University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Annual Meeting 2015

The IMS Industrial Affiliates Program will hold our 2015 Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Representatives from member companies and invited guests are encouraged to attend. The meeting will begin at 9 AM. The agenda for this year includes:

  • Presentations by three new faculty members on their research interests,
  • A student poster session including both the Polymer Program and the Material Science Department,
  • Previews of two upcoming short courses – Introduction to Polymer Science & Additive Manufacturing and
  • Discussion of the new UConn/Thermo Fisher Scientific  microscopy center led by Mark Aindow.

There is no charge for attendance but registration is required by May 15th 2015. Register Online Now!


9:00am Welcome, Ed Kurz and Steve Suib

9:10am Michael Pettes “New Routes to Nanostructured Thermoelectrics”

Thermoelectric energy conversion holds the potential to augment current cooling and energy production technologies, offering improved reliability, smaller size, operational lifetime on the order of decades, and with no moving parts, however, the efficiency of thermoelectric devices is currently limited by low thermoelectric figures of merit, zT. Major developments within recent years have demonstrated enhanced thermoelectric zT in nanostructured materials by significantly reducing the thermal conductivity while maintaining favorable electronic properties. While this is remarkable, the motivation behind much of the previous work, namely whether zT can be increased by up to an order of magnitude through quantum confinement effects remains an open question. This talk will illustrate two approaches we are developing to synthesize nanomaterial systems which have the potential to greatly improve thermoelectric energy conversion efficiencies.

9:30am Kelly Burke “Silk Conjugates as Functional Biomaterial”

Silk fibroin is a naturally occurring biopolymer obtained by processing the cocoons of the domesticated silkworm Bombyx mori. Fibroin is a high molecular weight protein (~390 kDa) with charged hydrophilic terminal regions that endcap a core, which consists of hydrophobic domains containing the repeating amino acid sequence GAGAGS, where G is glycine, A is alanine, and S is serine. The repetitive sequences can be triggered to organize into beta sheets to physically crosslink the protein, rendering it insoluble in water. These beta sheets also confer impressive mechanical properties, including high toughness and strength. Further, the silk is biocompatible and biodegradable, the rate of which is tunable by processing techniques and can be programmed to be stable for much longer in vivo than other commonly studied protein biomaterials (e.g. collagens and elastins). Aqueous-based chemistries may be used to modify the silk with various functional groups, including primary amine and carboxylic acid. Our work focuses on synthetic modifications of silk to impart new properties to the materials for applications as adhesives, sensors, protein-based networks, and cell-contacting biomaterials. Taking inspiration from mussels that produce proteins rich in L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) to adhere to a variety of organic and inorganic surfaces, the adhesive work focuses on silk functionalization with catechol groups. Here, we discuss the synthesis and characterization of these new materials, which we envision to have applicability as biocompatible and biodegradable adhesives.

9:50am Seok-Woo Lee “Mechanical Metallurgy at Different Length Scales”

Mechanical metallurgy is certain to play an important role in the synthesis of advanced structural materials and their applications to future technologies, especially in aerospace, transportation and building construction. These developments are part of a decades-long trend to build useful and reliable engineering devices and structures. The mechanical metallurgy community has been focused on the development of advanced structural materials with both ultrahigh strength and enhanced ductility or sometimes with low density. Appropriate control of characteristic length scale in microstructure, sample dimension, or geometry can lead to these excellent mechanical properties with the emergence of unexpected deformation mechanisms in response to mechanical deformation. In this talk, we are going to introduce fabrication methods of advanced structural materials, and some of the effects that arise when they are plastically deformed. Also, a new in-situ nanomechanical testing device at UConn and its potential use will be will be discussed.

10:10am Break

10:35am Rajeshwari Kasi “Intro to Polymer Science” – Short Course Preview

10:40 Anson Ma “Additive Manufacturing at UConn”- Short Course Preview

10:45am Steven Suib “IP Policy Changes”

11:05am Jie He “Hairy Nanoparticles Where Polymer and Particle Meet”

Surfactants are organic amphiphilic molecules composed of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups. The self-assembly of surfactant molecules into various nano- or micro-structures is critical for many fields, e.g. pharmaceutical industries, petroleum and nanotechnologies. My talk will focus on our recent studies of a new type of colloidal surfactants, namely amphiphilic hairy nanoparticles (HNPs). HNPs composed of amphiphilic polymer tethers and nanoparticle cores share structural features in common with traditional polymer surfactants and nanoparticles. The uniqueness of these HNPs will be discussed with two examples, i) how to design highly crystalline mesoporous oxides using the thermal stability of the nanoparticle cores of HNPs; and ii) how to engineer the interfacial nanostructures of hybrids by playing the polymer tethers.

 11:25am Xiuling Lu “New Nanomaterial Platforms for Cancer Therapy”

Nanotechnology-based cancer therapy has exhibited clear benefits including reduced patient side effects, improved circulatory retention and greater tumor targeting efficiency. The rational design of nanomaterials plays a critical role since their structural and physical characteristics, such as size, charge, shape, and surface properties determine the biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, internalization and safety of the drugs. The talk will cover two types of nanomaterial platforms and illustrate the effect of material properties on the efficacy and safety of cancer treatment.

12:00pm Lunch

1:00pm Ed Kurz “IMS Industrial Affiliates Program”

1:15pm Mark Aindow “The UConn-FEI Center for Excellence in Microscopy”

2:00pm Poster Session

4:00pm IMS Tours