Sarah K. Rich | Art History

The new Center for Virtual/Material Studies (a collaborative, University-wide research center headquartered in the department of Art History) will be initiating a multi-year focus on the materiality of historic textiles in the arts. We have chosen to begin with a deep dive into flax—the plant from which we make linen and one of the most important fibers in ancient weaving. We have questions about forensic approaches to study historic fibers and possibilities for future research in flax cultivation, processing, dyeing, and uses, among other things.  

There is increased understanding of how forward thinking material design strategies can enhance the performance of low income housing with respect to commonly referenced sustainability, resilience, and well-being metrics. What is less understood is how to “future proof” these buildings against “black swan” events such as COVID-19 and the impacts of compounding/intersecting disasters. This talk highlights how a global engagement network approach anchored in transdisciplinarity could help address these challenges.

Xing Wang | Nuclear Engineering

Atom probe tomography (APT) provides 3D compositional mapping with atomic resolution for most elements, from light hydrogen to heavy uranium isotopes.  In this talk, I will introduce the working principle of APT and how it has been applied to answer long-standing questions in structural materials.  By combing with advances in other microscopy techniques, such as the cryogenic focused-ion beam, APT brings new opportunities for addressing challenges in hydrogen storage, lithium battery, and even bio-organic materials.

Quantum sensors are expected to enable new capabilities in many fields by offering enhanced performance, smaller size, weight and power, and novel modalities for sensing. I will provide a brief overview of the main areas where quantum sensing is expected to have a significant impact and describe some of the work currently under development at PSU.

Neela Yennawar | Huck Institutes of the life Sciences

The need for accurate biophysical description of macromolecules, multimerization, flexibility, dynamics and binding in their solution state has gained importance in various fields, including biology, chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, structural biology, drug discovery, and antibody drugs. Multiple complimentary analyses need to be performed for success with high resolution structural methods such as X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM. Recent unique capabilities at the Huck X-ray crystallography and biological calorimetry facilities focus on a combination of tools for studying solution state structures: size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), multi-angle light scattering (MALS), dynamic light scattering (DLS), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC), isothermal calorimetry (ITC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and circular dichroism spectroscopy (CD). 

Stephen Chmely | Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Plants developed a remarkable hierarchical woody structure some 400 million years ago that allows them to grow towards the sun, conduct moisture and nutrients, and resist attack from harmful organisms. My group takes inspiration from these structures to create new materials by 3D printing from plant-derived polymers. I will discuss our efforts to create and characterize new materials from renewable resources and I will speculate on how these new materials could be deployed to reverse anthropogenic climate change.