materials science and engineering

MSE Welcomes Administrative Assistant Sarah Moore

Sarah Moore
Sarah Moore

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering extends a warm welcome to new staff member Sarah Moore, who takes over as the administrative program support for MSE.

Sarah joins the department with a strong background in administrative and customer services to local businesses and international companies.

She is married to John David Moore, a supervisor at G. Donovan Associates and is mother to a teenage son and daughter. If she is not at work, she likes to spend time with family and friends. She enjoys spending time at the pool or beach, walking her dogs, and camping.

Professor Avinash Dongare Discusses Developments as part of ‘CREDDS’ and the UTC Professorship

Dr. Avinash Dongare
Dr. Avinash Dongare

Professor Avinash Dongare joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at the University of Connecticut in 2012, almost a decade ago. Over these years, he has transitioned from an Assistant to an Associate Professor, been appointed to prestigious positions, expanded his research group, and collaborated with various institutions and organizations. Dongare has witnessed many changes in this past decade as part of the growth of the MSE Department. “MSE was a program in a joint department when I joined in 2012. Within a few months, the MSE department formed and has been accelerating ever since. Unfortunately, so did my receding hairline,” reflects Avinash.

Notably, the department has grown in the number of faculty, adding to the research diversity in materials at UConn. Dongare mentions that the MSE Department is “a young and dynamic department that provides creative and novel research platforms to many researchers, students and collaborators across the country. This growth reflects the excellent leadership and guidance of Professor Pamir Alpay, previous Department Head; Professor Bryan Huey, the current Department Head; Professor Steven Suib, the Director of the Institute of Materials Science; and Dean Kazem Kazerounian of the School of Engineering. Of course, the contributions of the staff and the students of the department form the foundations of the success.”

Over the years, Dongare’s innovative research has received recognition nationwide. He has expanded his research portfolio, increased the number of members of this research team, and taken new leadership roles. After receiving his tenure and being promoted to Associate Professor in 2018, Dongare’s recent success story includes the Center for Research Excellence on Dynamically Deformed Solids (CREDDS) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA). CREDDS is one of four new Centers of Excellence at universities across the nation and received 12.5 million dollars over five years. Dongare serves as one of the four principal investigators as UConn partners with Texas A & M University (lead), University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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MSE PhD Student Reflects on Industry Internship Across the World

Kondo-Suzuki-Moran
(Left to right) Hiroyuki Kondo, Keigo Suzuki, and Thomas Moran. Kondo worked with Moran on the vacuum AFM system while Suzuki was Moran’s host

During his graduate research, Materials Science and Engineering PhD student Thomas Moran stepped out of his comfort zone and into the eastern hemisphere when he decided to pursue professional industry experience in Japan. With the help of his advisor, Department Head Bryan Huey, Moran was able to join the Japanese electronics manufacturer Murata as a Research and Development Intern.

Moran received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Union College in 2016. He realized his interest in materials science during this time. “I got involved in undergraduate research that dealt with materials, and by the time the research was ramping up, I took a Junior-level materials science course and from there I was hooked,” he says. He ended up pursuing a self-designed interdisciplinary minor which enabled him to focus his research on solar cell materials using atomic force microscopy (AFM).

Moran enjoyed his studies related to materials science so much that he decided graduate school was the next step. “I was pretty sure I wanted to pursue MSE, but while I had some research experience, I didn’t have a whole lot of coursework past the basics,” Moran says.

In 2016, he chose to officially continue his education at UConn. “I liked the industry connections, and the focus I saw being put on the MSE program,” he says. “I met Bryan on my accepted students’ visit, and with the combination of shared research interests and my experience with AFM as an undergrad, joining his group was a natural next step,” Moran said.

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UConn, Army Research Lab Collaborate on New Portable, Renewable Energy Technology

scanning electron microscope image of the nanostructured Iridium oxide
A scanning electron microscope image of the nanostructured Iridium oxide, colored to represent the catalytic combustion studied by UConn and the Army researchers. (Courtesy of the Army Research Lab)

UConn’s Associate Dean for Research and Industrial Partnerships, S. Pamir Alpay, and Yomery Espinal ’18 Ph.D. (ENGR) have published a paper on a novel portable pyroelectric technology in Cell Reports Physical Science with support from the Army Research Laboratory.

Pyroelectric energy research is focused on how to generate energy from heat that would otherwise be wasted in a catalytic chemical reaction.

When pyroelectric materials are heated, their polarization changes, leading to an electron flow that generates energy. These materials are commonly used in household devices like motion sensor lights, which detect body heat to determine when someone is near.

nytime there is a catalytic reaction, heat is generated. These devices harness that heat and use it as energy. For example, a combustion engine in a car produces heat that, with this kind of technology, could be used to power the electrical functions of the car that otherwise rely on battery power.

The Army Research Lab (ARL) is particularly interested in this technology because it can provide more power with less weight, which is important for soldiers carrying heavy bags.

While scientists have been experimenting with pyroelectric power for decades, the technology proposed in this paper is completely novel.

“Something like that doesn’t exist,” Alpay says. “It would give you the opportunity to recover some things that just go to waste.”

Read the full UConn Today Story

Dr. S. Pamir Alpay Named UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

Dr. S. Pamir Alpay
Dr. S. Pamir Alpay

Dr. S. Pamir Alpay, IMS faculty member and Associate Dean for Research and Industrial Partnerships, has been named a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor.

The award recognizes faculty who have achieved exceptional distinction in scholarship, teaching, and service while at the University of Connecticut and has been awarded annually since 1998.

In addition to being associate dean, Alpay is the General Electric Professor in Advanced Manufacturing in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Executive Director of UConn Tech Park, where he serves as UConn’s chief ambassador to industry and government agencies in building industry-responsive and economically important initiatives based on UConn’s strengths in applied research. In this role, he has excelled in outreach, having hosted workshops and symposia connecting over 500 professionals and government leaders on current topics ranging from sustainability, cybersecurity, energy, advanced manufacturing and support for small/medium size businesses. Read the full School of Engineering Story.

MSE Students Recognized at EMA 2020

Ayana Ghosh and Lucas Enright
Ayana Ghosh (right) and Lucas Enright (left) with Lucas’ speaking award (made out of Corning glass, as Corning Inc. is the award sponsor) against the background of Ayana’s poster.

Two MSE students, Ayana Ghosh and Lucas Enright, won awards at the 11th annual Electronic Materials and Applications (EMA) Conference. The conference was organized by Electronics and Basic Science Divisions of the American Ceramic Society and was held in Orlando, FL at the end of January 2020. Ghosh, a graduate student, was awarded Best Poster for her research on organic ferroelectrics, and Enright, a senior, was recognized as the Best Student Speaker for his talk in the session devoted to 5G telecommunications.

Both Ghosh and Enright attended the conference as part of a larger group of UConn MSE students, and were accompanied by MSE faculty including Associate Professor Serge M. Nakhmanson (Ghosh’s Ph.D. advisor) and MSE Department Head Bryan Huey.

Ghosh’s winning poster was dedicated to designing novel organic ferroelectrics. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms governing the emergence of ferroelectricity in these materials. She uses machine learning and data-driven approaches both to search for potential novel organic ferroelectrics and to establish design principles for achieving new functionalities. IMS congratulates Ayana and Lucas!

In Memoriam: Dr. Arthur J. McEvily

Dr. Arthur J. McEvily
Dr. Arthur J. McEvily

Dr. Art McEvily, Emeritus Professor of Metallurgy, passed away this past weekend. Dr. McEvily was recognized across the globe as an authority on fatigue and fracture of metals and alloys. His most important contributions included his 1957 demonstration that crack growth rate, da/dN, could be expressed as a function of the parameter KTσ, assuming a crack-like, elliptical, sharp flaw, where KT is the stress concentration factor. Dr. McEvily also highlighted the importance of cross-slip in fatigue, and developed various constitutive relations for fatigue crack growth, including overloads and environmental effects.

After receiving his D.Sc. from Columbia University in 1959, Dr. McEvily worked as an Aeronautical Research Scientist at NASA in Langley, VA and later served as Head of the Solid State Physics Section. He then worked as a Research Scientist at Ford Motor Company for six years before joining UConn as Head of the Metallurgy Department (67-78). He authored or co-authored more than 240 papers and two books, including the classic textbook, Metal Failures — Mechanisms, Analysis, Prevention (Wiley-Interscience).

Dr. McEvily received the Henry Marion Howe Medal of American Society for Metals (ASM) in 1964 and became a Fellow in 1975. In 1983, he was awarded the Nadai Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and was elected a Fellow in 1995. His honors also include the Award of the Mechanics and Materials Division of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME, 1992), Honorary Fellow and Life Member of International Fatigue Congress (1995) and Egleston Medal from the Columbia University (1996). In 2006, the ASM/TMS Mechanical Behavior of Materials Committee sponsored a symposium in honor of Dr. McEvily’s 80th birthday, on the subject “Fatigue and Fracture of Traditional and Advanced Materials.” In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the International Congress on Fracture (ICF) in recognition of his “contributions to the understanding of fatigue mechanisms and processes in structural alloys.”

Art was a stalwart fixture of the Institute of Materials Science and the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science and Engineering. He was an excellent engineer and metallurgist, an avid runner, and a keen sailor. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

New Analytical Methods Help Researchers Peek Inside Energy Devices

X-ray tomography shows (via multiple viewing angles, top, and cross sections, bottom) why copper oxide electrodes fail in sodium-ion batteries.
X-ray tomography shows (via multiple viewing angles, top, and cross sections, bottom) why copper oxide electrodes fail in sodium-ion batteries.

The devices around us that generate and store the energy that powers our electronics and propels our vehicles rely on intricate chemistry that often happens in tiny spaces. But those sometimes-nanoscale reactions are incredibly difficult to study, making scientists wish they could magically shrink to watch the chemistry in real time.

For example, Jasna Jankovic, a specialist in imaging methods at the University of Connecticut, would want to spy on hidden nanoscale pockets of water in materials used in automobile fuel cells. And Ana Flávia Nogueira, a solar-cell chemistry expert at Brazil’s University of Campinas, would try to observe how moisture and oxygen break down some solar-cell materials.

Read the full story by C&EN

Drs. Paul Nahass and Rajeswari Kasi are Recipients of SPARK Award

Dr. Paul Nahass (l) and Dr. Rajeswari Kasi
Dr. Paul Nahass (l) and Dr. Rajeswari Kasi

Dr. Paul Nahass and Dr. Rajeswari (Raji) Kasi are co-PI’s on a research project which has been selected for a 2019-20 SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund award of $50,000.

The research, Medical Devices for Real-time Radiation Dosimetry at Sub-millimeter Spatial Resolution, seeks to marry a radiation-sensitive chemical, diacetylene, with a piezoelectric material, to make a 2D array of radiation sensors with sub-millimeter spatial resolution. The concept is a flexible, film-like single-use sensor and standalone reader device, that has the potential to be used at more than 9000 radiotherapy hospitals and clinics worldwide.

“As medical Radiotherapy is moving towards the use of smaller radiation fields and increasing radiation dose per treatment fraction, currently available radiation dosimetry equipment is either not suitable or properly adapted or convenient to map radiation dose at sub-millimeter resolution,” Dr. Nahass explains.

The SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund aims to support innovative proof-of-concept studies seeking to translate research discoveries into products, processes, and other commercial applications. The funding is offered through the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Dr. Nahass is Director of the IMS Industrial Affiliates Program, the industry outreach arm of IMS. Dr. Kasi is a Professor of Chemistry and former Director of the IMS Polymer Program. The two are working with RCF Consulting, a company with decades of extensive experience in radiochromic film, dosimetry, and the medical industry. They previously partnered with RCF Consulting on an NSF SBIR Phase 1 project.

Materials Scientist Fiona Leek joins MSE as Assistant Professor-in-Residence

Dr. Fiona LeekThe Department of Materials Science and Engineering welcomed Fiona Leek, Ph.D., a UConn alumna and long-time employee of UConn’s Institute of Materials Science, as an assistant professor-in-residence.

In her new role, Leek will teach undergraduate lab courses and manage the MSE laboratories. She will work with other MSE faculty to enhance student research, coordinate outreach programs, and mentor senior design projects.

After earning her BA in Museum Science & Archaeology at Wesleyan University in CT, Leek worked as textile conservator treating historic textiles including those owned by major museums such as the Metropolitan and the Smithsonian. ­It was this that sparked her interest in materials science. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Textile Science and Engineering from North Carolina State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Polymer Science Program at UConn.

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