• S.A.M. Alum Wins Research Award
    Sampa Maiti in the lab When it comes to extraordinary research, we Fire Up to the occasion. Science of Advanced Materials graduate, Dr. Sampa Maiti, was recently awarded the 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies for her dissertation titled “Design and Synthesis of Novel Orthoester-Containing Glycosides and Glycoconjugates for Delivery and Formulation”.

    “I am really honored to receive the award. I am immensely grateful for the support and love I have received from the department during my Ph.D. journey,” said Maiti. “It has been an incredible experience. I also would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Wenjun Du, for nominating me for this award and for his constant support.”
  • Physicst Presents Exciting Results in Nature Communications
    Valeri PetkovValeri Petkov, a faculty member in the Department of Physics and the Science of Advanced Materials Program, recently published his work on novel catalysts.

    Oxidation reactions account for more than 60% of the chemicals used in the industry to produce pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, and various functionalized hydrocarbon molecules, and play a vital role in the remediation of hydrocarbon pollutants and the production of sustainable energy.

    Gaseous O2 is the most commonly used oxidant, but must often be converted to a more active form, e.g. split into two single oxygen atoms, before the oxidation occurs. This requires effective catalysts to activate the oxygen molecule.

    Using state-of-the-art experimental techniques like in situ high-energy x-ray diffraction at the Advanced Photon source of the Argonne National Laboratory, Petkov and collaborators from SUNY, Binghamton, revealed unknown and important properties that may lead to a paradigm shift in the design of active and stable catalysts for catalytic oxidation reactions.
  • CMU Physics Faculty Member Awarded Federal Research Grant
    Juan PeraltaCMU physics faculty member, Juan Peralta, was recently awarded a $271,000 research grant by the U.S. Department of Energy.
    This is a continuation of a grant previously awarded to Dr. Peralta that will allow a Ph.D. student to work along side Dr. Peralta to develop computational tools for materials discovery.

    Physical and chemical processes and material properties are critical for energy applications such as catalytic processes involving transition metals or the properties of nanoparticles used to increase the rate of oxygen reduction to water in fuel cells.

    To drive innovation in these areas, it is of paramount importance to understand the properties of these materials.

    Here is where Dr. Peralta’s first-principles computer simulations derived from fundamental quantum mechanics play a key role as tools to predict new phenomena, determine the material's parameters needed for modeling its behavior, and, more generally, analyze experimental results.
  • Nailing down water?
    Dr. Chananate Uthaisar receiving the 2019 BrightVolt Employee of the Year awardWater is paramount in nearly all areas of science. Yet, computational methods that are remarkably successful in predicting the properties of many materials, fail for water. A team from CMU in collaboration with Temple University and University of Texas at El Paso showed recently that removing the so-called self-interaction error, which is an artifact that is intrinsically embedded in popular computational methods, helps to improve the description of water. This work is part of a large collaborative effort to advance computational methods that help understand the fundamental properties of molecules and materials.

  • Former SAM student scores Employee of the Year award 
    Dr. Chananate Uthaisar receiving the 2019 BrightVolt Employee of the Year awardDr. Chananate Uthaisar, a CMU Science of Advanced Materials alumni, recently received the 2019 BrightVolt Employee of the Year award. Uthaisar is a Senior Battery Engineer at BrighVolt, a company that designs and manufacturers recharageable solid-state batteries.

    BrighVolt CEO, Todd Peters, went on to say that Uthaisar does an extraordinary job at role modeling the company values on a consistent basis.

    Congragulations Dr. Uthaisar, Fire Up Chips!

  • SAM student's research makes cover of journal 
    Sampa Maiti in the lab / cover of the Journal of the American Chemical SocietySampa Maiti, a CMU Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. student, recently had her research featured on the cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The article illustrates the interactions of poly(orthoesters) based polymeric nanoparticles with the immune system, inducing the release of cytokines and other biomolecules to regulate downstream responses.

  • Making flame retardants less toxic
    Researchers in CMU’s science of advanced materials program use organic plant material
    Bob Howell and student in labA research team in Central's science of advanced materials doctoral program in the College of Science and Engineering has been working to develop less toxic and biodegradable flame retardants. Newly retired Professor Bob Howell presented the team's findings at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting and Exposition in August.

    “We are looking for safer materials, a better environment and a sustainable future.” — Bob Howell, professor emeritus, science of advanced materials

  • May 21, 2019
    Machine Learning Applied to Materials Science
    Rajendra Joshi and an image representing his research A research article by Rajendra Joshi, a Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. student from Nepal, was recently published in the journal, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

    His research, supported by grants from the Department of Energy, proposes a method, based on machine learning, that “allows us to do a very quick evaluation of the voltage that a material will provide in a battery,” said CMU physics faculty member Juan Peralta. “Previously, testing materials was time consuming and expensive.”

    If a new material is found to provide useful a voltage, scientists and engineers can use that material to create new battery technologies, thus Rajendra Joshi’s work allows for quicker and cheaper development of real world devices such as laptop computers and cellular phones.

    View Joshi’s article here.

    View the online predictor here.
  • S.A.M. student nabs APS award
    Neerajan Nepal receiving distinguished travel awardCMU Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. student, Neerajan Nepal, recently received a Distinguished Student travel award from the Forum of International Physics of the American Physical Society (APS). The prize supported (in part) his trip to the APS April meeting in Denver. There he presented a talk on "Beta-Decay Experiment for Rapid Neutron-Capture Process Nucleosynthesis", which described his recent work measuring the radioactive decay of very unstable isotopes at the RIKEN laboratory in Japan.
  • S.A.M. student brings home research award from American Chemical Society
    SAM student Sampa Maiti received one of four Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research awards from the American Chemical Society and was recognized at the ACS National Meeting March 31-April 4 in Orlando, FL. She also received the Wiley Book Award (publisher of the Journal of Polymer Science), also awarded to 4 students at the meeting, and the Best Poster Presenter award for her work on “Design and Synthesis of Functional Sugar Poly(orthoester) Nanomaterials with Low Immunogenicity.” Congrats to Sampa for this important recognition of her work, with advisor Dr. Wenjun Du in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry!
  • Three S.A.M. students granted Ph.D.'s at Saturday's graduation
    Dr. Swati Naik, Dr. Yazan Maswadeh and Dr. Andrew Supka with Advisors Valeri Petkov and Marco Fornari Dr. Swati Naik, Dr. Yazan Maswadeh and Dr. Andrew Supka received their doctorates from the Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. program on Saturday, December 15, 2018. Advisors Valeri Petkov and Marco Fornari celebrate with them here. Congratulations, graduates!

  • S.A.M. Student's Research Poster Chosen For Display
    Tommaso Costanzo and Chiara Ziletti, both poster display recipientsThis year the Museum of Cultural and Natural History created a refereed schibition of the best-presented CMU student research from SCREE. SAM student Tommaso Costanzo's poster was among those chosen for summer display at the Museum. While on display, visitors may vote for the winn of a $100 gift card to recognize the best-presented research from SCREE 2018. Please visit the Museum on the 1st floor of Rowe Hall and vote.

  • Fired Up and Focused
    Meet Neerajan Nepal
    Neerajan NepalNeerajan Nepal came to Central Michigan University for the physics. He stayed for the nuclear astrophysics. After graduating with an undergraduate degree from Tribhuvan University in the country of Nepal, Neerajan was in search of a graduate school where he could conduct research in an academic setting. That's when he found CMU. "I started to read about CMU, and I was impressed by the research and other academic opportunities," he said. He was so impressed he decided after earning his master's degree to stay at CMU and pursue a Ph.D. When looking at CMU's doctorate programs, Neerajan again wanted to focus on research. So, he turned to the stars.

  • $4.8 million grant boosts physics
    CMU profs in lead roles of multiple-university search to fix a flawed theory
    Juan Peralta and Alan JacksonTwo Central Michigan University physics professors are at the forefront of a four-year, $4.8 million U.S. Department of Energy research grant. Koblar Alan Jackson is the project director named in the grant, and his physics department colleague Juan Peralta is a senior investigator. The project spans five universities and 10 senior scientists. "What we're doing, it's big," said Jackson. The researchers aim to solve a long-running challenge in molecular modeling, the science of using computer calculations to make predictions about materials at the atomic or molecular level.

  • Science of Advanced Materials student to deliver keynote at International Conference
    Yoseph DanielS.A.M. student, Yoseph Daniel, will be giving the keynote talk at the upcoming 2016 International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC) Conference August 14-19 in Orlando, Florida. Daniel's keynote is titled "Thermal Degradation of Phosphorus Compounds Derived from Isosorbide bis-Acrylate". He will also be giving a second presentation, "Thermal Stability of Poly(vinylchloride) Formulations Containing Iron Additives as a Replacement for Antimony Oxide". Daniel works with Dr. Bob Howell, professor of chemistry at Central Michigan University, and is currently completing his dissertation in the Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. program.
  • International Collaborators Study Nuclear Density at Accelerator
    physicists from the University of Oslo (Norway), Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory met with OHIO research personnel and graduate students at the Edwards Accelerator Lab to conduct experiments to observe nuclear reaction pathways for making heavier elements.

  • CMU professor earns U.S. Department of Energy Honor
    Physics researcher granted prestigious Early Career Award
    Matt RedshawWhen Matthew Redshaw joined Central Michigan University in 2012, part of the Dow Science Complex was remodeled to install a large superconducting ​magnet for his specialized research in nuclear physics. The magnet is one of the central components of a mass spectrometer that Redshaw, assistant professor of physics, is building in order to precisely measure atomic masses.

  • CMU physicist receives President's Award for outstanding research and creative achievement
    Juan Peralta receiving award from provostOn Wednesday March 23 2016, Juan Peralta was recognized by the University for his achievements in research and was awarded the President's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement. The award recognizes senior, tenured faculty members for their contributions to research and academic inquiry throughout their carreer. It was started in the academic year 1995-96 and has been so far awarded to 42 individuals. According to the official figures the Department of Physics at CMU has received 12% of the total awards. Including Juan's award Physics leads the per capita number of awards with 36% of the faculty members in the prestigious roster. Physics is followed by the Department of Psychology and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work with 18% and the Department of Mathematics with 15%.
  • SAM student published in top Nanoscience journal
    Science of Advanced Materials student, Burak Ozdemir, published his research in Nano Letters, one of the top journals in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology! In collaboration with experimentalists at the University of Maryland, Burak helped understand the intercalation mechanism of potassium in graphene oxide using computational tools. K-intercalated graphene oxide is found to be a metal with significantly increased transparency.

  • Du's research on glucose poly(ortho esters) featured on cover of Angewandte Chemie
    February 13, 2014 - Assistant professor of chemistry and Science of Advanced Materials research scientist Wenjun Du recently had his research featured as the cover story on the journal, Angewandte Chemie.

    His paper - "Synthesis of Highly pH-Responsive Glucose Poly(orthoester)" - hypothesizes that pH-responsive polymers have great potential in biomedical applications, including targeted drug delivery.

    Since tumors and inflammatory tissues tend to have low pH values and existing pH-responsive materials, such as polyketal copolymers, had known limitations and were falling short in terms of treating conditions optimally, Du and his research colleagues synthesized a glucose poly(orthoester) as a highly pH-responsive polymer to address these issues. Their research demonstrates the first, successful creation of a new class of sugar-based polymers, in which the sugar units are connected through orthoester linkages.

    Ths new discovery has broad applications and may be useful in the synthesis of highly pH-responsive materials that could selectively and rapidly deliver drugs to diseased tissues with low pH values.

    Du and his team plan to continue their study of glucose poly (ortho esters), with additional research studies already underway in his laboratory.

    Angewandte Chemie is one of the premier chemistry journals in the world. It is the only journal in the field that delivers a mix of review articles, highlights and communications weekly, and also regularly publishes Nobel lectures in chemistry and related fields.

  • CMU physics professor invited to provide expert commentary on materials research in Physics' Viewpoint paper
    February 13, 2014, 2013 - Physics professor and Science of Advanced Materials research scientist Marco Fornari was recently published in Physics, the online publication of the American Physical Society that spotlights exceptional research. Fornari was invited to write a Viewpoint commentary on the research article, "Comprehensive Search for New Phases and Compounds in Binary Alloy Systems Based on Platinum-Group Metals, Using a Computational First-Principles Approach," explaining the results of recent research conducted at Brigham Young University to physicists in other subfields.

    In his invited paper, Fornari notes that being able to use powerful computers to search for new and improved functional materials - particularly new platinum-group-metal-containing alloys that have proven useful for a wide range of industrial applications - yields significant time-saving by allowing researchers to explore potentially useful chemical combinations of elements and structures in a fraction of the time that real experiments would take. Results are organized in a database that researchers then go through to analyze the relationships between multiple materials. Through their analysis, they create what are called "property descriptors" - quantities that link the calculated microscopic and macroscopic properties - and what research scientists use as a compass to navigate these complex, multidimensional materials databases. They hope that this "high-throughput materials modeling" will expedite the discovery and development of new materials, and their applications to real-world issues.

    The researchers at Brigham Young University used a supercomputer and software called AFLOW to process 153 binary combinations of platinum group and transition metals, calculating the energies of 250 different possible crystal structures. They were able to identify crystal structures that had already been found, but also discovered 28 new, unexplored alloys that could have potential use.

    Fornari indicates in his review that although years might be needed to examine all of the leads yielded by this particular study, it highlights the need for greater standardization in how materials are catalogued in various databases. This would help achieve a long-term goal of high-throughput materials modeling of allowing searches to automatically generate new descriptors for new functionalities, and in turn, enhancing material scientists' research abilities through data mining to expedite the discovery of new materials and their potential uses.

  • Two CMU physics professors awarded research grants from National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy
    February 11, 2014 - Two CMU Science of Advanced Materials faculty members were recently recognized for their research:

    Assistant professor of physics Veronica Barone was awarded a Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) grant from the National Science Foundation to work on sodium-ion batteries research in collaboration with professor Liangbing Hu at the University of Maryland. Due to the low cost and abundance of sodium on Earth, sodium-ion batteries are emerging as a viable technology to meet the requirements for transportation and other energy storage applications. Although sodium is much more abundant than lithium, sodium ions have a much larger size, which poses grand challenges for sodium-ion technologies. Barone's research group at CMU will address these issues by utilizing computational tools to investigate possible sodium-ion storage mechanisms, such as intercalation and cluster formation.

    Professor of physics Koblar Alan Jackson has received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Science to study the physics and chemistry of cluster-based catalyst systems using computer simulations. The grant will support Science of Advanced Materials and CMU Department of Physics graduate students who have research interests in computational studies of atomic clusters and nanomaterials.
  • CMU professor publishes new book about high performance polymers
    November 26, 2013 - Central Michigan University professor of chemistry and Science of Advanced Materials researcher Bob A. Howell recently published "Foundations of High Performance Polymers: Properties, Performance and Applications" along with U.K. polymer scientist Abbas Hamrang. This 332-page book presents phenomena associated with the remarkable features of high performance polymers and also provides an update on applications of modern polymers.

    Helping to fill the gap between theory and practice, "Foundations of High Performance Polymers" offers new research insights into structure-property relationships, synthesis and purification, and potential applications of high performance polymers. The collection of topics discussed reflects the diversity of recent advances in modern polymers with a broad perspective that scientists, graduate students and engineers will also find useful.

    Howell's research interests include flame retardants for polymeric materials, new polymeric fuel-cell membranes, polymerization techniques, thermal methods of analysis, polymer-supported organoplatinum antitumor agents, barrier plastic packaging, bioplastics, and polymers from renewable sources. A particular current research interest is the development of nontoxic, environmentally friendly flame retardants based on renewable biosources.
  • SAM professor one of 15 recipients of Department of Defense MURI Research Award
    June 6, 2013 - A team of six scientists, including Science of Advanced Materials and physics professor Marco Fornari, is receiving $8.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to develop and apply computational methods that will replace expensive and rare chemical elements from critical technologies. Their award-winning research proposal, "Rare Element Replacement Strategies," is a combined effort between Fornari and his colleagues at Duke University, Brigham Young University, University of North Texas and University of Maryland - College Park. The team is receiving one of 15 awards given by the DoD to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. Totaling $105 million, the awards are presented by the Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research under the DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators across traditional science and engineering disciplines to accelerate research progress. Fornari, along with his research colleagues, will investigate topological decompositions and spectral sampling algorithms for elements substitution in critical technologies. In simpler terms, he will develop and apply methods to design advanced materials with improved functionalities for applications that are crucial for the mission of the DoD. The Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 16 topics important to the DoD and received a total of 193 papers, followed by 43 proposals. The 15 awards handed out are for a five year period, with the research expected to produce significant advances in capabilities for U.S. military forces, and to open up entirely new lines of research. A total of 43 academic institutions are expected to participate in these select 15 research projects.
  • SAM student, Phillip Medina, receives National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
    April 26, 2013 - 2012 graduate and chemistry major Phillip Medina recently received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive, multi-year award will provide him with $30,000 per year to help cover his graduate school expenses.

    Medina is continuing his education at CMU where he is enrolled in his second year as a graduate student in the Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) program. He plans to continue his research on lithium-ion batteries with chemistry professor and SAM researcher Bradley Fahlman, searching for methods to increase the potential capacity of the batteries through the use of porous silicon and vertically aligned nanowires.

    The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

    NSF received over 13,000 submitted applications for the 2013 competition. Medina was one of only 2,000 recipients who received an award.
  • Howell receives international award for work in thermal analysis
    April 22, 2013 - Central Michigan University professor of chemistry and polymer science Bob Howell has received the 2012 North American Thermal Analysis Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in thermal analysis research.

    "Thermal analysis has to do with just the response of materials to a change in temperature," Howell said. "You can learn about the structure of the material based on the way it responds, and so that's the fundamental technique."

    Howell applies his research in a number of ways, focusing primarily on studying polymer degradation at different temperature ranges. For example, his research to address the issue of foul taste and brown streaking in milk jugs - and his proposed solution - helped reduce the cost of milk production and was considered particularly noteworthy by the society.

    The solution to issues with milk containers linked back to Howell's research with The Dow Chemical Co., where in the mid-1980s he was asked by Dow to experiment with using polymeric materials in food packaging, and successfully adapted the materials to stop the streaking.

    Most containers are made with different layers of various polymer materials, each with a different composition. The elimination of the streaking allows the milk to be stored at room temperature. "Because no oxygen gets in, the milk doesn't spoil," Howell said.

    Howell has also worked to remove odors from degrading polystyrene, the plastic material used in packaging food, such as cookies and pastries.

    The Outstanding Achievement award from NATAS is unique to a university of CMU's size. Given annually, it recognizes distinguished achievement in the field of thermal analysis, including but not restricted to thermogravimetry, differential thermal methods and effluent gas analysis. The award recipient must have performed outstanding work in the utilization, creation or refinement of thermal techniques of generally wide interest and impact.

    Howell is the 44th recipient of this award, which represents the highest honor bestowed by the Society.
  • Fahlman selected to be contributing editor for InterNano
    April 11, 2013 - Professor of chemistry and Science of Advanced Materials researcher Bradley Fahlman has been selected to be a Contributing Editor for InterNano, a project of the National Nanomanufacturing Network. Fahlman will generate original content about topics in nanomanufacturing and write expert reviews based on relevant and recent news in the industry.

    Nanomanufacturing is the controllable manipulation of materials structures, components, devices and systems at the nanoscale (1 to 100 nanometers) in one, two and three dimensions for large-scale reproducibility of value-added components and devices. It remains the essential bridge between the discoveries of the nanosciences and real-world nanotechnology products.

    The National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) is an alliance of academic, government and industry partners that cooperate to advance nanomanufacturing strength in the U.S. and serves as a catalyst for progress by facilitating and promoting workshops, roadmapping, inter-institutional collaborations, technology transition, test beds and information exchange services.