A new method of bioprinting uses aspiration of tiny biologics such as spheroids, cells and tissue strands, to precisely place them in 3D patterns either on scaffolding or without to create artificial tissues with natural properties, according to Penn State researchers.
By Jamie Oberdick
A multi-institutional research group led by two Penn State faculty members has identified, for the first time, how cellulose crystals orient themselves relative to the cell wall in plants, with potential implications for chemical and energy development.
By Gabrielle Stewart
Computers can perform operations much faster than the human brain and store more information. Despite these disadvantages, the human brain is a more efficient computer than the most sophisticated supercomputers — by a factor of a million, according to Saptarshi Das, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State.
By Jennifer Matthews
A single-step, plasma-enhanced catalytic process to convert sulfur dioxide to pure sulfur from tail gas streams may provide a promising, more environmentally-friendly alternative to current multistage thermal, catalytic and absorptive processes, according to scientists at Penn State.
By Walt Mills
As progress in traditional computing slows, new forms of computing are coming to the forefront. At Penn State, a team of engineers is attempting to pioneer a type of computing that mimics the efficiency of the brain’s neural networks while exploiting the brain’s analog nature.
Modern computing is digital, made up of two states, on-off or one and zero. An analog computer, like the brain, has many possible states. It is the difference between flipping a light switch on or off and turning a dimmer switch to varying amounts of lighting.
The eventual creation of replacement biological parts requires fully three-dimensional capabilities that two-dimensional and three-dimensional thin-film bioprinting cannot supply. Now, using a yield stress gel, Penn State engineers can place tiny aggregates of cells exactly where they want to build the complex shapes that will be necessary to replace bone, cartilage and other tissues.
In the search for a reliable, quick-charging, cold-weather battery for automobiles, a self-assembling, thin layer of electrochemically active molecules may be the solution, according to a team of researchers.
The power of the sun, wind and sea may soon combine to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel, according to a team of Penn State researchers. The team integrated water purification technology into a new proof-of-concept design for a sea water electrolyzer, which uses an electric current to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen in water molecules.
This new method for “sea water splitting” could make it easier to turn wind and solar energy into a storable and portable fuel, according to Bruce Logan, Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering and Evan Pugh University Professor.
A rapid and simple method for testing the efficacy of antibacterial drugs on infectious microbes has been developed and validated by a team of Penn State researchers.
Antimicrobial resistant infection is one of the major threats to human health globally, causing 2.5 million infections and 35,000 deaths annually, with the potential to grow to 10 million deaths annually by 2050 without improved techniques for detection and treatment.
Solar cells have come a long way, but inexpensive, thin film solar cells are still far behind more expensive, crystalline solar cells in efficiency. Now, a team of researchers suggests that using two thin films of different materials may be the way to go to create affordable, thin film cells with about 34% efficiency.
"Ten years ago I knew very little about solar cells, but it became clear to me they were very important," said Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Evan Pugh University Professor and Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Penn State.
By Walt Mills
The Center for Nanoscale Science, a National Science Foundation Materials Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), has again successfully renewed its NSF support in the highly competitive MRSEC program. The new iteration of the center encompasses two of NSF’s Big Ideas — "Quantum Leap" and "Harnessing the Data Revolution."
By Walt Mills
A new type of imaging that does not require a lens and uses reconfigurable particle-based masks to take multiple shots of an object is being developed by researchers at Penn State. The electric-field directed self-assembling mask technology is expected to have uses in lower-cost and faster disease diagnosis, the enhancement of optical microscopy and may even lead to thinner cell phone technology.
How it works
Wearable and implantable devices are currently used for a variety of functions, including health tracking and monitoring. However, supplying energy usually requires cumbersome batteries and downtime due to recharging.
By Walt Mills
In a sensing phenomenon common in the animal world but unusual in manmade sensors, Penn State researchers have added a small amount of background noise to enhance very weak signals, in this case a light source too dim to sense.
A stretchable, wearable gas sensor for environmental sensing has been developed and tested by researchers at Penn State, Northeastern University and five universities in China.
Plagues of locusts, containing millions of insects, fly across the sky to attack crops, but the individual insects do not collide with each other within these massive swarms. Now a team of engineers is creating a low-power collision detector that mimics the locust avoidance response and could help robots, drones and even self-driving cars avoid collisions.
The Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has awarded a combined total of $51.1 million to two university research alliances to counter threats of destruction, with a specific focus on improving current and developing future warfighter technology.
By Walt Mills
A supersensitive dopamine detector can help in the early diagnosis of several disorders that result in too much or too little dopamine, according to a group led by Penn State and including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and universities in China and Japan.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that can be used to diagnose disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
Application deadline extended to August 30 - Rustom & Della Roy Award
By Walt Mills
The goal of room temperature superconductivity took a small step forward with a recent discovery by a team of Penn State physicists and materials scientists.
The Department of Energy has awarded an Energy Frontier Research Center Award to Penn State, one of 10 awards announced in 2020, and the second EFRC awarded to Penn State researchers.
The topic of this large center grant is 3D ferroelectric microelectronics, according to principal investigator Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Evan Pugh University Professor and the Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering.
By Walt Mills
Layered van der Waals materials are of high interest for electronic and photonic applications, according to researchers at Penn State and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, in California, who provide new insights into the interactions of layered materials with laser and electron beams.
Two-dimensional van der Waals materials are composed of strongly bonded layers of molecules with weak bonding between the layers.
A new fundamental understanding of the behavior of polymeric relaxor ferroelectrics could lead to advances in flexible electronics, actuators and transducers, energy storage, piezoelectric sensors and electrocaloric cooling, according to a team of researchers at Penn State and North Carolina State.
A device to monitor health conditions in the body using a person’s sweat has been developed by researchers at Penn State and Xiangtan University, according to Huanyu (Larry) Cheng, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics, Penn State.
“We want to be able to analyze the sweat from daily exercise or from the heat of the sun because in sweat we have a lot of biomarkers, like pH and glucose that will be a really nice indicator for disease progression or diagnostics,” Cheng said.
Focus on Materials Spring 2020 Issue
With families stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, the need for quality online resources to help fill the time has skyrocketed. But don’t fret — Penn State’s Center for Nanoscale Science has just launched Mission: Materials Science.
A personal, handheld device emitting high intensity ultraviolet light to disinfect areas by killing the Corona virus is now feasible, according to researchers at Penn State, the University of Minnesota and two Japanese universities.
The next generation of solar cells, made from flexible, wearable material, may soon charge our devices on the go, or provide critical electricity when other power sources are not available, like during a natural disaster.
An international team of scientists from Penn State and the University of Queensland, Australia, are developing new technology to help make these next-generation solar devices a reality.
A new way of creating carbon fibers — which are typically expensive to make — could one day lead to using these lightweight, high-strength materials to improve safety and reduce the cost of producing cars, according to a team of researchers. Using a mix of computer simulations and laboratory experiments, the team found that adding small amounts of the 2D graphene to the production process both reduces the production cost and strengthens the fibers.
A new supercapacitor based on manganese oxide could combine the storage capacity of batteries with the high power and fast charging of other supercapacitors, according to researchers at Penn State and two universities in China.
“Manganese oxide is definitely a promising material,” said Huanyu (Larry) Cheng, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics and faculty member in the Materials Research Institute, Penn State. “By combining with cobalt manganese oxide, it forms a heterostructure in which we are able to tune the interfacial properties.”
Researchers are proposing a possible COVID-19 vaccine that could be good news for resisting current and future pandemics, as well as for the needle-phobic: inhalable vaccines.
A new method to deliver proteins for therapy inside the body has been developed by a team of researchers at Penn State. This platform, which packages proteins within an acoustically sensitive nanoparticle carrier, uses ultrasound to image and guide the encapsulated protein to the exact location required, and then disrupt the shell allowing the protein to enter the cell.
A point-of-care testing device that may help diagnose the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is under development by Weihua Guan, assistant professor of electrical engineering in Penn State’s College of Engineering.
Bulky, buzzing and beeping hospital rooms demonstrate that monitoring a patient’s health status is an invasive and uncomfortable process, at best, and a dangerous process, at worst. Penn State researchers want to change that and make biosensors that could make health monitoring less bulky, more accurate — and much safer.
By Walt Mills
A new, atomically-thin materials platform developed by Penn State researchers in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Oak Ridge National Lab will open a wide range of new applications in biomolecular sensing, quantum phenomena, catalysis and nonlinear optics.
By Walt Mills
A lithium-ion battery that is safe, has high power and can last for 1 million miles has been developed by a team in Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center.
By Walt Mills
Researchers at Penn State and Purdue University have developed new materials for improved single-atom catalysis and future electronics.
By Walt Mills
A method to observe a new class of topological materials, called Weyl semimetals, was developed by researchers at Penn State, MIT, Tohoku University, Japan and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. The material’s unusual electronic properties could be useful in future electronics and in quantum physics.
Seamlessly correcting defects in the face, mouth and skull is highly challenging because it requires precise stacking of a variety of tissues including bone, muscle, fat and skin. Now, Penn State researchers are investigating methods to 3D bioprint and grow the appropriate tissues for craniomaxillofacial reconstruction.
To broaden applications of living materials, expand Penn State’s leadership in the engineering sciences on the international stage and grow partnerships with researchers and students around the world, Zoubeida Ounaies, professor and associate head for administration in the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named the inaugural director of the Penn State Convergence Center for Living Multifunctional Material Systems.
By Walt Mills
An interdisciplinary team led by Penn State has received a five-year $3.7 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation’s new program on convergence research. The grant is in two phases, depending on successful completion of phase one milestones.
Convergence brings together disciplines that have not worked together before to solve problems of high complexity with societal impact. Penn State is one of 11universites to receive a convergence grant.
Using straightforward chemistry and a mix-and-match, modular strategy, researchers have developed a simple approach that could produce over 65,000 different types of complex nanoparticles, each containing up to six different materials and eight segments, with interfaces that could be exploited in electrical or optical applications. These rod-shaped nanoparticles are about 55 nanometers long and 20 nanometers wide — by comparison a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers thick — and many are considered to be among the most complex ever made.
Use of an AC rather than a DC electric field can improve the piezoelectric response of a crystal. Now, an international team of researchers say that cycles of AC fields also make the internal crystal domains in some materials bigger and the crystal transparent.
By Walt Mills
A highly sensitive wearable gas sensor for environmental and human health monitoring may soon become commercially available, according to researchers at Penn State and Northeastern University.
By Walt Mills
Lithium ion batteries often grow needle-like structures between electrodes that can short out the batteries and sometimes cause fires. Now, an international team of researchers has found a way to grow and observe these structures to understand ways to stop or prevent their appearance.
A 2017 report of the discovery of a particular kind of Majorana fermion — the chiral Majorana fermion, referred to as the “angel particle” — is likely a false alarm, according to new research. Majorana fermions are enigmatic particles that act as their own antiparticle and were first hypothesized to exist in 1937. They are of immense interest to physicists because their unique properties could allow them to be used in the construction of a topological quantum computer.
By Walt Mills
A device to quickly capture and identify various strains of virus has been developed, according to researchers at Penn State and New York University.
Currently, virologists estimate that 1.67 million unknown viruses are circulating in animal reservoirs, a number of which can be transmitted to humans. Known viruses, such as H5N1, Zika and Ebola have caused widespread illness and death. The world Health Organization states that early detection can halt virus spread by enabling rapid deployment of countermeasures.
A paper published in the Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Journal details how researchers examined additive manufacturing methods and materials using atomistic-scale simulations to optimize their performance for ultimately stronger and more useful 3D-printed components.
“We went down to the most fundamental level, looking at the physical chemistry and the strengths of these molecular interactions,” van Duin said.
Every day, more than 141 billion liters of water are used solely to flush toilets. With millions of global citizens experiencing water scarcity, what if that amount could be reduced by 50%?
The possibility may exist through research conducted at Penn State, released today (Nov. 18) in Nature Sustainability.
Microscopic tiny swimmers shaped like donuts promise a wide range of application options: Fabricated with Nanoscribe’s 3D Microfabrication technology, they can move with their own propulsion and are able to transport particles to a desired location. Moreover, the 3D printed microtori can manipulate other microscopic swimming objects. Within an international research project scientists outlined the complex dynamics that chemically- and magnetically-driven microtori can unfold.
A new technique to change the structure of liquid crystals could lead to the development of fast-responding liquid crystals suitable for next generation displays, for example 3-D, augmented and virtual reality and advanced photonic applications such as mirrorless lasers, bio-sensors and fast/slow light generation, according to an international team of researchers from Penn State, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan.
Next-generation solar cells that mimic photosynthesis with biological material may give new meaning to the term "green technology." Adding the protein bacteriorhodopsin (bR) to perovskite solar cells boosted the efficiency of the devices in a series of laboratory tests, according to an international team of researchers.
Researchers at Penn State and Delaware have developed a theoretical method to improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells by up to 33 percent. Flexible thin-film solar cells are needed to supply electrical power to fabrics, clothing, back packs and anywhere that a local autonomous power supply is required.
A better understanding of the mechanisms behind the cold sintering process (CSP) will lead to faster adoption and the cold sintering of many new materials, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
A new liquid-cell technology allows scientists to see biological materials and systems in three dimensions under an electron microscope (EM), according to researchers at Penn State, Virginia Tech and Protochips Inc.
By Walt Mills
A few weeks ago the novelist Jonathan Franzen published an article in which he essentially gave up on the prospect of controlling the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, concluding it was time to begin preparing for a future filled with the risk of devasting environmental disaster. It was the culmination of all the bad news we have heard about the changing climate, and I, and many others, was filled with a growing sense of hopelessness.
A new research partnership with Pennsylvania State University and the University of Sheffield aims to promote more sustainable supply chains to meet US policy standards.
Researchers from the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield have now launched the USA branch of the Advanced Research Efficiency Centre (AREC-USA) at Pennsylvania State University. This research centre will promote collaboration between industry and universities. It will offer easy to access platforms that will help meet the challenges of sustainability across supply chains.
While computers have become smaller and more powerful and supercomputers and parallel computing have become the standard, we are about to hit a wall in energy and miniaturization. Now, Penn State researchers have designed a 2D device that can provide more than yes-or-no answers and could be more brainlike than current computing architectures.
The theme of this year’s Materials Day is Mind the Gap Transiting Technology to Application. The gap between the university lab and commercialization of research is often called the Valley of Death. During this Materials Day, we look for ways to close the gap.
By discovering a way to combine lithium salts with ceramics, researchers in the Penn State College of Engineering and the Penn State Materials Research Institute may have created a new class of materials for longer-lasting batteries. According to researchers, the composite nature of the batteries could make recycling easier, reducing landfill waste.
Every scientific discovery has one thing in common: It started with a question. But, as Penn State materials scientist Jeffrey Catchmark will attest, sometimes the most ingenious answers come from questions you didn’t even know to ask.
Catchmark is developing new biomaterials by manipulating compounds found in nature. His research with biomaterials began with a single question: Is there an eco-friendly alternative to styrofoam?
The way barn owl brains use sound to locate prey may be a template for electronic directional navigation devices, according to a team of Penn State engineers who are recreating owl brain circuitry in electronics.
"We were already studying this type of circuit when we stumbled across the Jeffress model of sound localization," said Saptarshi Das, assistant professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics.
Ibrahim Tarik Ozbolat, Hartz Family Career Development Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics, has received four grants totaling about $1.5 million to explore ways to bioprint biological tissues like bone, lungs and other organs for use as models in a variety of studies.
A new strategic partnership between Penn State and the University of Freiburg in Germany will propel the development of a new class of engineered living materials with potential applications in sustainable infrastructure, robotics technologies, and next-generation medical care. This will enable the institutions to compete globally on ambitious and innovative work that neither institution could accomplish alone. Today, July 24, Penn State President Eric J.
In 2017, MRI and Penn State began piloting a new program aimed to support the further development of strategic collaboration with industry.
Proof that a new ability to grow thin films of an important class of materials called complex oxides will, for the first time, make these materials commercially feasible, according to Penn State materials scientists.
Complex oxides are crystals with a composition that typically consists of oxygen and at least two other, different elements. In their crystalline form and depending on the combination of elements, complex oxides display a tremendous range of properties.
By Walt Mills
A technique to substitute carbon-hydrogen species into a single atomic layer of the semiconducting material tungsten disulfide, a transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD), dramatically changes the electronic properties of the material, according to researchers at Penn State.
With this material, the researchers say, they can create new types of components for energy-efficient photoelectric devices and CMOS electronic circuits.
By Walt Mills
The field of two-dimensional (2D) materials with unusual properties has exploded in the 15 years since Navasolov and Gheim pulled a single atomic layer of carbon atoms off of bulk graphene using simple adhesive tape. Although a great amount of science has been conducted on these small fragments of graphene, the challenge has been to create 2D materials at an industrially relevant scale. Now, researchers at Penn State have discovered a method for improving the quality of one class of 2D materials with potential to achieve wafer-scale growth in the future.
In a paper published in the journal Science on April 19, 2019, multiple researchers affiliated with the Materials Research Institute and labs in China, Australia and the United States report a piezoelectric material with the highest piezoelectric charge to date. Piezoelectrics are widely used as sensors, transducers, in electromechanical systems and in ultrasound. In this case, the relaxor perovskite oxide single crystal is doped with the rare-earth element samarium. MRI-affiliated authors include lead author Fei Li, Long-Qing Chen, Thomas Shrout and Shujun Zhang.
By Walt Mills
Cryogenic-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) has been a game changer in the field of medical research, but the substrate used to freeze and view samples under a microscope hasn’t advanced much in decades. Now, thanks to a collaboration between Penn State researchers and the applied science company Protochips, Inc., this is no longer the case.
By Walt Mills
“Frustration” plus a pulse of laser light resulted in a stable “supercrystal” created by a team of researchers led by Penn State and Argonne National Laboratory, together with University of California, Berkeley, and two other national labs.
This is one of the first examples of a new state of matter with long-term stability transfigured by the energy from a sub-pico-second laser pulse. The team’s goal, supported by the Department of Energy, is to discover interesting states of matter with unusual properties that don’t exist in equilibrium in nature.
PoreDesigner, a fully automated computational workflow process for altering the pore size of a bacterial channel protein, is the result of a collaboration between researchers from Penn State and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This process enables assembly of the proteins into artificial membranes for precise sub-nanometer scale separation of solutes of marginal size difference, which can improve water purification and bioseparations.
Rechargeable lithium metal batteries with increased energy density, performance, and safety may be possible with a newly-developed, solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI), according to Penn State researchers.
As the demand for higher-energy-density lithium metal batteries increases — for electric vehicles, smartphones, and drones — stability of the SEI has been a critical issue halting their advancement because a salt layer on the surface of the battery's lithium electrode insulates it and conducts lithium ions.
Under the right conditions, ordinary clear water droplets on a transparent surface can produce brilliant colors, without the addition of inks or dyes. This iridescent effect is due to “structural color,” by which an object generates color simply by the way light interacts with its geometric structure.
Susan Trolier-McKinstry, the Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering, Penn State, has been named a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
Trolier-McKinstry is among the 86 new members and 18 foreign members elected for 2019. The NAE recognized her for "development of thin film multilayer ceramic capacitors and piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems."
A new type of light-emitting diode lightbulb could one day light homes and reduce power bills, according to Penn State researchers who suggest that LEDs made with firefly-mimicking structures could improve efficiency.
While the polyester leisure suit was a 1970s mistake, polyester and other synthetic fibers like nylon are still around and are a major contributor to the microplastics load in the environment, according to a Penn State materials scientist, who suggests switching to biosynthetic fibers to solve this problem.
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
The researchers developed a three-dimensional, cross-linked polymer sponge that attaches to the metal plating of a battery anode.
By Walt Mills
Antireflection (AR) coatings on plastics have a multitude of practical applications, such as reducing the glare on eyeglasses, computer monitors or on the display on your smart phone when out of doors. Now, researchers at Penn State have developed an AR coating that improves on existing coatings to the extent that it can make transparent plastics, such as Plexiglas, virtually invisible.
By Walt Mills
The rapid growth of research on 2D materials – materials such as graphene and others that are a single or few atoms thick – is fueled by the hope of developing better performing sensors for health and environment, more economical solar energy, and higher performing and more energy efficient electronics than is possible with current silicon electronics.
Researchers devise encryption key approach that cannot be cloned, reverse-engineered.
By A'ndrea Elyse Messer
Data breaches, hacked systems and hostage malware are frequently topics of evening news casts — including stories of department store, hospital, government and bank data leaking into unsavory hands — but now a team of engineers has an encryption key approach that is unclonable and not reverse-engineerable, protecting information even as computers become faster and nimbler.
By Walt Mills
ZIF glasses, a new family of glass, could combine the transparency of silicate glass with the nonbrittle quality of metallic glass, according to researchers at Penn State and Cambridge University, UK.
“We are sure of the transparency,” said John Mauro, professor of materials science and engineering, Penn State. “We’ll have to wait until larger samples can be made to know if it has the amazing ductility of metallic glass, but it looks promising.”
Topological control of electrons means future electronic roadways are now possible.
By Walt Mills
In the drive to find new ways to extend electronics beyond the use of silicon, physicists are experimenting with other properties of an electron beyond charge. In new work published on Dec. 7 in the journal Science, a team led by Penn State professor of physics Jun Zhu describes a way to manipulate electrons based on their energy in relation to momentum – called “valley degree of freedom.”
By Walt Mills
A team of materials scientists from Penn State, Cornell and Argonne National Laboratory have, for the first time, visualized the 3D atomic and electron density structure of the most complex perovskite crystal structure system decoded to date. Perovskites are minerals that are of interest as electrical insulators, semiconductors, metals or superconductors, depending on the arrangement of their atoms and electrons.
When it comes to recording and modulating neurons in the brain, neuroscientists face two options: noninvasive tools with low spatiotemporal resolution, or implantable tools that are highly invasive and can only record or impact a small percentage of the brain’s neurons. Mehdi Kiani, Dorothy Quiggle Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State, is working to change that.
By Walt Mills
A material based on a natural product of bones and citrus fruits, called citrate, provides the extra energy stem cells need to form new bone tissue, according to a team of Penn State bioengineers. The new understanding of the mechanism that allows citrate to aid in bone regeneration will help the researchers develop slow-release, biodegradable citrate-releasing scaffolds to act as bone-growth templates to speed up healing in the body.
The inability to alter intrinsic piezoelectric behavior in organic polymers hampers their application in flexible, wearable and biocompatible devices, according to researchers at Penn State and North Carolina State University, but now a molecular approach can improve those piezoelectric properties.
New insight into how a certain class of photovoltaic materials allows efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity could position these materials to replace traditional silicon solar cells. A study by researchers at Penn State reveals the unique properties of these inexpensive and quick-to-produce halide perovskites, information that will guide the development of next generation solar cells. The study appears September 27 in the journal Chem.
There is a scrapyard in Accra, Ghana, known as "Agbogbloshie," where e-waste goes to die — at least, that is the way it has been misrepresented and misunderstood by those on the outside. Penn State faculty members DK Osseo-Asare and Yasmine Abbas have spent years working with urban miners — scrap dealers and grassroots makers in and around Agbogbloshie — to tell a more complete story and co-develop strategies for interweaving design innovation into the circular economy of West Africa.
Every second counts for those with life-threatening injuries, especially when help is far away. A new grant will help Penn State researchers develop an innovative foam that helps seal wounds quickly — whether on the battlefield, in rural areas or in other isolated locations far from hospitals.
Physicists implement a version of Maxwell's famous thought experiment for reducing entropy
In its mission to transform the way we generate, supply, transmit, store and use energy, the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC), housed within the U.S. Department of Energy, has selected two projects with participation by the Penn State Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering for funding.
Careful sample preparation, electron tomography and quantitative analysis of 3D models provides unique insights into the inner structure of reverse osmosis membranes widely used for salt water desalination wastewater recycling and home use, according to a team of chemical engineers.
These reverse osmosis membranes are layers of material with an active aromatic polyamide layer that allows water molecules through, but screens out 99 to 99.9 percent of the salt.
Birgitt Boschitsch has earned many titles – mechanical engineer, Penn State doctoral student, bourgeoning entrepreneur. But no matter how she’s using her talents, she always remembers why she pursued engineering.
“Day-to-day, I get to work on interesting technological problems,” she said. “But there’s also a long-term societal impact that engineers can have, which is ultimately solving problems for people around the world.”
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.8 million to a team of scientists led by John Badding, professor of chemistry, physics, and materials science and engineering at Penn State, to establish the NSF Center for Nanothread Chemistry (CNC). The center will bring together a diverse group of chemists to pioneer research on nanothreads, a new form of carbon molecule. First theoretically predicted at Penn State in 2001 and then synthesized there in 2014, the atoms of nanothreads bond together in a cage-like pattern, akin to the thinnest possible threads of diamond.
A team of researchers from Penn State’s Materials Research Institute and the University of Utah has developed a wearable energy harvesting device that could generate energy from the swing of an arm while walking or jogging. The device, about the size of a wristwatch, produces enough power to run a personal health monitoring system.
By Erin Cassidy Hendrick
A self-healing membrane that acts as a reverse filter, blocking small particles and letting large ones through, is the "straight out of science fiction" work of a team of Penn State mechanical engineers.
"Conventional filters, like those used to make coffee, allow small objects to pass through while keeping larger objects contained," said Birgitt Boschitsch, graduate student in mechanical engineering.
The Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF), an Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009 and led by Penn State scientists, has once again had its funding renewed by the DOE for an additional four years. The DOE established ERFCs to accelerate fundamental research and scientific breakthroughs in energy-relevant areas to meet critical energy challenges of the 21st century. The CLSF, which is receiving its third round of funding, was one of only nine centers nationwide recommended for a four-year renewal.
Californians do not purchase electric vehicles because they are cool, they buy EVs because they live in a warm climate. Conventional lithium-ion batteries cannot be rapidly charged at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but now a team of Penn State engineers has created a battery that can self-heat, allowing rapid charging regardless of the outside chill.
By Walt Mills
For the first time, researchers have created a nanocomposite of ceramics with a two-dimensional material that opens the door to new designs of nanocomposites with a variety of applications, such as solid-state batteries thermoelectrics, varistors, catalysts, chemical sensors and much more.
By Walt Mills
A team of Penn State researchers has developed a biomimetic nanosystem to deliver therapeutic proteins to selectively target cancerous tumors. Using a protein toxin from a plant found in the Himalayan mountains, called gelonin, the researchers caged the proteins in self-assembled metal-organic framework (MOF) nanoparticles to protect them from the body’s immune system. To enhance the longevity of the drug in the bloodstream and to selectively target the tumor, the team cloaked the MOF in a coating made from cells from the tumor itself.
Forty-four graduate students competed for prizes in the PPG Elevator Pitch Competition held May 22, 2018 in the Millennium Science Complex. The five finalists will present their two-minute pitch during the Millennium Café on May 29 at 10 a.m.
Diseased cells such as metastatic cancer cells have markedly different mechanical properties that can be used to improve targeted drug uptake, according to a team of researchers at Penn State.
A new cover article appearing in the high-impact scientific journal Chemical Society Reviews, a publication of The Royal Society of Chemistry, details the emerging field of two-dimensional materials for next generation electronic devices and the challenges of contact engineering at the few-nanometer scale. In the review article “Contact Engineering for 2D Materials and Devices,” Saptarshi Das, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics, Daniel Schulman, Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering, and Andrew Arnold, Ph.D.
By Walt Mills
A piezoelectric ceramic foam supported by a flexible polymer support provides a 10-fold increase in the ability to harvest mechanical and thermal energy over standard piezo composites, according to Penn State researchers.
A team of chemists at Penn State has developed a designer’s toolkit that lets them build various levels of complexity into nanoparticles using a simple, mix-and-match process.
By Walt Mills
A precise chemical-free method for etching nanoscale features on silicon wafers has been developed by a team from Penn State and Southwest Jiaotong University and Tsinghua University in China.
In standard lithography, a photosensitive film is deposited on a silicon wafer and a pattern called a mask is used to expose the film. Then, chemicals, such as KOH solutions, etch patterns into the silicon. Further steps are required to smooth out the roughened surface.
By Walt Mills
A slippery rough surface (SRS) inspired by both pitcher plants and rice leaves outperforms state-of-the-art liquid-repellent surfaces in water harvesting applications, according to a team of researchers at Penn State and University of Texas at Dallas.
The team reports their work online today in Science Advances, an open-access journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
By Walt Mills
Development of a theoretical basis for ultrahigh piezoelectricity in ferroelectric materials led to a new material with twice the piezo response of any existing commercial ferroelectric ceramics, according to an international team of researchers from Penn State, China and Australia.
Lightning and volcanos both produce glass, and humans have been making glass from silicon dioxide since prehistory. Industrialization brought us boron-based glasses, polymer glasses and metallic glasses, but now an international team of researchers has developed a new family of glass based on metals and organic compounds that stacks up to the original silica in glass-forming ability.
Glass-forming ability is the ability of a liquid to avoid crystallization during cooling.
Creating enough nanovesicles to inexpensively serve as a drug delivery system may be as simple as putting the cells through a sieve, according to an international team of researchers who used mouse autologous — their own — immune cells to create large amounts of fillable nanovesicles to deliver drugs to tumors in mice.
Nanovesicles are tiny sacs released by cells that carry chemical messages between cells. These nanovesicles are natural delivery vehicle and useful in drug delivery for cancer treatment.
By Walt Mills
In two recent publications, teams of researchers led by Penn State provide new understanding of why synthetic two-dimensional materials often perform orders of magnitude worse than predicted, and how to improve their performance in future electronics, photonics, and memory storage applications.
By Walt Mills
Since the discovery of the remarkable properties of graphene, scientists have increasingly focused research on the many other two-dimensional materials possible, both those found in nature and concocted in the lab. However, growing high quality, crystalline 2D materials at scale has proven a significant challenge.
By Walt Mills
The most economical way to kill the bacteria that cause common food-borne illnesses – mostly caused by Salmonella enterica – is heat, but the mechanisms that kill Salmonella at lower temperatures were not fully understood until now, according to a team of researchers.
Bacteria can develop ways to cope with heat shock, so it is important to develop a complete understanding of how heat kills them.
Combining two different polymer forms can switch manufacturing of silicone parts from molding, casting and spin coating of simple forms to 3-D printing of complex geometries with better mechanical characteristics and better biological adhesion, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
For the first time, physicists have built a two-dimensional experimental system that allows them to study the physical properties of materials that were theorized to exist only in four-dimensional space.
A team of researchers from Penn State placed first at the Materials Research Society (MRS) iMatSci Innovators competition at the MRS 2017 Fall meeting in Boston. Their technology, called “LESS,” reduces the amount of flush volume required to remove solids and residue from toilet bowls by 90 percent and could improve hygiene and save significant water resources in water-scarce environments.
Providing safer drinking water to those in need may be a little easier. According to Penn State researchers, a new desalination technique is able to remove salt from water using less energy than previous methods.
“Globally, there is reduced access to fresh water,” said Bruce Logan, Evan Pugh University Professor in Engineering and the Stan and Flora Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering. “More and more, the waters that are being used are impaired, either due to salt or other contaminants, so we are seeing an increasing need to rely on less optimal water sources.”
Much as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape for a car, a team of Penn State engineers believe they have a way to create the structural framework for growing living tissue using an off-the-shelf 3-D printer.
Since their invention in 1962, semiconductor diode lasers have revolutionized communications and made possible information storage and retrieval in CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray devices. These diode lasers use inorganic semiconductors grown in elaborate high vacuum systems. Now, a team of researchers from Penn State and Princeton University have taken a big step toward creating a diode laser from a hybrid organic-inorganic material that can be deposited from solution on a laboratory benchtop.
Synthetic microspheres with nanoscale holes can absorb light from all directions across a wide range of frequencies, making it a candidate for antireflective coatings, according to a team of Penn State engineers. The synthetic spheres also explain how the leaf hopper insect uses similar particles to hide from predators in its environment.
In London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, a whisper can be heard far across the circular whispering gallery as the sound curves around the walls. Now, an optical whispering gallery mode resonator developed by Penn State electrical engineers can spin light around the circumference of a tiny sphere millions of times, creating an ultrasensitive microchip-based sensor for multiple applications.
An artificial system using a DNA-laced hydrogel can receive a chemical signal and release the appropriate protein, according to Penn State researchers. Further stimulation by the chemical signal continues to trigger a response.
A hydrogel is a network of polymer chains that attract water and can be used to simulate biological tissue.
Many systems in cells and in the human body are set up with a signal and response pathway. One of the best known is that of glucose, a small sugar that triggers the release of insulin.
By Max Wetherington, MCL Staff Scientist
In Penn State’s Materials Research Institute, an electrical engineer and a biomaterials engineer have joined their expertise to develop a flexible, biodegradable optical fiber to deliver light into the body for medical applications.
A theoretical method to control grain boundaries in two-dimensional materials could result in desirable properties, such as increased electrical conductivity, improved mechanical properties, or magnetism for memory storage or information processing, among other applications.
Every culture on the planet has its ways of producing, using and communicating through its fabrics. Today the inclusion and intertwining of electronic and other kinds of fibers into textiles transform what is possible with these fabrics and now allow us to compute through our clothing, furnishings and our buildings.
We have come a long way from leaky sulfur-acid automobile batteries, but modern lithium batteries still have some down sides. Now a team of Penn State engineers have a different type of lithium sulfur battery that could be more efficient, less expensive and safer.
The properties of materials can behave in funny ways. Tweak one aspect to make a device smaller or less leaky, for example, and something else might change in an undesirable way, so that engineers play a game of balancing one characteristic against another. Now a team of Penn State electrical engineers have a way to simultaneously control diverse optical properties of dielectric waveguides by using a two-layer coating, each layer with a near zero thickness and weight.
An international team of researchers, including scientists from Shinshu University (Japan) and the director of Penn State’s ATOMIC Center, has developed a graphene-based coating for desalination membranes that is more robust and scalable than current nanofiltration membrane technologies. The result could be a sturdy and practical membrane for clean water solutions as well as protein separation, wastewater treatment and pharmaceutical and food industry applications.
A new, lightweight composite material for energy storage in flexible electronics, electric vehicles and aerospace applications has been experimentally shown to store energy at operating temperatures well above current commercial polymers, according to a team of Penn State scientists. This polymer-based, ultrathin material can be produced using techniques already used in industry.
Learn about a science contest at Penn State - the Millennium Cafe Pitch Competition - that's helping scientists better communicate the complexity of their work.
Squid-inspired proteins can act as programmable assemblers of 2D materials, like graphene oxide, to form hybrid materials with minute spacing between layers suitable for high-efficiency devices including flexible electronics, energy storage systems and mechanical actuators, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers.
An investigational compound developed by Penn State researchers that targets and destroys cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed has been approved for phase one clinical human trials by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Finding practical hydrogen storage technologies for vehicles powered by fuel cells is the focus of a $682,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, awarded to Mike Chung, professor of materials science and engineering, Penn State.
Chung's recent research on superabsorbent polymers, which shows potential to aid in oil spill recovery and cleanup, may also be a storage vehicle for hydrogen fuel cells.
Behind the Study
One of the latest ventures to come out of Penn State, Persea Naturals, began with an unintended discovery. Gregory R. Ziegler, professor of food science in the College of Agricultural Sciences, was extracting starch from avocado pits when he noticed something interesting. When avocado pits are pulverized, an enzymatic reaction produces a bright orange color. After extracting the starch, Ziegler just couldn’t get the color to wash away.
Research Breakthrough: Cold sintering of ceramics instead of high-temperature firing
CIMP-3D Advances Direct Metal Printing: Learn how the Center is advancing and deploying additive manufacturing technology for critical applications.
The possibilities for the new field of two-dimensional, one-atomic-layer-thick materials, including but not limited to graphene, appear almost limitless. In a new paper in the journal 2D Materials, Penn State researchers report two discoveries that will provide a simple and effective way to “stencil” high quality 2D materials in precise locations and overcome a barrier to their use in next-generation electronics.
A new method to improve semiconductor fiber optics may lead to a material structure that might one day revolutionize the global transmission of data, according to an interdisciplinary team of researchers.
The structural properties of proteins that could eventually become important materials for manufacturing and medicine are revealed by a novel optical technique that works rapidly to sort through amino acid sequences even inside living bacteria, according to a team of engineers.
"There remains an urgent need for fast and efficient techniques that can screen the properties of large numbers of protein sequences with minimal sample volume or in living cells," the researchers report online in the journal Analyst.
A nanoscale product of human cells that was once considered junk is now known to play an important role in intercellular communication and in many disease processes, including cancer metastasis. Researchers at Penn State have developed nanoprobes to rapidly isolate these rare markers, called extracellular vesicles (EVs), for potential development of precision cancer diagnoses and personalized anticancer treatments.
Six University faculty members have received the 2017 Faculty Scholar Medals for Outstanding Achievement.
They are James Adair, professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and pharmacology; Adri van Duin, professor of mechanical engineering and professor of chemical engineering; Frederico Rodriguez Hertz, professor of mathematics; Christine Keating, professor of chemistry; Sophie De Schaepdrijver, professor of history; and Joshua Smyth, distinguished professor of biobehavioral health and medicine.
The textile industry in the US is making a comeback after a decades-long slump. Crucial to the resurgence of textile manufacturing in America is investment in advanced fiber technologies that add value to traditional textiles.
Written by Krista Weidner
That constant change is what motivates materials scientist Lauren Zarzar in her research.
“The world around us is always changing—materials are constantly being exposed to different external pressures, external stimuli,” says Zarzar, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and assistant professor of chemistry. “Many materials we use are static in their properties and functions, but I’m interested in designing materials that respond to changes in the environment.”
Zakaria Al Balushi, a doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering, was awarded the Materials Research Society (MRS) Gold Graduate Student Award for a presentation on his research on two-dimensional materials.
An endowed professorship is opening doors for two Penn State students to obtain laboratory experience as undergraduates. These materials science and engineering majors, Atraphol Sae-Tang and Evan McHale, are conducting research for their senior theses in the Millennium Science Complex with Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Their respective research may be just the beginning of larger, innovative projects at Penn State.
On March 8, we celebrated International Women's Day where the theme was "Be Bold For Change". See our portfolio of women influencers' accomplishments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Aiming to develop non-invasive techniques to diagnose and evaluate treatment strategies for degenerative disease and injuries.
Materials Science and Engineering is an interdisciplinary study of the properties of matter and exploration of potential uses for materials. Materials Science and Engineering draws from nearly every scientific discipline
Battery-operated medical devices implanted in human bodies have saved countless lives. A common implant, the cardioverter defibrillator, sends a jolt of electricity to the heart when needed, preventing a heart attack or heart failure. While patients’ lives are improved by this technology, if the device causes an infection or the battery needs to be replaced, more invasive procedures are necessary.
Long-Qing Chen, Donald W. Hamer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, professor of engineering science and mechanics, and professor of mathematics at Penn State, has been named a fellow of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), the society's highest honor.
Take a look at the latest advances in the science of 2D technology.
All ferroelectric materials possess a property known as piezoelectricity in which an applied mechanical force can generate an electrical current and an applied electrical field can elicit a mechanical response. Ferroelectric materials are used in a wide variety of industrial applications, from ultrasound and sonar to capacitors, transducers, vibration sensors and ultrasensitive infrared cameras. Now, an international team of scientists led by Penn State may have solved the 30-year-old riddle of why certain ferroelectric crystals exhibit extremely strong piezoelectric responses.
Many groups are working to discover new, safer ways to deliver drugs that fight cancer to the tumor without damaging healthy cells. Others are finding ways to boost the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. For the first time, researchers at Penn State have combined the two approaches by conjugating biodegradable polymer nanoparticles encapsulated with chosen cancer-fighting drugs into immune cells to create a smart, targeted system to attack cancers of specific types.
L. Eric Cross (1923-2016) passed away peacefully on the 29th of December. He was an Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Penn State, a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a founding member of the Penn State Materials Research Laboratory. He was a world leader in the field of ferroelectrics from a fundamental perspective, as an inventor of new characterization techniques and in materials applications.
A new concept in energy harvesting could capture energy that is currently mostly wasted due to its characteristic low frequency and use it to power next-generation electronic devices. In a project funded by electronics giant Samsung, a team of Penn State materials scientists and electrical engineers has designed a mechanical energy transducer based on flexible organic ionic diodes that points toward a new direction in scalable energy harvesting of unused mechanical energy in the environment, including wind, ocean waves and human motion.
The 2016 Humanitarian Materials Engineering Awards were won by four teams of Penn State researchers. Each award provides $10,000 to continue promising work that will benefit society, with a special focus on resource-scarce regions of the world.
Material Matters: A model for the design and construction of low-cost, high performance energy-efficient shelters in Burkina Faso, West Africa, by Vernelle Noel, Ph.D. candidate, School of Architecture, and Allen Kimel, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.
Controlling the way fluorinated polymer chains twist and turn may enable fast and flexible electrical circuits, according to collaborative research conducted at Penn State. The findings may offer substantial impact on the development of new polymer-type materials used in flexible electronic applications.
by Krista Weidner
Stroll through the serene garden at the entrance of the Millennium Science Complex on the University Park Campus, and it will give you no hint of what’s happening directly beneath your feet. Those shrubs and winding gravel pathways serve as the roof of the Materials Characterization Lab (MCL), where researchers collaborate to solve the wide range of materials-related problems that come their way from within the University and beyond.
Five Penn state faculty members have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the organization announced.
Xingjie Ni, the Charles H. Fetter Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, has been named a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This is the first year for the Moore Inventor Fellowships program, which recognizes early-career innovators at U.S. universities with a high potential to accelerate progress in scientific research, environmental conservation and patient care.
By creating atomic chains in a two-dimensional crystal, researchers at Penn State believe they have found a way to control the direction of materials properties in two and three dimensional crystals with implications in sensing, optoelectronics and next-generation electronics applications.
Researchers at Penn State, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company have developed methods to control defects in two-dimensional materials, such as graphene, that may lead to improved membranes for water desalination, energy storage, sensing or advanced protective coatings.
A new tool that uses a forest-like array of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes that can be finely tuned to selectively trap viruses by their size can increase the detection threshold for viruses and speed the process of identifying newly-emerging viruses. The research, by an interdisciplinary team of scientists at Penn State, is published in the October 7, 2016 edition of the journal Science Advances.
A new, inexpensive method for detecting salt concentrations in sweat or other bodily fluids has been developed by Penn State biomaterials scientists. The fluorescent sensor, derived from citric acid molecules, is highly sensitive and highly selective for chloride, the key diagnostic marker in cystic fibrosis.
“Salt concentrations can be important for many health-related conditions,” said Jian Yang, professor of biomedical engineering. “Our method uses fluorescent molecules based on citrate, a natural molecule that is essential for bone health.”
The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences' Ismaila Dabo uses computer simulations to help design and improve the materials that bring us power.
Originally from Paris, France, Ismaila Dabo has family roots in Guinea, a West African nation blessed with abundant sunshine to match the sunny optimism of its people. But despite these powerful sources of energy, there is a lack of electricity to power the country.
Researchers at Penn State and the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are pushing the limits of electron microscopy into the tens of picometer scale, a fraction of the size of a hydrogen atom.
A newly discovered method for making two-dimensional materials could lead to new and extraordinary properties, particularly in a class of materials called nitrides, say the Penn State materials scientists who discovered the process. This first-ever growth of two-dimensional gallium nitride using graphene encapsulation could lead to applications in deep ultraviolet lasers, next-generation electronics and sensors.
A device made of bilayer graphene, an atomically thin hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms, provides experimental proof of the ability to control the momentum of electrons and offers a path to electronics that could require less energy and give off less heat than standard CMOS transistors. It is one step forward in a new field of physics called valleytronics.
The energy-storage goal of a polymer dielectric material with high energy density, high power density and excellent charge-discharge efficiency for electric and hybrid vehicle use has been achieved by a team of Penn State materials scientists. The key is a unique three-dimensional sandwich-like structure that protects the dense electric field in the polymer/ceramic composite from dielectric breakdown. Their results are published today (8/22/16) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Both hobbyists' pottery and engineered high-performance ceramics are only useable after they are fired for hours at high temperatures, usually above 1000 °C. The sintering process that takes place causes the individual particles to "bake" together, making the material more compact and giving it the required properties, like mechanical strength.
Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field and factory workers from accidental releases of toxic materials, according to a team of researchers.
Five years after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused the partial meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, more than 10 million bags of contaminated topsoil sit in radioactive pyramids scattered across the landscape. Contaminated water flows through the radioactive ground into the ocean or is captured and stored on the power plant site until some method of disposal can be figured out.
In every decade for the past 30 years, the transmission electron microscope (TEM) has developed new topics that dominated the decade. In the 1990s, environmental electron microscopy allowed samples to be examined under more natural conditions. From 2000 to 2010, aberration correction brought samples into sharper focus, like a double pair of eyeglass lenses. In the current decade, looking at reactions taking place inside the TEM, in situ, is the major topic for microscopy.
Today at the Penn State Conference Center Hotel during CARBON 2016—the World Conference on Carbon, Morgan Advanced Materials, a U.K.-based global leader in engineered carbon and ceramic materials, announced a precedent-setting industrial partnership with Penn State to establish a local research and development center in Innovation Park at Penn State. The Carbon Science Center of Excellence (COE) aims to drive global developments in the field of carbon research around Morgan’s core competencies, materials and application engineering.
Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers.
"Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."
A new type of 3D printing will make it possible for the first time to rapidly prototype and test polymer membranes that are patterned for improved performance, according to Penn State researchers.
One of the founding staff members of the Materials Research Institute, Jeff Shallenberger, returned to Penn State in April after 10 years in industry. Jeff has been appointed the leader of the Surface Analysis Group within the Materials Characterization Lab (MCL). The surface group at MCL includes new XPS and Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) instrumentation as well as Auger electron spectroscopy services. Jeff’s expertise involves surface sensitive spectroscopies, particularly x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
Synthetic proteins based on those found in a variety of squid species' ring teeth may lead the way to self-healing polymers carefully constructed for specific toughness and stretchability that might have applications in textiles, cosmetics and medicine, according to Penn State researchers.
"We looked at what is common among squid teeth proteins for all species of squid we studied," said Abdon Pena-Francesch, graduate student in engineering science and mechanics. "We observed which properties changed dramatically for each set of proteins."
Namiko Yamamoto, assistant professor of aerospace engineering at Penn State, was recently awarded $376,599 through the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Navy and Marine Corps Science and Technology program for her research proposal titled “1D-Patterned Nanocomposites Structured Using Oscillating Magnetic Fields.”
By Walt Mills
In Penn State’s newest and most advanced research building, a new program is taking shape that, if successful, will revolutionize the ways in which we interact with the human brain. Led by Srinivas Tadigadapa, an electrical engineer, and Steve Schiff, a neurosurgeon with a background in physics and control engineering, this ambitious project exemplifies the convergence of research fields that are typically separated by distinct disciplinary boundaries.
Electronic materials have been a major stumbling block for the advance of flexible electronics because existing materials do not function well after breaking and healing. A new electronic material created by an international team, however, can heal all its functions automatically even after breaking multiple times. This material could improve the durability of wearable electronics.
Published in the journal ADVANCED MATERIALS
"We have developed a new, high-pressure, plasma-free approach to creating large-area, thin-film semiconductors," said John Badding, professor of chemistry, physics, and materials science and engineering at Penn State and the leader of the research team. "By putting the process under high pressure, our new technique could make it less expensive and easier to create the large, flexible semiconductors that are used in flat-panel monitors and solar cells and are the second most commercially important semiconductors."
A team of chemical engineers at Penn State has developed a beneficial biofilm with the ability to prevent the biofouling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes.
The biofilm allows membranes to limit their own thickness via a quorum-sensing circuit, and ultimately to reduce the occurrence of biofouling in membrane-based water treatment systems by releasing chemicals that repel undesirable bacteria.
The most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is responsible for nearly half a million deaths annually across Africa and Southeast Asia. Of increasing concern, this parasite is now developing resistance to common antimalarial drugs. Gaining a better understanding of the parasite's development in the body is urgently required. Now, a multi-university team, which includes Penn State, has broken the code that may lead to new defenses against the deadly parasite.
A method to rotate single particles, cells or organisms using acoustic waves in a microfluidic device will allow researchers to take three dimensional images with only a cell phone.
Acoustic waves can move and position biological specimens along the x, y and z axes, but for the first time researchers at Penn State have used them to gently and safely rotate samples, a crucial capability in single-cell analysis, drug discovery and organism studies.
A new way to use the chemical reactions of certain enzymes to trigger self-powered mechanical movement has been developed by a team of researchers at Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh. A paper describing the team's research, titled "Convective flow reversal in self-powered enzyme micropumps," is published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jeffrey Catchmark, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is working to commercialize a patent-pending biofoam pad for wound and trauma care.
The material is bioabsorbable, soft and resilient, unique properties useful in treating wounds in surgical, military, veterinary and other settings.
Penn State researcher Chunshan Song has a plan to address one of the most important issues facing the world today — reducing greenhouse gas emissions to curb the negative impacts of climate change.
A lithium-ion battery that self heats if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit has multiple applications, but may have the most impact on relieving winter "range anxiety" for electric vehicle owners, according to a team of researchers from Penn State and EC Power, State College.
A nature-inspired method to model the reflection of light from the skin of silvery fish and other organisms may be possible, according to Penn State researchers.
A technique that combines the ultrasensitivity of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) with a slippery surface invented by Penn State researchers will make it feasible to detect single molecules of a number of chemical and biological species from gaseous, liquid or solid samples. This combination of slippery surface and laser-based spectroscopy will open new applications in analytical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, environmental monitoring and national security.
For the first time, scientists have demonstrated a simple charge-based mechanism for regulating the formation and dissolution of liquid-like structures inside cells. The research provides a first step in deciphering how these poorly-understood structures, which lack outer membranes, function in the cell -- and how they may have evolved. A paper describing the research by Penn State scientists will appear on Dec. 21 as an advance online publication of the journal Nature Chemistry.
A new material that is both highly transparent and electrically conductive could make large screen displays, smart windows and even touch screens and solar cells more affordable and efficient, according to materials scientists and engineers at Penn State who have discovered just such a material.
A pilot program in Penn State's College of Engineering is providing financial support to faculty to transition their early-stage research results through a proof-of-concept phase, with the ultimate objective of forming a start-up company or licensing the technology to an established business.
The College of Engineering ENGineering for Innovation & ENtrepreneurship (ENGINE) grant program is currently funding four projects.
The development of a reusable microfluidic device for sorting and manipulating cells and other micro/nano meter scale objects will make biomedical diagnosis of diseases cheaper and more convenient in regions where medical facilities are sparse or cost is prohibitive. Researchers at Penn State have recently filed a patent to develop such a device.
A new symmetry operation developed by Penn State researchers has the potential to speed up the search for new advanced materials that range from tougher steels to new types of electronic, magnetic, and thermal materials. With further developments, this technique could also impact the field of computational materials design.
An international team of researchers, led by Penn State, has developed ultrasensitive gas sensors based on the infusion of boron atoms into the tightly bound matrix of carbon atoms known as graphene. The group is composed of researchers from six countries and includes the 2010 Noble laureate and graphene pioneer Konstantin Novoselov, and Morinobu Endo, the discoverer of carbon nanotubes.
An accidental discovery of a "quantum Etch-a-Sketch" that may lead to the next generation of advanced computers and quantum microchips has been made by team of scientists from Penn State University and the University of Chicago. The researchers accidentally discovered a new way of using beams of light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits on topological insulators, a unique class of materials with intriguing electronic properties.
The tiny transistor is the heart of the electronics revolution, and Penn State materials scientist have just discovered a way to give the workhorse transistor a big boost, using a new technique to incorporate vanadium oxide, one of a family of materials called functional oxides, into the device.
The winners of the first annual MRI Humanitarian Materials Initiative awards, sponsored by Covestro LLC (formerly Bayer MaterialScience LLC) and the Materials Research Institute (MRI), were announced at Materials Day 2015 on the University Park campus.
Commercially available cell sorters can rapidly and accurately aid medical diagnosis and biological research, but they are large and expensive, present a biohazard and may damage cells. Now a team of researchers has developed a cell sorter based on acoustic waves that can compete with existing fluorescence-activated cell sorters and is an inexpensive lab on a chip.
The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.
A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according to an international team of researchers.
A device to mix liquids utilizing ultrasonics is the first and most difficult component in a miniaturized system for low-cost analysis of sputum from patients with pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis and asthma.
A quantum mechanical transport phenomenon demonstrated for the first time in synthetic, atomically-thin layered material at room temperature could lead to novel nanoelectronic circuits and devices, according to researchers at Penn State and three other U.S. and international universities.
DFT is a powerful quantum theory developed by Walter Kohn, Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner in 1998. Researchers have applied DFT to a range of problems including materials choices for batteries, hydrogen storage, superconductivity and catalysis. It is a crucial component in the recently announced Materials Genome Initiative, which emphasizes efforts to train American innovators to discover, develop, manufacture and deploy advanced materials in a more expeditious and economical way.
A model of a malaria-infected red blood cell may lead to better ways to treat malaria, according to a team of engineers and molecular biologists who investigated how this parasite infection causes the red blood cells to stiffen.
Separating circulating cancer cells from blood cells for diagnostic, prognostic and treatment purposes may become much easier using an acoustic separation method and an inexpensive, disposable chip, according to a team of engineers.
University Park, Pa. -- An atomically thin membrane with microscopically small holes may prove to be the basis for future hydrogen fuel cells, water filtering and desalination membranes, according to a group of 15 theorists and experimentalists, including three theoretical researchers from Penn State.
A device for precisely positioning small objects using acoustic waves has now been used to position fragile protein crystals a few micrometers or less in size in the path of a crystallography X-ray beam. This technique will make it possible to collect data on previously intractable samples and will expand the scope of what is now possible with X-ray crystallography.
An interdisciplinary team of mathematicians and physicists has developed a new quantitative approach to understanding the mysterious properties of the materials called glasses. The study is described in a paper in the Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports on January 16, 2015.