Category Archives: Research

Yap’s Review Article Top 10 in 2017

Yoke Kin Yap in a lab with lab coat and safety glassesFrontier Review article published by Yoke Khin Yap was one of the Top 10 most downloaded articles published in Environmental Science: Nano in 2017 and was included in a feature collection showcasing the journal’s Most Downloaded Articles. This article, entitled “Water Purification: Oil-water Separation by Nanotechnology and Environmental Concerns” was co-authored by Chee Huei Lee, Bishnu Tiwari, and Dongyan Zhang.

Environmental Science: Nano is a high-impact journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. This journal is designated to publish articles on nanomaterial applications and interactions with environmental and biological systems.


Do the Room Temp Melt: Physics of Soft Materials

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 4.59.40 PMSalt-doped block polymers and ionic liquids—it’s a thermodynamic party. Better physics simulations crank up the possibilities for new composite materials.

Issei Nakamura is a theoretical physicist bringing a reality check to soft materials development. Specifically, he models the complex interactions of ionic liquids and block polymers, which together create salt-doped block polymers.

The ionic liquid squishes in between all the loops and strands of the block polymer. Because an ionic liquid can assemble a block polymer into millions of structures with wide-ranging properties, the possibilities are nearly endless. The composite materials show promise for battery electrodes, fuel cell membranes, electrochemical sensors and even artificial muscles.

The catch is that the materials have to get their thermodynamic groove figured out. Right now, untwining the conditions and properties of all those possible structures is like learning to tango blindfolded. Researchers and engineers can go through the motions, but understanding the sequence, the steps—and why—requires a new way to look at the system. And that’s where Nakamura steps in. Read the full story in Unscripted.


Carn’s Work Among NASA Highlights

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 4.19.36 PMIn reviewing the year’s highlights, NASA mentioned a study led by Simon Carn (GMES) that shared out the world’s first truly global inventory of volcanic sulfur dioxide emissions.

Using data from the Dutch-Finnish Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Earth Observing System Aura satellite launched in 2004, Carn and his team compiled emissions data from 2005 to 2015 to produce annual estimates for each of 91 presently emitting volcanoes worldwide.

The dataset will help refine climate and atmospheric chemistry models and provide more insight into human and environmental health risks. Read more and watch a video on NASA’s 2017 highlights and learn about volcano breath in the Michigan Tech news story about Carn’s research.


Electron Probe Microanalysis of Merelaniite, a Newly Discovered Mineral

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.45.02 PMMicroanalytical and metrology instrumentation supplier CAMECA held an international competition soliciting images to consider for its 2018 calendar. CAMECA selected a composite image of the new mineral merelaniite by John Jaszczak (Physics) and colleague John Spratt (Natural History Museum, London) as one of the winners, and appears as the highlight for the January 2019 calendar pages.


Top Ten: Pierre Auger Observatory

Image by Tobias Winchen
Image by Tobias Winchen

The Pierre Auger Observatory, of which David Nitz and Brian Fick are both a part, received international recognition as one of the Top Ten Physics World 2017 Breakthroughs of the Year.

In an article published in Science, the Pierre Auger Collaboration has definitively answered the question of whether cosmic particles from outside the Milky Way Galaxy.

The article, titled “Observation of a large-scale anisotropy in the arrival directions of cosmic
rays above 8 × 1018 eV”, notes that studying the distribution of the cosmic ray arrival directions is the first step in determining where extragalactic particles originate. You can read more in the Institute of Physics announcement and the Michigan Tech news story.


NSF Gives Michigan Tech High Marks for Research Expenditures

2000px-NSF.svgThe survey results, just released, are based on research expenditures by NSF-designated disciplines, some of which include academic departments, centers and institutes at Michigan Tech. NSF also uses different names for some of its disciplines.

Mechanical Engineering rose to No. 18 in the nation in research expenditures. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering rose to No. 41 and Atmospheric Sciences came in at No. 46. Electrical Engineering was ranked No. 56 in research expenditures nationally.

Michigan Tech’s research expenditures in Atmospheric Sciences and in Ocean Science, ranked No. 55 in the nation, the highest of any university in Michigan.

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech News website.



Yap Top Three Michigan Tech Startups among Accelerate Michigan Finalists

1507169170Three startup companies with Michigan Tech roots have been named semi-finalists in this year’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

Goldstrike Data, a big data analytics firm founded and headed by Michigan Tech alumna Ashley Kern ’15, was selected as one of 36 semi-finalists, as were StabiLux Biosciences (Novolux Biosciences) and Orbion Space Technology. StabiLux Biosciences( Novolux Biosciences) was founded by Yoke Khin Yap, a professor of physics at Tech, and Orbion Space Technology was founded by L. Brad King, the Ron and Elaine Starr Professor in Space Systems in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

The semi-finalists are innovative startups from a variety of high-growth sectors including advanced materials, manufacturing, alternative energy, business services, consumer products, information technology, life sciences/healthcare, media, mobility and more. On Nov. 16, 10 finalists will be selected and the winner will be chosen from among the finalists that night at the Detroit Masonic Temple. Since the competition’s inception, participating companies have generated more than 1,000 jobs in Michigan and raised more than $550 million in capital.

“We are extremely impressed with the diverse and creative entries that came to us from across the state and we’re excited to unveil an outstanding new crop of competitors,” said Martin Dober, vice president of Invest Detroit and managing director of Invest Detroit Ventures. “This competition has the potential to be life changing for these businesses. It is truly rewarding to help put promising young startups on a trajectory toward success.”

Each year, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition showcases the startup innovation throughout Michigan and provides startups with the exposure, funding and mentorship they need. The first place company will win $500,000. The total value of all prizes is almost $1 million.



Air Force Funding

image64673-persMiguel Levy (Physics/MSE/CQP) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $82,445 research and development contract from the Air Force: Office of Scientific Research.

The project is titled “Materials Processing for Heterogeneous Integration of Optical Isolators: Phase 2.”

This is a two-year project.