MSE Briefs

Announcements and updates by the faculty and students of the UVA Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    ChemE Undergrad Anna Harris to Present Membrane Manufacturing Research at Society’s Annual Meeting

    March 16, 2023


    Anna Harris, a third-year chemical engineering major, has won an Undergraduate Student Travel Supplement to attend NAMS 2023, the North American Membrane Society’s annual meeting.

    Harris is an undergraduate researcher working with associate professor of chemical engineering Geoff Geise, who also has a courtesy appointment in materials science and engineering. Geise’s research group specializes in the design of polymeric materials for membrane-based liquid separations and energy applications.

    Harris earned the award to present a poster on her research project, “Analysis of Manufacturing Methods of Ion-Exchange Membranes for Desalination,” at the meeting.

    Harris’ research focuses on the characterization of polymer membranes that can be used for water purification through electrodialysis — a process used to remove salt ions from water streams through alternating cation and anion exchange membranes. She is comparing the properties associated with membranes she creates in the lab and those made using an emerging electrospray technology in additive manufacturing by her collaborators at the University of Connecticut.

    “We are hoping to show that the fine-tuning capabilities of electrospray technology allow for more material control, which leads to more efficient ion transport and increased membrane selectivity. This manufacturing method decreases material and energy costs to effectively manufacture more sustainable materials in an effort of green engineering,” said Harris, who is an A. James Clark Scholar.

    MSE Ph.D. Student Wins Prize for Presentation at Electronic Materials and Applications Conference

    February 23, 2023

    Samantha Jaszewski, a materials science and engineering Ph.D. student in associate professor Jon Ihlefeld’s multifunctional thin film research group, has won third place for Best Student Oral Presentation at EMA2023, The American Ceramic Society’s Electronic Materials and Applications conference.

    Jaszewski spoke on her project, “Impact of Processing Parameters on Crystallization and Ferroelectric Behavior of Hafnium Oxide Thin Films,” which ultimately aims to save energy in computing by using a new material, ferroelectric hafnium oxide.

    “This material will enable us to co-locate computing and memory elements in integrated circuits, a more efficient architecture that will result in energy savings,” Jaszewski said. “My research focuses on investigating the factors that stabilize ferroelectric hafnium oxide so that the semiconductor industry can control the material’s behavior and integrate it into devices.”

    Jaszewski has been working with Ihlefeld, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and electrical and computer engineering, since joining his lab in 2018. Her research is funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a highly competitive program that recognizes the recipient’s potential contributions to science, technology and education, as well as society and future needs of the nation.

    EMA 2023 is an international conference focused on electroceramic materials and their applications in electronic, electrochemical, electromechanical, magnetic, dielectric and optical components, devices and systems. It is jointly programmed by the Electronics Division and Basic Science Division of The American Ceramic Society.

    Peer-Reviewed Article Utilizing NMCF Instrumentation Makes Top-10!

    December 26, 2022


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    Solvothermal synthesis procedures to obtain films of NU-901 and NU-100 with parallel orientation and perpendicular orientation (Verma et al. 2020)

    Out of hundreds of papers, Prince K. Verma, a doctoral student in UVa's Department of Chemical Engineering, had his publication selected as one of the Top-Ten scientific peer-reviewed articles submitted for the Malvern Panalytical Scientific Award 2022. Verma's publication, "Controlling Polymorphism and Orientation of NU-901/NU-1000 Metal-Organic Framework Thin Films," was published in Chemistry of Materials in December 2020 (Chem. Mater. 202, 32, 24, 10556-10565). In this work, Verma's team investigates NU-1000, a zirconium (Zr)-based metal-organics frameswork (MOF), that is a promising candidate for heterogeneous catalysis, gas storage, electrocatalysis, and drug-delivery applications due to its large pore size and mesoporous structure.

    For this research, the team utilized several of the NMCF instruments available to UVa students and researchers, including our Malvern Panalytical Empyrean X-ray Diffractometer for out-of-plane powder X-ray diffraction measurement; the FEI Quanta 650 Field-Emission Secondary Electron Microscope for imaging of the NU-901 & NU-1000 thin films, Au-Pd coated to improve conductivity with the Gatan 682 Precision Etching and Polishing System; and the PHI Versaprobe X-ray Photoelectron Specctrometer for surface concentration analysis.

    NMCF's electron microscopy principal scientist, Helge Heinrich, co-authored this work.

    Congratulations to Prince, Helge, and their co-authors!






    Environmental Science Geochemistry Students Tour NMCF

    November 01, 2022

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    UVa Environmental Science Students in Prof. Steve Macko's Geochemistry Class ( EVGE 7850 ) tour the X-ray Diffraction and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy laboratories, where NMCF Scientists, DIane Dickie and Helge Heinrich, describe instrumentation and methods.

    Last Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, graduate and undgraduate students in Prof. Steve Macko's Geochemistry (EVE 7850) took a short field trip from the Environmental Science department to the NMCF, where our staff (Diane Dickie and Helge Heinrich) demonstrated X-ray instrumentation. Dr. Dickie ran samples of table salt on the Empyrean X-ray Diffractometer (XRD) to determine the mineral composition, while Dr. Heinrich showed the students around the X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS). Students learned what information can be learned from each instrument's spectra, as well as the types of samples appropriate for each analytical method.






    Balachandran’s Research Group Uncovers Low Thermal Conductivity Behavior of Novel Thermoelectric Materials

    September 27, 2022

    Thermoelectric materials have been of great interest for a number of decades due to their ability to generate power, such as recycling of waste heat. Prasanna Balachandran, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering, is conducting research to deepen theoretical knowledge about polar thermoelectric materials for energy conversion technologies. 

    UVA Students Deepen Research and Broaden Horizons at 7th Venice International School in Lasers in Material Science

    August 19, 2022

    Ph.D. students Antonios Valavanis, Anustup Chakraborty and Julissa Velasquez traveled to Isola di San Servolo this July to participate in the 7th Venice International School in Lasers in Material Science. A total of 38 Ph.D. students — including the three UVA and five other students from the United States — completed the intensive biennial summer program.