Chris Leighton, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering, was recently featured on a local television program, "WHY?", which highlights science topics and scientists in the Twin Cities. The program focused on Leighton's research with Eray Aydil on pyrite, a naturally-occurring material that could possibly offer a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective solution to the fabrication of solar cells. As described in the program, the research involves both single crystal and thin film forms of synthetic pyrite (iron sulfide, otherwise known as "Fool's Gold"), seeking to understand the electronic and optical "stumbling blocks" to its application in working solar cells. Beyond the research, Leighton discusses the broader work in the Department, his motivation to become an educator and scientist, and the satisfaction of knowing that fundamental science has positive, real-world applications. "WHY?" is a production of the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN). Copyright 2014 SPNN.
Members of the Mkhoyan research group had a very successful presence at the annual international Microscopy and Microanalysis 2014 Meeting in Hartford, Conn. Five individual awards were presented to CEMS recipients. Prashant Kumar won first place in the "Best Poster Award in Instrumentation" category for his work titled, "Crystallographic Structure determination of MFI-Zeolite Nanosheets: Mapping Reciprocal Space using TEM." Ryan Wu and Eric Hintsala both won second place in the "Best Poster Awards in Physical Sciences" category for their works titled “Determining the Thickness of Atomically Thin MoS2 and WS2 in the TEM” and “Extreme Ductility at the Nano-scale in Fe-Based Alloys,” respectively. Prashant Kumar also received the M&M 2014 Micrograph Competition Award (second place) for his electron micrograph titled, "From Deep within the Zeolitic mines." CEMS Research Assistant Professor Jong Jeong accepted the Eric Samuel Scholarship for outstanding post doctoral papers.
Bin Liu's (Ph.D. ChemE '11) research was published and featured on the cover of the journal Energy and Environmental Science. While attending the University of Minnesota, Liu's research was funded primarily by the University of Minnesota's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). Upon receiving his doctorate under the advisement of Professor Eray Aydil, Liu completed the research after he joined Nanyang Technological University as an assistant professor. Liu et al. report a simple solvothermal method for synthesis of carbonate doped mesoporous titanium dioxide microspheres with high surface area, as it relates to the conversion of sunlight to fuels. The key advance is the introduction of carbonate as a dopant to extend the light absorption of titanium dioxide from the the ultraviolet to the visible region, which significantly increases the photoactivity of this material.
Professor C. Daniel Frisbie has been appointed as Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) effective July 1, 2014. Regents Professor Frank S. Bates previously served in that role for 15 years. Frisbie, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, has been a faculty member in CEMS since 1994 and served as a Director of Graduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering from 2004 to 2013. Congratulations Dan!
The Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science lost a beloved friend and colleague, Professor Frank W. Snowden, on May 22, 2014. Snowden served as Associate Director of Education and Human Resources in the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). He was a teacher and mentor who inspired many students and will be greatly missed in the CEMS and MRSEC communities.