Interesting stories about and for our students.
Doctoral student Fredline Ilorme (CEE) organized a free one-week workshop, along with Fulbright scholars representing universities across the globe, for students at the State University of Haiti, Faculty of Sciences, during her two-week visit to Haiti this month. The workshop covered topics including the Fulbright scholarship and Haitian Fulbright Alumni Association, Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS, remote sensing with Erdas Imagine, hydrology with HEC-HMS, hydraulics with HEC-RAS, statistics with R software, erosion measuring techniques and cohesive soil in Haiti.
by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer
Electronic gadgetry gets tinier and more powerful all the time, but at some point, the transistors and myriad other component parts will get so little they won’t work. That’s because when things get really small, the regular rules of Newtonian physics quit and the weird rules of quantum mechanics kick in. When that happens, as physics professor and chair Ravindra Pandey puts it, “everything goes haywire.”
Theorists in the field of molecular electronics hope to get around the problem by designing components out of a single molecule. Pandey’s group has done just that–theoretically–by modeling a single-molecule field-effect transistor on a computer.
“Transistor” has been an oft-used but rarely understood household word since cheap Japanese radios flooded the US market back in the 1960s. Field-effect transistors form the basis of all integrated circuits, which in turn are the foundation of all modern electronics.
A simple switch either diverts current or shuts it off. Transistors can also amplify the current by applying voltage to it (that’s how amplifiers work).
A diagram of Pandey’s three-terminal single-molecule transistor looks like an elaborate necklace and pendant, made up of six-sided rings of carbon atoms bedecked with hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. His group demonstrated that the electrical current running from the source to the drain (through the necklace) rises dramatically when voltage applied at the gate (through the pendant) reaches a certain level.
This happens when electrons in the current suddenly move from one orbital path around their atoms to another. Or, as Pandey says, “Molecular orbital energies appear to contribute to the enhancement of the source-drain current.”
Their virtual molecule may soon exist outside a computer. “Several experimental groups are working to make real our theoretical results,” says Pandey.
An article on the molecular transistor, “Electronic Conduction in a Model Three-Terminal Molecular Transistor,” was published in 2008 in the journal Nanotechnology, volume 19. Coauthors are physics graduate student Haiying He and Sashi Karna of the Army Research Lab.
See full ESD article for more information
The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD), Michigan Technological University (MTU), and AVL are reaching out to help Michigan’s automotive engineers prepare for the industry’s movement into sustainable hybrid vehicle technology. The semester-long course, Advanced Propulsion for Hybrid Vehicles with Concentration in Battery Engineering, will be offered this fall.
The graduate-level, three-credit class will focus on engineering skills that apply to next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles with an emphasis on battery design and hands-on learning. The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth as well as the Michigan Academy for Green Mobility are sponsoring the course.
This course will take place September 3 through December 10, 2009, and be held at ESD’s headquarters in Southfield on Thursdays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. It will be taught by a group of MTU faculty and staff from the College of Engineering and key experts in industry providing guest lectures with Associate Professor Jeffrey D. Nabor being the lead instructor.
by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director
Michigan Tech will receive nearly $3 million in federal stimulus funds to develop an interdisciplinary educational program to train engineers and technicians to design and build the next generation of hybrid electric vehicles.
The $2.98-million grant is part of $2.4 billion in awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, announced Thursday by President Barack Obama. Vice President Joe Biden was in Detroit to announce that more than $1 billion of the grants will go to companies and universities in Michigan, more than any other state.
Michigan Tech is one of three state universities in Michigan to receive education and training awards. The other two are Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.
“This is great news for Michigan Tech,” said Carl Anderson, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering and principal investigator for the new program. “We have had a strength in liquid-fueled vehicles and active partnerships with their manufacturers for a long time. Now we have the opportunity to take advantage of a broader array of our strengths and establish a similar leadership role in the development of a new generation of electric-powered vehicles.”
Michigan Tech will work with Argonne National Laboratory and a number of industrial partners including AVL, General Motors, Eaton, Horiba, MathWorks, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Woodward. The University and its partners will develop undergraduate and graduate curricula, including a certificate program in hybrid electric vehicles.
“We’ll be training and retraining the next generation of engineers to produce vehicles that reduce fuel consumption and emissions,” said Jeff Naber, lead faculty member of the multidisciplinary program.
The electric hybrid curriculum will be modeled after the groundbreaking course in advanced propulsion for hybrid vehicles that Michigan Tech taught in Detroit for displaced automotive engineers last spring. The course was offered in cooperation with the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) and General Motors, with GM providing laboratory facilities.
Another free, three-credit course will be offered in Detroit this fall, in cooperation with AVL, a developer of powertrains and vehicle simulation and test systems based in Plymouth, and with ESD. AVL will provide lab space, and GM is donating three hybrid vehicles. Ford and Lotus are also supporting the course.
Under the new grant, plans are to develop a mobile lab that could enable engineers anywhere to take the courses, Naber said.
Michigan Tech has received support from the US Department of Education to fund a new, international, joint master’s program in volcanology and geotechniques.
The new program, INVOGE (International Volcanology and Geotechniques), will build on Michigan Tech’s well-known graduate programs and global research in volcanology and geohydrology and will allow students to spend a significant part of their graduate study on campuses in France and Italy and at worldwide research sites, such as the University of Reunion’s in the French Indian Ocean.
At Michigan Tech, INVOGE leads to a Master of Science in Geology with concentrations in volcanology or engineering geology, and exchanges could begin as early as this fall.
The European partner institutions are Universite Blaise Pascal in Clermont Ferrand, France, and the University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy. Both are well-known for their volcanology and engineering geology programs that attract students from all over Europe.
The State University of New York at Buffalo is the fourth institution that is part of INVOGE and possesses similar strengths in its graduate geology programs.
The program brings funding of $460,000 to Michigan Tech and SUNY-Buffalo and a similar amount of money to the European partner universities over the next five years. The funds are mainly for student and faculty travel.
“This is the type of educational partnership that helps us build more-advanced degree programs and a larger, more-robust faculty and research facility,” said Bill Rose, professor of petrology and principal investigator in the program.
“Our students in volcanology will now have access to very strong programs in petrology and experimental volcanology, as well as new field sites for volcano work,” he added.
“This program builds on Bill’s long-term efforts to collaborate with other universities to internationalize graduate education,” said Jackie Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School. “It is exciting that our students will have the opportunity to experience different cultures and make connections that will benefit them throughout their careers. Volcanologists really need to have a global perspective in order to conduct relevant research. This program is going to help our students become future leaders in their field.”
Rose said that the effort builds on successful exchange programs also funded by the Department of Education in geosciences over the past five years involving Canadian and Mexican universities.
“As a leader in volcanology research in the US, we need to ensure the breadth and excellence of our research program and provide the best possible opportunities for our students, if we want to continue to attract the best and brightest students,” Rose added. “The chance to build an international advisory committee and work on volcanoes all around the world will help us achieve that goal.”
The INVOGE web page is located at www.geo.mtu.edu/~raman/INVOGE .
Graduate student Andrew Willemsen (ME-EM) has received a $30,000 fellowship from NASA for his project with Professor Mohan Rao (ME-EM), “Effects of Dispersed Carbon Nanotubes on Acoustic Properties of Polymer Foams.”
Pasi Lautala, director of the Rail Transportation Program, and graduate student Shane Ferrell (CEE) recently presented the paper “Cold Climate Freight Railroads” at the International Heavy Haul Conference in Shanghai, China. Ferrell was one of six students worldwide sponsored by the IHHA to participate in the conference.
Lautala and Ferrell also made invited presentations about Michigan Tech and its Rail Transportation Program at Shijiazhuang Railway Institute and the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), in Lanzhou, China.
Michigan Tech students and faculty are highlighted in this issue of the Master’s International newsletter from the US Peace Corps. Open the issue to find out more about Blair Orr, Jon Mellor, Amber Kenny, and Jason Rhoades.
The Graduate School has awarded its Finishing Fellowships for summer 2009.
The following PhD candidates will receive one-time finishing fellowships:
* Carrie J. Andrew (School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science)
* Cameron Hartnell (Social Sciences)
* Emily B. McCarthy (Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences)
* Bode J. Morin (Social Sciences)
* Alicia A. Thorsen (Computer Science)
* Tongquan Wei (Electrical Engineering)
* Zijun Xu (Biological Sciences)
Application procedures for the School’s fellowship programs and photographs of recent recipients can be found at www.mtu.edu/gradschool/administration/academics/honors-awards/ .
Nominations for the fall finishing fellowships will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Friday, June 26.