subjected them to mechanical compression testing. They found a recoverable strain that can exceed 13 percent.

Read the full story from Ames Laboratory

UConn MSE Seniors Attend World Maker Faire For NASA Capstone Project

MSE Students at Maker Faire 2017

Francis Almonte, Zane Grady, Andrew Nguyen, Adam Wentworth, and Jason Santivanez (senior MSEs) attended maker faire to showcase last year’s NASA sponsored capstone project and introduce the extension of the project to the public.

UConn MSE students presented their projects related to additive manufacturing at the World Maker Faire in NY Hall of Science Queens, NY for the third consecutive year. The projects were part of a showcase called In Space 3D Printing and Recycling.

All MSE seniors took part in this exciting event, which involved students displaying a capstone project sponsored by NASA. This year’s showcase involved students displaying a capstone project previously sponsored by NASA. The project focuses on the recyclability of specific thermoplastics and will continue this academic year under new sponsorship from Tethers Unlimited Inc. (TUI). TUI is fabricating a new 3D printer and recycler that will eventually find its home on the International Space Station to begin testing in 2018.

UConn was among seven of the university teams chosen by NASA to “design systems, concepts, and technologies that will help improve NASA’s exploration capabilities”. This is all part of NASA’s sixth eXploration Systems Habituation Academic Innovation Challenge, which includes ideas to progress 3D printing abilities, develop plant growth systems, better spacecraft environmental recycling programs and create conceptual habitat designs.

Read the full MSE story

2017 IMS Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Matthew Tirrell

Dr. Matthew Tirrell, University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory

“Polyelectrolytes in Multivalent Ionic Media: New Physics and New Materials”

Multi-valent interactions in systems of polyelectrolytes can exhibit dramatic, non-monotonic effects, for example, switching forces from repulsive to attractive, and back to repulsive again, in some cases. We have been studying these patterns of behavior with the surface forces apparatus (SFA) and with electrochemical methods, such as cyclic voltametry, which enables the quantitative determination of the number of multi-valent ions residing in thin layers of charged polymers. At fixed ionic strength, all cause strong shrinkage and condensation of poly(styrene sulfonate) brushes over a narrow range of ratio multi-valent to mono-valent ions. When the multi-valent ion is an oppositely charged polymer, new fluid phases can form. Charged blocks in copolymers leads to materials with new types of ordered phases. Effects of these multi-valent interactions on supermolecular and biomolecular assembly will be discussed. There are many possibilities for the creation of new materials based on electrostatic assembly involving multi-valent interactions.

About our Guest Lecturer
Matthew Tirrell is the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, and Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Chief Research Officer at the Argonne National Laboratory. Immediately prior to joining the University of Chicago in 2011, he was the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and Chair of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, with additional appointments in chemical engineering and materials science & engineering, and as a Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Tirrell received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1977 in Polymer Science from the University of Massachusetts. From 1977 to 1999, he was on the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he served as department head from 1995 to 1999. Professor Tirrell completed ten years as Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara on June 30, 2009. He has co-authored about 350 papers and one book and has supervised about 80 Ph.D. students. Professor Tirrell is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Indian National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of: the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the AAAS, and the APS. Professor Tirrell has extensive consulting and scientific advisory board experience in both the materials science and biotech/biomedical sectors.

Please join us on Monday, November 6, 2017, 4:00 p.m., IMS Room 20

UConn Launches Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

Founding Members of UConn Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

Founding Members of UConn Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

The University of Connecticut hosted the inaugural gathering for Connecticut’s first chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) at the Lyceum in Hartford on Sept. 29.

The UConn NAI chapter was established as a result of the efforts and prodigious invention history of three distinguished researchers at UConn who are NAI Fellows. To receive this distinction from NAI, a researcher must be named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and must be affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute, or other academic entity.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, president of the UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors became the first UConn NAI Fellow in 2013. Laurencin is well known for his pioneering work in the field of regenerative engineering and is an elected member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the Connecticut Medal of Technology. In 2015, Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, who is recognized globally for his groundbreaking discoveries in cancer immunotherapy, was named an NAI Fellow. Dr. Lakshmi Nair was inducted in 2016. Her work in regenerative biomaterials to enhance tissue repair and regeneration has resulted in many novel and valuable discoveries. Read the full story from Innovation Partnership