The Millennium Cafe

Exchanging ideas and challenges

Oct 10 2017
Harnessing the Power of Electrons in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is a unique technique providing both structural and dynamic information with atomic resolution in both life and material sciences.  However, it suffers from inherently poor sensitivity due to the low magnetic moment of the active nuclei and low natural abundance.  Dramatic NMR signal enhancement as a result of dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) using microwave irradiation at the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) transition reduces the measurement time by 2-4 orders of magnitude compared to the traditional solid-state NMR.  The remarkable contributions of the new technology in both material (heterogeneous catalysts, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), periodic mesoporous organosilicates (PMOs), covalent organic frameworks (COFs), colloids, composites and polymers) and life sciences (membrane proteins, intrinsically disordered proteins, fibrils, amyloids, and cell membrane) will be highlighted by several recent studies.

How 3D Metal Printing Can Reduce Your Airfare

Recent advances in the field of three-dimensional, metal printing, also known as additive manufacturing, have increased the potential for building components used in engines that provide propulsion for flight, namely gas turbines. Using 3D printing for turbine components broadens the design space and allows for increasingly small and complex geometries to be fabricated with little increase in time or cost. This presentation will show how turbine engines can become more efficient thereby using less fuel through advances in additive manufacturing.

Oct 3 2017
Observing the Nanoworld Through the Lens of Ultrafast Super-Resolution Spectroscopy

Time-resolved laser spectroscopy provides detailed examinations of energy transfer processes in chemical and materials systems. However, these techniques are typically limited to hundreds of nanometers in spatial resolution, which is insufficient to view nanoscale energy flow in “real time.” I will describe advances from our lab that allow us to pinpoint the spatial position of optical signals with spatial accuracies of one nanometer, including examples from energy localization and interfacial charge transfer. I will also describe how these methods can be combined with magnetic fields and correlated electron microscopy to characterize the electronic and optical properties of photonic systems.

What to do with Memory Beyond Storage

All of us know the common use of memory as a storage element. However, in this talk I’ll discuss interesting aspects of memory that make them an excellent candidate for computing, analytics, learning, cybersecurity and so forth. Several new memory technologies beyond conventional RAMs and Flash along with their potential applications will be discussed.

Sep 26 2017
Key Trends in Higher Education – How will Penn State Respond?

Higher education is facing a considerable number of challenges, including demographic changes, growing financial stresses, evolving models of the roles and characteristics of faculty, and significant changes in the content and delivery of an education.  In many ways, Penn State is sensing and responding to these challenges.   The trends predicted for the next decade are worthy of a more strategic analysis as they will likely define the evolution of our University.

Guitar Music of South America

Some of the best music for solo guitar (nylon string) comes from guitarist/composers of South America. I will play selections of music from Brazil and Paraguay that are sure to delight the listener.  A wonderful thing about instrumental music is its symbolic power to captivate the imagination and impact each listener personally. So come prepared to dream with me as I perform this compellingly beautiful repertoire.

Sep 19 2017
The Penn State Microbiome Center is a Community Studying Communities

In 12 months, the Penn State Microbiome Center has moved from concept to community. This intercollege initiative turned center started in fall 2016 with the financial and scholarly support of ten colleges and institutes. The Center was further spurred by cluster hires funded by the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Medicine and the Huck Institutes. Today the Microbiome Center is working toward the goal of supporting transformative, interdisciplinary research in microbiomes by fostering long-term working relationships while simultaneously providing infrastructure and resources needed for increasing diversity and breadth of interdisciplinary microbiome research at Penn State.

Modeling, Understanding, and Manipulating Microstructural Patterns in Materials

Pattern formation is common in nature, ranging from biological cell structures, snow-flakes, to cloud patterns. Understanding the structural, chemical, thermal, electrical, and magnetic patterns in materials at different length scales and their responses to the changes in the environmental conditions at different time scales is considered as the holy grail of materials research.  In this presentation, I will show a few representative examples to demonstrate the utilization of the phase-field modeling method to understand experimentally observed microstructural patterns and to provide guidance to the synthesis and manipulation of microstructural patterns for optimum properties and device performances.

Sep 12 2017
What’s so Cool About Cold Spray?

In the cold spray process, powders are heated and accelerated in a supersonic gas stream. These high velocity particles impact a substrate, causing them to bond and build up a coating. This process has been used at the Penn State Applied Research Lab for the past 20 years to create corrosion and wear resistant coatings, and more recently, for restoration of metallic components and additive manufacturing. This presentation will highlight some of these projects as well as the material processing equipment available to researchers at PSU.

The Importance of Safety in Industry

Cultivating a safety minded culture is more than a list of near misses and good saves; it encompasses how a company or university approaches and views safety in the work place.  Developing an effective culture of safety in the work environment includes recognition of preventative actions, constant improvement of workplace practices, and employee engagement in developing and implementing the best and safest practices. This talk will focus on (i) the importance of a safety minded culture, (ii) how it is practiced in one chemical company, (iii) and how the insights from the chemical industry can be applicable to academic lab settings.

Sep 5 2017
At Penn State, We Innovate!

Penn State is home to world class researchers, educators, and more -- all brimming with ideas. Many of us started our careers in research with the intention of making a positive impact on the world through advanced technology, and for many of us that passion continues to be the driving force behind our research endeavors. But once we’ve invented a new technology, how do we bring it to the people around us? Penn State Innovation Network (formerly Penn State Entrepreneurship Network) was formed based on a passion for innovation, such as translating creative inventions into high-impact, usable technologies.  At our talk, we are going to share some of the activities PSIN is organizing, and how we can help each other. PSIN invites individuals from across the university to contribute their expertise and perspective while learning from others. Whether you already have a concrete startup idea, have an unexplored interest in innovation, or are curious about innovation in academia — we want your valuable perspective!

A Vision for Transportation Research at Penn State

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is Penn State’s transportation research center. The Institute brings together top faculty, world-class facilities and enterprising students from across the University in partnership with public and private stakeholders to address critical transportation-related problems.  This presentation will provide a brief overview of the Institute’s research, equipment, and facilities, and share ideas to foster collaboration among the broad university community.

Aug 29 2017
From Words To Pictures: Visualizing The Archaeological Journals of Chaco Canyon

Many archaeological sites have long ago been excavated leaving researchers only journal entries and sketches to try decipher these important cultural heritage sites. Pueblo Bonito, Room 33 in Chaco Canyon is one such site.  Using George Pepper’s archaeology journals and sketches from 1896, a method of plotting artifacts, room structure and human remains was used to create a 3D model that was the basis for a journal article illustration.  However, the team found that the 3D model opens up new methods of studying this heritage site and other sites lost to time and excavation.

EESL, It’s That Easy

EESL’s multi-user research facilities were created under the Institute of Energy and the Environment. Our laboratories offer researchers access to cutting-edge laboratory and field instrumentation in the areas of energy and the environment. Come learn about EESL’s core facilities, laboratory scientists and the various ways we can work with researchers to support your project and research needs.

Aug 22 2017
Computer Vision in Agriculture

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) coupled with computer vision models offer the potential to extend the monitoring capacity of farmers to the assess and manage their land. This is especially important as climate change is leading to more frequent extreme weather events and globalization is leading to an increasing number of novel pathogens and pests.  My preliminary research has shown deep learning models can detect healthy and diseased plants with over 90% accuracy using in-field images of plant leaves collected with digital cameras. I am currently investigating the performance of UAVs in collecting image datasets of agricultural land to support automated plant disease diagnoses with computer vision models.

TB or bTB? A Truly Wicked Problem

Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people on the planet that any other infectious disease, and emerging drug resistant strains are proving untreatable.  Our group is taking an orthogonal approach to addressing the problem. During this presentation, I summarize our ongoing efforts at addressing this issue of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), discuss its impact on livestock productivity and associated human health risks, highlight key knowledge gaps, and define opportunities for mitigation through needed technical and market-based innovation.

Aug 8 2017
Crushing Molecules to Crystals of Carbon Nanothreads

Organic chemists are very good at synthesizing small carbon molecules, millions to date, but the number of completely crystalline and especially single crystal carbon “extended solids” such as diamond, graphite, and carbon nanotubes with bonding in multiple dimensions is very limited. Still, these few examples attract great attention because they often have superlative properties, such as high electron mobility, extremely high strength, and sometimes even superconductivity, so it is interesting to synthesize new ones.  I will show how the small molecule benzene can be crushed under pressure to form crystals of carbon nanothreads, a new low dimensional carbon nanomaterial akin to “flexible diamond” that may uniquely combine extreme strength with flexibility, insensitivity to defects, and resilience.

Plant-Herbivore Interactions and the Chemicals that Mediate Them

With a deep history of plant-animal interactions, it’s no surprise we find relationships that span from mutualisms to all out warfare. A brief overview of the chemical relationships that have been established between herbivores and their hosts will be discussed with a focus on behavior and chemical ecology.

Aug 1 2017
Maintenance Week at the MSC

There will not be a Millennium Cafe on August 1st due to building maintenance week. Also, note that core facilities in the MSC building are also closed during this time.  Please contact core facility technical staff directly for information about when instrumentation will be back online.

We will return on August 8
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