News - 2021

12/14/2021

Mechanical engineering’s Lauren Judkins shares how designing custom implants could improve patient outcomes for rib injuries

By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

Advancements in additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3D printing, have the potential to significantly improve health care, allowing for surgical implants to be custom designed for each patient. Lauren Judkins, a graduate student in the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering, is adapting these advancements to enhance the recovery of patients who experienced rib injuries. 

12/14/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

The Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science recently went on a mission: To create new online content for K-12 students to learn about materials science and the impact it has on everyday lives.  

11/30/2021

Assistant Professor Shengxi Huang will explore fundamental research that could drastically enhance sensors, paving the way for more powerful electronics

By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

The United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research recently awarded Shengxi Huang, assistant professor of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering at Penn State, a Young Investigator Research Program grant to investigate fundamental, new ways to create next-generation sensors, with the goal of improving a myriad of applications in electromagnetics.  

11/30/2021

By Gabrielle Stewart

Pumping carbon dioxide underground may help combat the warming of the atmosphere but finding appropriate underground sites that could safely serve as reservoirs can be complicated.

11/22/2021

By Mariah Chuprinski

Manufacturers rely on rare earth elements, like neodymium, to create strong magnets used in motors for electronics including hybrid cars, aircraft generators, loudspeakers, hard drives and in-ear headphones. But mineral deposits containing neodymium are hard to reach and are found in just a few places on Earth.

11/18/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

Tiny defects hold key to turning inert materials into more useful chemically active ones

Demonstrating that a material thought to be always chemically inert, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), can be turned chemically active holds potential for a new class of catalysts with a wide range of applications, according to an international team of researchers.  

hBN is a layered material and monolayers can be exfoliated like in graphene, another two-dimensional material. However, there is a key difference between the two.  

11/17/2021

For years, researchers believed that the smaller the domain size in a ferroelectric crystal, the greater the piezoelectric properties of the material. However, recent findings by Penn State researchers have raised questions about this standard rule.

11/09/2021

By Mariah Chuprinski

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Everyday items, like prescription drugs, gasoline and plastics, all undergo several rounds of catalytic processes during manufacturing. Industrial catalysis involves using a catalyst, a molecule or small piece of metal anchored to a solid matrix, to accelerate a chemical reaction while remaining unchanged. Scientists are continually looking for good catalysts that react with certain molecules but not others in order to reduce the energy needed to run the catalytic process.

11/09/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

A clearer understanding of how a type of brain cell known as astrocytes function and can be emulated in the physics of hardware devices may result in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that autonomously self-repairs and consumes much less energy than the technologies currently do, according to a team of Penn State researchers.  

11/08/2021

By Matthew Carroll

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The person staring back from the computer screen may not actually exist, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) capable of generating convincing but ultimately fake images of human faces. Now this same technology may power the next wave of innovations in materials design, according to Penn State scientists.

10/27/2021

Founders use Penn State entrepreneurial ecosystem to work toward commercialization

10/27/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

Three Penn State faculty and two graduate students have received the 2021 Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award.  

The award is presented by the Materials Research Institute and recognizes interdisciplinary materials research at Penn State which yields innovative and unexpected results. The award exists thanks to a gift from Della and Rustum Roy, who are both alumni of Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and long-serving faculty in the college.

10/25/2021

By Mariah Chuprinski

Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Assistant Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics in Penn State’s College of Engineering, has been selected to present at two invite-only scientific conferences. 

10/21/2021

Materials Research Institute gives undergraduate student workers an opportunity to gain valuable experience

By Jamie Oberdick

Faced with a growing workload in its research labs, the Materials Research Institute (MRI) met the challenge by offering Penn State students an opportunity that most materials science and engineering undergraduates normally never receive. 

10/19/2021

Penn State electrical engineering professor Aida Ebrahimi receives NIH Trailblazer Award to develop a daily testing device

By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

10/15/2021

By Gabrielle Stewart

Noninvasive glucose monitoring devices are not currently commercially available in the United States, so people with diabetes must collect blood samples or use sensors embedded under the skin to measure their blood sugar levels. Now, with a new wearable device created by Penn State researchers, less intrusive glucose monitoring could become the norm. 

10/14/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

A new generation of electronics and optoelectronics may soon be possible by controlling twist angles in a particular type of bilayer 2D material used in these devices, strengthening the intrinsic electric charge that exists between the two layers, according to researchers from Penn State, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rutgers University. 

09/29/2021

Graphene, hexagonally arranged carbon atoms in a single layer with superior pliability and high conductivity, could advance flexible electronics according to a Penn State-led international research team. Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in Penn State's Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM), heads the collaboration, which recently published two studies that could inform research and development of future motion detection, tactile sensing and health monitoring devices.

09/21/2021

Torn ligaments and tendons are the bane of athletes and runners, difficult to heal and often taking months or years of rehab. Currently, the only fix for severe tears is to remove intact ligaments and tendons from another part of a patient’s body, or from a cadaver, and use them to repair a knee or ankle.

09/17/2021

From detecting subatomic particles that usher in new discoveries in astrophysics at the South Pole to driving economic development in communities across Pennsylvania, Penn State research is transforming society by furthering our understanding of the world and helping people in our own backyard, according to Penn State President Eric J. Barron.

09/16/2021

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named Penn State the lead partner to both Florida International University (FIU) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) as part of the Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) program.

09/15/2021

By Mariah Chuprinsky

Commercial planes burn hundreds of gallons of jet fuel per hour of flight, which can be costly for both airlines and the environment. But if planes were made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) instead of the heavier material aluminum, they could go greater distances with less fuel. 

Researchers in the Penn State College of Engineering have teamed up to investigate a new, low-cost CFRP manufacturing method with a $595,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research. 

09/01/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

A new family of materials that could result in improved digital information storage and uses less energy may be possible thanks to a team of Penn State researchers who demonstrated ferroelectricity in magnesium-substituted zinc oxide.

08/26/2021

The latest episode of the Growing Impact podcast features Mauricio Terrones, Verne M. Willaman Professor of physics and professor of materials science, and Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry.

08/26/2021

By Ashley J. WennersHerron

With elongated bodies, large eyes and a combination of arms and tentacles, squid appear alien. In reality, they are one of the oldest classes of animals on the planet. Squid evolved during the Jurassic period and now appear in every ocean around the world. They are ubiquitous across literature and cuisine alike, popping up in stories and on plates since at least the fourth century B.C., when Aristotle first described the beasts in “The History of Animals.” 

08/18/2021

Boise State joins Penn State, Rice for Phase II expansion of ATOMIC center

A national research center that brings together university, industry and government partners to develop atom-thin 2D coatings with wide-ranging industrial applications is expanding thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

08/06/2021

By Gabrielle Stewart

Printable electronics could cause a proliferation of smart, connected devices, from household appliances that can communicate with each other to medical diagnostic sensors that can be placed on the body to forgo invasive procedures. But the variety of printing surfaces poses a challenge, since a method used to print on a flat object may not be safe for use on human skin or applicable for complicated textures and shapes.

08/05/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

Two-dimensional materials are essential for developing new ultra-compact electronic devices, but producing defect-free 2D materials is a challenge. However, discovery of new types of defects in these 2D materials may give insight into how to create materials without such imperfections, according to a group of Penn State researchers.

08/05/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

A novel method of characterizing the structural and chemical evolution of silicon and a thin layer that governs battery stability may help resolve issues that prevent using silicon for high-capacity batteries, according to a group of researchers. 

07/22/2021

By Ashley WennersHerron

Penn State College of Engineering researchers set out to develop technology capable of localizing and imaging blood clots in deep veins. Turns out their work may not only identify blood clots, but it may also be able to treat them. 

The team, led by Scott Medina, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, published its results in Advance Healthcare Materials

07/19/2021

By Tessa M. Pick

Interdisciplinary research teams from across Penn State recently received seed grants from the Penn State Biodevices Seed Grant program and the Grace Woodward Collaborative Research in Engineering and Medicine Grant program to fund their work in advancing biodevices.

07/19/2021

By Gail McCormick

A plant cell wall’s unique ability to expand without weakening or breaking — a quality required for plant growth — is due to the movement of its cellulose skeleton, according to new research that models the cell wall. The new model, created by Penn State researchers, reveals that chains of cellulose bundle together within the cell wall, providing strength, and slide against each other when the cell is stretched, providing extensibility.

07/14/2021

Felecia Davis brings her work using responsive textiles to the multi-university team that is working to translate Black hairstyle techniques for use in architectural practice

Natural Black hair texture and styling practices – such a braiding, locking and crocheting – will help inspire and generate novel building materials and architecture structures using computational design processes in new research funded by the prestigious Graham Foundation.

06/25/2021

Finding materials that boost hydrogen production is a step toward competing economically with carbon-based fuels

By Matt Swayne

Using solar energy to inexpensively harvest hydrogen from water could help replace carbon-based fuel sources and shrink the world’s carbon footprint. However, finding materials that could boost hydrogen production so that it could compete economically with carbon-based fuels has been, as yet, an insurmountable challenge.

06/24/2021

Force field is used to create better simulations to enable more efficient, effective research

By Jamie Oberdick

More than 1,600 researchers in six of the world’s seven continents have requested parameters for a ReaxFF reactive force field developed by a Penn State researcher and used as a valuable research tool in fields as varied as biomaterials, polymers, batteries, and 3D printing. 

06/24/2021

Clive Randall honored for contributions to advanced ceramics research

By Jamie Oberdick

06/23/2021

By A'ndrea Elyse Messer

Jet packs, robot maids and flying cars were all promises for the 21st century. We got mechanized, autonomous vacuum cleaners instead. Now a team of Penn State researchers are exploring the requirements for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles and designing and testing potential battery power sources.

06/14/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

The observation of a previously undetected biological mechanism for closing gaps in living tissue improves basic understanding of the wound-healing process and may one day inform strategies to speed healing after surgery, according to a team of Penn State and Singapore researchers.

06/03/2021

Penn State faculty members DK Osseo-Asare, assistant professor of architecture and engineering design, and Yasmine Abbas, assistant teaching professor of architecture and engineering design, have designed an architectural space within the “UFA – Université des Futurs Africains [University of African Futures]” exhibition at the Le Lieu Unique, a national center for contemporary culture in Nantes, France. 

05/31/2021

By Matthew Carroll

Developing new ultrathin metal electrodes has allowed researchers to create semitransparent perovskite solar cells that are highly efficient and can be coupled with traditional silicon cells to greatly boost the performance of both devices, said an international team of scientists. The research represents a step toward developing completely transparent solar cells.

05/28/2021

A Penn State scientist studying crystal structures has developed a new mathematical formula that may solve a decades-old problem in understanding spacetime, the fabric of the universe proposed in Einstein’s theories of relativity.

“Relativity tells us space and time can mix to form a single entity called spacetime, which is four-dimensional: three space-axes and one time-axis,” said Venkatraman Gopalan, professor of materials science and engineering and physics at Penn State. “However, something about the time-axis sticks out like sore thumb.”

05/26/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

For the first time, the subsurface structural changes of silica glass due to nanoscale wear and damage has been revealed via spectroscopy, which may lead to improvements in glass products such as electronic displays and vehicle windshields, according to a team of international researchers.  

05/25/2021

By A'ndrea Elyse Messer

Fixing traumatic injuries to the skin and bones of the face and skull is difficult because of the many layers of different types of tissues involved, but now, researchers have repaired such defects in a rat model using bioprinting during surgery, and their work may lead to faster and better methods of healing skin and bones.

05/25/2021

By Ashley J. WennersHerron

Cancerous tumors thrive on blood, extending their roots deep into the fabric of the tissue of their host. They alter the genetics of surrounding cells and evolve to avoid the protective attacks of immune cells. Now, Penn State researchers have developed a way to study the relationship between solid, difficult-to-treat tumors and the microenvironment they create to support their growth. 

05/25/2021

Penn State facility enables development of new ultra-thin materials for advanced electronics

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a renewal of funding for the Materials Innovation Platform (MIP) national user facility at Penn State’s Materials Research Institute (MRI), the Two-Dimensional Crystal Consortium (2DCC). The 2DCC is one of four MIPs in the United States and was awarded $20.1 million over five years, an increase of 13% above the initial award in 2016.

05/11/2021

By Gabrielle Stewart

As more private data is stored and shared digitally, researchers are exploring new ways to protect data against attacks from bad actors. Current silicon technology exploits microscopic differences between computing components to create secure keys, but artificial intelligence (AI) techniques can be used to predict these keys and gain access to data. Now, Penn State researchers have designed a way to make the encrypted keys harder to crack. 

04/29/2021

A tiny protein of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that gives rise to COVID-19, may have big implications for future treatments, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

04/29/2021

More than 350 researchers joined a coalition to rapidly design and deploy critical equipment to frontline health care workers.

By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

One year ago, as physicians and administrators at Penn State Health’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center prepared for the impact of COVID-19, a consortium of Penn State researchers joined together to make a positive impact.

04/29/2021

By Gabrielle Stewart

In smart cities of the future, sensors distributed throughout buildings and bridges could monitor infrastructure health. Cloud-based computing could decrease traffic with real-time analysis available to commuters. Windows could tint themselves darker on sunny days or lighten to brighten a room on cloudy ones. 

04/29/2021

By Gabrielle Stewart

Current research on flexible electronics is paving the way for wireless sensors that can be worn on the body and collect a variety of medical data. But where do the data go? Without a similar flexible transmitting device, these sensors would require wired connections to transmit health data.

04/19/2021

New soft, responsive metamaterial holds potential for wide variety of societal benefits

By Jamie Oberdick

Engineered, autonomous machines combined with artificial intelligence have long been a staple of science fiction, and often in the role of villain like the Cylons in the Battlestar Galactica reboot, creatures composed of biological and engineered materials. But what if these autonomous soft machines were ... helpful? 

04/09/2021

Roy remembered for groundbreaking materials research and as a pioneer for women in science

The Penn State and materials research communities are mourning the loss of Della M. Roy, emeritus professor of materials science and a founding member of the Penn State Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), now the Materials Research Institute (MRI). Della died on March 27 at age 94.

Della was known as an international leader in the field of cement and concrete research and for being a groundbreaker for women in science.

03/26/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

Using a technique that mimics the ancient Japanese art of kirigami, a team of researchers may offer an easier way to fabricate complex 3D nanostructures for use in electronics, manufacturing and health care.

Kirigami enhance the Japanese artform of origami, which involves folding paper to create 3D structural designs, by strategically incorporating cuts to the paper prior to folding. The method enables artists to create sophisticated three-dimensional structures more easily.

03/23/2021

By Ashley J. WennersHerron

A sustainable, powerful micro-supercapacitor may be on the horizon, thanks to an international collaboration of researchers from Penn State and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Until now, the high-capacity, fast-charging energy storage devices have been limited by the composition of their electrodes — the connections responsible for managing the flow of electrons during charging and dispensing energy. Now, researchers have developed a better material to improve connectivity while maintaining recyclability and low cost. 

03/23/2021

By Gail McCormick

Two faculty members have been selected to receive Lab Bench to Commercialization (LB2C) grants from the Eberly College of Science in 2021. The competitive program provides funding for researchers in the college, enabling them to enhance the commercial potential of ongoing research and prepare them to translate their intellectual property to the marketplace.

This year's grant recipients are Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry, and Ganesh Anand, associate professor of chemistry.

03/11/2021

The recent synthesis of one-dimensional van der Waals heterostructures, a type of heterostructure made by layering two-dimensional materials that are one atom thick, may lead to new, miniaturized electronics that are currently not possible, according to a team of Penn State and University of Tokyo researchers.  

03/02/2021

Novel transistor planned as low-energy alternative to traditional silicon transistors

By Gabrielle Stewart

Computing is everywhere — in large sectors such as manufacturing and health care or devices like your smartphone, car and coffeemaker. With a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Saptarshi Das, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics, plans to develop a new nanoelectronic technology to reduce the energy consumed by computing on a global scale.

02/26/2021

Penn State faculty, staff and students are mourning the loss of Stewart Kurtz, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, who died Feb. 13 at age 89. Kurtz was known for his impact on the growth of materials science and materials engineering at Penn State, helping to set it on a path to becoming one of the global leaders in materials research.

02/17/2021

Female-led team in the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering seeks to reimagine gas turbine engines within hybrid electric propulsion systems to decrease the carbon footprint of aviation

By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

02/15/2021

By Erin Cassidy Hendrick

Through the power of additive manufacturing, these materials could be widely used in defense-related applications, including personal armor and armored vehicles

Researchers in the Penn State College of Engineering received $434,000 from the United States Army to develop additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, techniques for high strength steels and alloys.

02/03/2021

By Mariah Chuprinski

Two-dimensional materials can be used to create smaller, high-performance transistors traditionally made of silicon, according to Saptarshi Das, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics (ESM) in Penn State’s College of Engineering. 

02/02/2021

By Mariah Chuprinski

A new kind of wearable health device would deliver real-time medical data to those with eye or mouth diseases, according to Huanyu  “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM). 

01/27/2021

By A'ndrea Elyse Messer

Range anxiety, the fear of running out of power before being able to recharge an electric vehicle, may be a thing of the past, according to a team of Penn State engineers who are looking at lithium iron phosphate batteries that have a range of 250 miles with the ability to charge in 10 minutes.

01/27/2021

By Jamie Oberdick

Piezoelectric materials hold great promise as sensors and as energy harvesters but are normally much less effective at high temperatures, limiting their use in environments such as engines or space exploration. However, a new piezoelectric device developed by a team of researchers from Penn State and QorTek remains highly effective at elevated temperatures.

01/22/2021

Reactive molecules, such as free radicals, can be produced in the body after exposure to certain environments or substances and go on to cause cell damage. Antioxidants can minimize this damage by interacting with the radicals before they affect cells.

01/13/2021

A desalination membrane acts as a filter for salty water: Push the water through the membrane, get clean water suitable for agriculture, energy production and even drinking. The process seems simple enough, but it contains complex intricacies that have baffled scientists for decades — until now.

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