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Program Highlights

Presentation of Light-Matter Interactions for Middle School Students West Las Vegas Middle School, May 2011

July 20, 2011

A series of presentations on light-matter interactions have been given at the West Las Vegas Middle School. These have served to promote
connections between local schools and PREM program.
Three NMHU PREM students organized four different science presentations, each approximately one hour in length for 80 students total
for the science class of Mr. Michael Tenorio (7th grade).

Topics covered:

  • Economic problems of electric power generation
  • Light waves-particles
  • Light sources
  • Solar cells
  • Flexible screens

Bi Nanowires as Topological Insulators

May 21, 2011

1 Howard University, Washington, DC 20059
2 Academy of Sciences, Chisinau, Moldova
3 International Laboratory of High Magnetic Fields and Low Temperatures, Wroclaw, Poland.
4 Department of Physics, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

In topological insulators (TI) there is conduction by the surface Rashba states and inside of the material. A group lead by Tito Huber of Howard  University and the PREM, has demonstrated surface state conduction in Bi nanowires. In wires, surface conduction becomes dominant after it undergoes a semimetal-semiconductor transition driven by quantum confinement for diameters close to 50 nm.

Light-Matter Interactions: Theory and Applications (LMITA)

August 2, 2010

Download NMHU-PREM-0934212-X-ray diffraction

Porous materials for gas storage studied in collaboration with LANL

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) combines a drug (called a photosensitizer) with a specific type of light to kill cancer cells.

The general goal of LMITA Thrust 1 to find efficient synthetic route to obtain E,E-3,5-bis(thienylidene)piperid-4-ones with donor substituents, that will be tested as materials for photodynamic therapy as photosensitizer.

Bifunctional Catalyst Efficiently Converts Cellulose into Soluble Renewable Feedstocks

August 2, 2010

The energy content of the world’s standing terrestrial biomass carbon (i.e., the renewable, above-ground biomass that could be harvested and potentially used as an energy resource) is estimated as approximately 100 times the world’s total annual energy consumption.1

Porous silica with acid and metallic catalytic functions.

The catalytic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into intermediates that can be used to produce fuels and high-value chemicals, as well as substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks in an integrated biorefinery, is a novel technology that can help meet the growing energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

California State University Northridge – Princeton University MRSEC PREM: Multidisciplinary Research and Education in Computational Materials Science

April 15, 2010

The objective of the PREM program is to expand and strengthen the research and educational activities of the multidisciplinary W. M. Keck Computational Materials Theory Center (CMTC) at California State University Northridge (CSUN), a Hispanic-serving institution, by forming a formal and long-term collaborative relationship with the Princeton Center for Complex Materials (PCCM). The goals of the PREM program are to: (1) foster multidisciplinary and innovative research in computational materials science; (2) educate and train students in cutting-edge computational materials science; (3) stimulate and develop strong university-industry-national laboratory partnerships; and (4) increase recruitment, retention, and degree attainment of minority students.

JSU-UCSB PREM’s Nano Day Activity in Science Museum: Impact on the Community

March 9, 2010

JSU-UCSB PREM Participants presented Nanoscience exhibition at the Capital Science Museum at Jackson, MS. During the exhibition, several demos were used to demonstrate and engage the audience on the beauty of Nanoscience.. The overall goal of the event was to expose and prepare community students to consider various Nanobased science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. We have displayed 15 materials science projects and kid’s activities attracted over 400 kids. The program began at 9 am with exhibition on Nanoscale Science and Engineering. We presented a series of hands-on nano exhibits in the Museum lobby.

Acknowledgements: We thank NSF-PREM grant # DMR-0611539 for their generous funding.


Real Time Monitoring of the Shape Evolution of Branched Gold Nanostructure

March 9, 2010

Dulal Senapati, Anant K Singh and Paresh Chandra Ray

Department of Chemistry, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS, USA

Acknowledgements: Dr. Ray thanks NSF-PREM grant # DMR-0611539 and NIH-SCORE grant # S06GM 008047 and DOD grant # W 912HZ-06-C-0057 for their generous funding

We have demonstrated that real time evolution of intermediates of colloidal nanocrystals can be fully accessed during the synthesis of anisotropic shaped gold nanoparticles.  Our experimental data provide unique and convincing information for understanding the growth mechanisms of how the shape control works for gold anisotropic nanocrystals

(Published in Chem. Phys. Lett., 2010, 487, 88-91 )

Enzymatic and Multiphase Solution Processing of Lignocellulosic Biomass

January 22, 2010

The aim of the project is to develop a continuous and environmentally friendly process using twin screw extrusion technology for enzymatic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to simple sugars and other high value end products. A significant finding of our current research is that commercially available enzymes (cellulases) are active in N-methyl morpholine oxide (NMMO) - a solvent used for dissolving cellulose. Till date, most solvents used for dissolving cellulose (ionic liquids) kill the cellulases. This prevents a continuous process from being developed thus significantly increasing the costs of processing. Our finding will cut down on these costs and help develop a continuous process for biomass conversion. Future work will involve carrying out the enzymatic reactions in the twin screw reactor and developing the continuous process.

UPRM PREM Students Did It Again

February 23, 2009

The five technical divisions of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) -Electronic, Magnetic & Photonic Materials, Extraction & Processing, Light Metals, Materials Processing & Manufacturing, and Structural Materials - sponsored the Student Poster Contest during the 2009 TMS Annual Conference & Exhibition held in San Francisco on February 15-19, 2009. The Poster Contest winners representing the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez Material Advantage Chapter were:

UPRM PREM Students Win Sigma Xi Award

December 9, 2008

During the 2008 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference held in Washington, DC on November 20-23, 2008 UPRM PREM student Ronald Carrasquillo (Chemical Engineering) presented the poster titled "Development of an Alternative Aluminum Matrix Composite for Bearing Applications," which was co-authored by undergraduate students Roberto Rivera (Chemical Engineering) and Yarimar Martínez (Industrial Engineering), and graduate student Tunde Adelakin (Mechanical Engineering). Their poster participated in the Student Poster Competition and received the Superior Award in the Engineering category along with the works by Shiv Gaglani (Harvard University) and Faisal Reza (Duke University). The award consisted of a diploma, a medal and cash prize.

UPRM PREM Team Gets $5M for New Nanotechnology Center

August 30, 2008

The National Science Foundation has recently awarded $5 millions to the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez for the establishment of a nanotechnology center focused on research and education of biomedical and energy-driven systems and applications. This five-year project, set to start on September 1st, is led by doctors Carlos Rinaldi, Arturo Hernández, Oscar Perales, Jeannette Santos and O. Marcelo Suárez (PI) and receives funds from the CREST (Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology) program administered by NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources. This CREST principal investigators are also researchers of the UPRM PREM project on Nanostructured and Functional Materials.

UPRM PREM Students Establish First MRS University Chapter off the Mainland

August 1, 2008

In July 2008 the Board of Directors of the Materials Research Society (MRS) has unanimously approved the establishment of an MRS chapter at the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez (UPRM).

UW PREM Research Professor Named ASM Fellow

July 27, 2008

The American Society for Materials (ASM International) has named PREM professor, Dr. Kumar Sridharan a Fellow of the society. Dr. Sridharan is a distinguished research professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Engineering Physics Department.

A Summer of Accomplishments: PREM's Impact on the Community

July 11, 2008

The summer of 2008 has become the most active season for outreach to diverse groups for the UPRM/UW PREM. Besides the scheduled research activities involving public high school teachers, this PREM partnered with other UPRM initiatives intended to attract and retain students interested in Engineering and Science.

In early July five teachers from Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo, and San Sebastián have completed their projects on themes ranging from nanoparticles for explosive detection to synthesis of high coercivity nanostructured oxides. The outcomes of the projects were praised by representatives from the Puerto Rico Department of Education who attended the final presentations.

2008 Teachers’ Summer Activities

Critical Current Density Enhancement Found in Mg Diboride Doped with Ta

June 16, 2008

The doping of MgB2 precast material with 2 at.% and 5 at.% TaB2 under varying high energy processing ball milling conditions with Pulverisete-4 and Spex mills was carried in order to investigate critical current enhancement condition. Higher critical current densities were achieved with the 5 at.% TaB2-doped MgB2 than with the 2 at.% doped MgB2. The measurements showed that maximum critical current densities were 398.8 kA/cm2 and 474.1 kA/cm2 (both measured at 2 Tesla fields) for the Spex mill for 2 at.% and 5 at.% doping respectively. Corresponding to the same time of milling, the Pulverisette-4 mill operated at 800 rpm yielded materials with critical current densities of 305 kA/cm2 and 295 kA/cm2 corresponding to 2 at.% and 5 at.% doping respectively.

Unusually High Magnetic Response in Nanocrystals for Data Storage

June 9, 2008

Cobalt ferrite (CoFe2O4) possesses excellent chemical stability, good mechanical hardness and a large positive first order crystalline anisotropy constant, making it a promising candidate for magneto-optical recording media. In addition to the precise control on the composition and structure of the ferrite, the success of its practical application relies on the capability of controlling crystal size within the superparamagnetic and single domain limits. Accordingly, cobalt ferrite nanocrystals were prepared by a modified aqueous processing route under boiling conditions. The synthesis protocols were modified to achieve a fine control on crystal growth and final size at the nanoscale by tuning of the solution oversaturation. These conditions permitted to achieve room-temperature coercivity as high as 4.6 kOe (from typical 600 Oe) in 12-14 nm CoFe2O4 crystals.

Quantum Simulation of Materials at Micron Scales and Beyond

June 2, 2008

Quantum Simulation of Materials at Micron Scales and Beyond The ability to perform quantum simulations of materials properties over length scales that are relevant to experiments represents a grand challenge in computational materials science.