UConn Chemist Wins Patent for Tunable Metal Oxide Synthesis Method

University of Connecticut chemistry professor, and Director of the Institute of Materials Science, Steven Suib has been granted a US patent (9,908,103) for a new method developed with his former student Altug S. Poyraz, now an inorganic chemistry professor at Kennesaw State University. The technology is capable of synthesizing and customizing a type of compound that has unique catalytic and electronic properties.

Dr. Steven Suib with Dr. Altug Poyraz
Altug Poyraz, left, with Steven Suib, distinguished professor of chemistry. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Suib and Poyraz have patented their process for synthesizing thermally stable mesoporous transitional metal oxides. Their process also allows them to control the size of the mesopores and nano-sized crystalline walls.

Mesoporous materials have many advantages when it comes to developing materials for practical applications. They have narrow pores with a high surface area, biocompatibility, and low toxicity for use in human medical practices. They can be used for drug delivery systems, as catalysts for chemical reactions, electrodes in electrochemical energy storage for batteries, and supercapacitors, diagnostics, absorbing pollutants from water or storing gases and chromatography.  Read the full story from UConn Today

UConn Celebrates Opening of Innovative New Engineering & Science Building

The University of Connecticut recently celebrated the opening of its new Engineering & Science Building, a state-of-the-art facility whose carefully planned design and modern labs will help the University and its researchers drive new innovations in a range of scientific disciplines. The building was completed this spring and now houses programs in engineering and life sciences, including the Institute for Systems Genomics.

Engineering & Science Building
The new Engineering and Science Building. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

It represents yet another milestone in the Next Generation Connecticut initiative, which funded the $95 million project cost as part of the state’s larger plan to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) at UConn as a pathway to economic growth in the state.

“This building is the culmination of significant investment by the state of Connecticut in the field of STEM, and in the future of engineering,” said Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the UConn School of Engineering. “Nearly 40 percent of our state’s economy is generated by engineering-related industries, and with our 70 percent increase in engineering enrollment, and significant investment in resources, UConn is providing research, talent, and technology that will pay dividends for decades to come.” Read the full story from UConn Today

Dr. Harold Brody Honored by Advanced Casting Research Center

Dr. Harold Brody receives Merton C. Flemings Award
Merton C. Flemings Award presented to Professor Harold D. Brody (left) by Professor Merton C. Flemings of MIT (center), with Professor Diran Apelian of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and founding Director of ACRC (right)
The Advanced Casting Research Center of Worcester Polytechnic Institute has bestowed its Merton C. Flemings Award upon Dr. Harold Brody (IMS/MSE). The award is given biennially to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the understanding of solidification processing fundamentals, which have been applied commercially in the foundry industry.Dr. Brody, a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering has focused his research on understanding casting and solidifications processes, on applying computer-aided analysis and design to materials processing with emphasis on casting, and on innovating in engineering education. At MIT, as a student, as a member of the research staff, and as a visiting professor, Dr. Brody collaborated with Professor Merton Flemings and his colleagues and students to provide models for solute redistribution during dendritic solidification of casting and welds, for application of directional solidification to high temperature superconductors, and for undercooled alloys.

The ACRC is an academic-industry partnership headquartered on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. The center focuses on assisting industry partners with technical issues, specifically in the areas of light metals, non-ferrous alloys, and semi-solid processing.

IMS Members Receive NSF GOALI Grant

Drs. CBCarter_ADongare_ADobley, Yardney Division of EaglePicher
(left to right) Drs. C. Barry Carter (UConn), Avinash Dongare (UConn), and Arthur Dobley (Yardney Division of EaglePicher)

Drs. C Barry Carter (PI) and Avinash Dongare (co-PI) have been awarded an NSF GOALI grant for their collaboration with the Yardney Division of EaglePicher and co-PI Dr. Arthur Dobley. The project, Mechanisms of Lithiation and Delithiation Reactions in Layered Materials Combining Transmission Electron Microscopy and Atomic Scale Modeling, focuses on understanding how batteries work at the atomic level.

The NSF GOALI grant seeks to stimulate collaboration between academic research institutions and industry. Special interest is focused on affording opportunities for interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct collaborative research projects, in which the industry research participant provides critical research expertise, without which the likelihood for success of the project would be diminished; faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting; and industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry’s perspective and integrative skills to academe.

“By working with engineers and chemists at the Yardney Division of EaglePicher, undergraduate and graduate students gain a broad practical understanding of batteries, while also developing the expertise and skills necessary to improve these batteries. In doing so, students need a combined understanding of ceramics, materials science, physics, chemistry and electrochemistry.” the researchers explain.

The project combines in situ experimentation in the transmission electron microscope with atomic scale modeling methods to improve our understanding of how lithium and sodium move into and out from layered materials (i.e. intercalation).

The grant of $440,402 will cover the period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. For more information on the GOALI grant follow this link.

Professors, Professionals and Students Mingle and Celebrate at MSE Banquet

Students, alumni and faculty of the University of Connecticut Department of Materials Science and Engineering celebrated their, and their peers’ accomplishments at the annual MSE banquet, held at the Alumni Center at the end of the Spring semester.

The event featured speeches, awards and connections between students and their instructors, as well as graduated professionals working within the field of materials sciences. Over two dozen graduate students also joined in, bringing the attendance total to 100. Read the full story from MSE

MSE Banquet 2018



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.